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Epic, Epic Fail?

October 12, 2010

I just made a comment in Lynn’s post below, and here I see something at Hot Air that says the same thing.  Okay, sort of the same thing.  This particular post talks about the Democrats’ efforts to use an enemy to motivate its base.  Go read it and the Baltimore Sun article:

That verdict doesn’t come from me, at least not this time.  David Zurawik, the media critic for the Baltimore Sun and not exactly a man sympathetic to conservatism, blasts the Democratic Party for its accusations against the Chamber of Commerce, and especially for the imagery in its new ad.  The spot shows Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie as the evil twins that are apparently mugging women in parking garages all throughout America in a political campaign he calls “a new low”:

There have been plenty of other sites that are saying the Democrats are following the Saul Alinsky playbook in naming an enemy and trying to get the base to react.  I think the reaction to this has generally been to motivate the base, and not attract new players.  This would work if the base could actually decide what to do with the result.  (As an aside, you’ll note that the “enemies” are getting pretty good at dismissing their status, see this Doug Powers post over at Michelle Malkin’s site.)

But here’s my thinking.  Would any of this have been necessary if the party in power actually knew how to drive an agenda?  Remember, the Democrats held the House with a stunning majority that enabled bills to be passed without everyone voting in lockstep.  The Senate for a large part of the two years had a filibuster-proof majority, and always held a huge majority.

I’ve seen sweeps of power in business many times.  A new management team comes in, and they insert their chosen people into the job.  In many cases, this happens over time, and you suddenly see a lock-step staff with the characteristics of a union board or a mafia family running a business.  And yet… when this happens, the results don’t always go they way they want.  Sometimes the leadership thinks its so aligned, it actually forgets to tell the team what to do, and then it wonders why nothing’s really happening.

Go back to different administrations.  George Bush reached across the aisle to to Ted Kennedy to form a grudging alliance on education.  The results aren’t to my liking, but they got results.  Bill Clinton also managed to drive most of his agenda with a mostly-hostile congress.  Heck, Ronald Reagan had a firmly-Democratic congress, and Tip O’Neil used to watch his own majority side with the president often.

So what are these “enemies” tactics really showing?  Well, maybe it’s really about the Democrats trying to hide the fact that they’ve really done little to move the business of politics forward.  Sure, they have healthcare and the stimulus to take back to their constituents… but that doesn’t seem to be doing well.  I guess that they forgot that congress gets a “review” from their “management” every two years, and I don’t think there are going to be a lot of good grades being passed back to them.

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