My Tasteless Analogy Of The Day

February 21st, 2008at 07:04pm Posted by Eli

James Boyce makes The Swiftboating sound an awful lot like 9/11:

Democrats remain obsessed with stopping ‘swiftboating’ and ending the smears. They are lining up to fight the last war in droves, no one will get swiftboated this time, they cry.

Well, that part is right, no one will get swiftboated because the Republicans aren’t going to use the same tactic twice. Yes, swiftboating is a tactic not a strategy.

(…)

The strategy is to use the money of extremely wealthy Republicans, T. Boone Pickens, Bob Perry, men who invest in projects created by right wing consultants and strategists. Invest I say because the payout that they receive from winning the election is a tremendous return on investment….

The strategy then is to use the money to attack and destroy and ridicule the Democratic opposition in a race. With the Swift Boat Veterans, it was attacking John Kerry’s military record. With Democrats last cycle and the Economic Freedom Fund, funded with $5,000,000 of Bob Perry’s money, it was to go off the “Democrats will raise taxes” mantra.

The strategy is to lie and diminish and attack Democrats, always has been, always will be. Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, all greatly impacted by this strategy, none swiftboated.

Boyce then lists numerous reasons why the swiftboating was unique to Kerry (I would think the fact that neither Hillary or Obama ever served on a swiftboat would be sufficient, really), of which I found this one particularly interesting:

The failure of John Kerry to respond, personally and with full force.

Politicians and their advisors have learned this lesson, perhaps too well. Now, Democrats overreact and fight back too hard and too fast ironically.

(…)

It will never happen again.

And just as Democrats in 2004 poured money into Florida only to lose Ohio as well, so now, we seem obsessed with beating the swiftboaters.

They won.

Now, we need to look forward, not back.

Let me repeat that, they won. They won in August 2004 and as much as we want to keep fighting them, it’s over, done. John Kerry is not President. And all of the groups, focus, lamenting and 20/20 hindsight, mine including, will not, change this core fact.

They won.

Now there is a different battle, the strategy has not changed but the tactics will.

We, collectively, we have 90 days to game plan and create a fight back group that will fight the next war, not the last one.

So, in other words, the Democrats got caught with their pants down, and now they are doing everything they can think of to make sure they don’t fall prey to that same attack again. Which ends up being counterproductive and annoying.

Frankly, I don’t think I entirely buy this. Boyce does a good job of identifying the Republican strategy (money => smears), but I think he’s a little overspecific about what swiftboating means. I mean, it’s not like anyone expects the Republicans to accuse Hillary or Obama about their service in Vietnam, right? I always thought swiftboating referred to well-financed smears in general, and that is the Republican strategy. Yes, it’s vitally important to anticipate what those smears will be and counter them effectively, but I think the Democrats know that. I’m just not convinced that they can do it.

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Democrats,Elections,Media,Politics,Republicans


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