Friday, June 24, 2005

You get the idea 

This interview transcript is titled Bartlett defends Rove's comments But it doesn't sound like it to me. White House press secretary assistant Bartlett sounds more like he is parsing and dicing Rove's remarks to imply now that they didn't actually mean what Rove clearly had meant. "Well Norah I must say I'm at a loss why some of these top Democrats in the Senate have made these accusations, in fact, if you look at Senators Clinton and Schumer and others, who responded after 9/11, did so in support of President Bush's pursuit of the war on terror. What Karl Rove was pointing out -- and he was quite specific I might add -- in his speech, was that MoveOn.org, a liberal organization, that put out a petition and a statement right after 9/11 saying don't respond militarily, show restraint, that's exactly what he was talking about."
Funny, that's not the way it came across at the time.
That said, no political party should miss the meta-narrative accusation, the overall frame for a specific attack. The Democrats miss this in the US and the Conservatives miss it here.
Democrats seem to feel they have to respond to an attack with some kind of detailed, academic statistical analysis -- like when Kerry's people said "How dare you say he voted to raise taxes 600 times; it was actually only 180, maybe 200 tops!" So now Rove says the Dems were wimps after 9/11, and the Dems sputter about how they all voted for some congressional resolution. Instead they should have a reply that shows their pride in being democrats and their willingness to lead. Try something like this: "We gathered outside on the steps of the Capital on that terrible day and we led the singing of God Bless America, even though we did not know whether Washington might continue to be attacked. We've been demonstrating ever since our commitment to make Americans safer by persuading President Bush to establish the Department of Homeland Security and the 911 Commission . . . ' You get the idea.
The Conservatives here fall into the same trap. After last night's vote, instead of wallowing in their own anger, they should have recognized and dealt with the meta-narrative accusation -- that Conservatives don't know how to run a government. Dealing with that narrative would have required a response 'more in sorrow than in anger' about such unseemly shennigans, and a focus on the future "Yes, the Liberals tricked everyone tonight to sneak their budget through, but in the long run this budget will be a bad deal for Canada . . . " You get the idea.

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