Following The Same Losing Script, Dems Will Flop This Week On NSA Spying Hearings
On the eve of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Bush’s NSA lawbreaking, John at AmericaBlog points out tonight that tomorrow’s Financial Times carries a story on what Abu Gonzales will say in defense of the mess: the media has got it all wrong. That’s right, after Bush confirmed the story, and then recently Dick Cheney attacked the media for reporting the story, Abu Gonzales will say that the media is wrong on the scope of the program, even though the Washington Post today directly contradicts such an argument. So Abu, if the media has got it wrong, then what the hell are Bush and Cheney smoking? Or are you just lying to Congress again?
On that topic, Peter Daou reminds us tonight of what he laid out over a month ago, the life cycle of a Bush illegality and why he keeps getting away with it. Daou outlines ten steps that the typical Bush “outrage” almost always takes, including:
1. Bush commits an outrage or illegality;
2. The story breaks, sometimes after being sat on by the media;
3. BushCo floats a number of arguments, and settles on one that a disorganized Democratic opposition cannot deal with;
4. Rightwing attack dogs in the media blast critics as traitors for questioning Bush;
5. The congressional Republicans cover for Bush, no matter the crime or offense;
6. Left-leaning bloggers and some in the media go nuts over what is unfolding, seeing it happen once again;
7. Although a few Democrats express outrage, the Democratic leadership goes wobbly in the knees and moves on, usually on the advice of Beltway consultants, rather than hammer an issue to force a change in public opinion;
8. Lapdog media helps push the mantra “Bush strong, Democrats weak” by letting Bush get away with things they never let Clinton get away with;
9. Polls come out with poorly-framed questions that mask the illegality so as to convince the public that Bush’s malfeasance isn’t so bad after all;
10. Outrage fatigue sets in, and Bush’s resiliency is reinforced once again while the Democratic leadership punts and the base is disillusioned once again.
And that is exactly how the NSA spying mess is playing out. Based on the advice of Beltway consultants, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are passing on making this issue what it should be. Daou points out that until Democrats break the cycle above through toughness, message discipline, perseverance, and directly attacking the media for their complicity, nothing will change.
Sure, Feingold will make a few points this week, and there will be some headlines. But the Democrats walked away from this issue about ten days ago, and have decided based on the consultants’ advice that it is better to hold on until the fall and hope they can pull even in one house, rather than mount a full offensive on anything now that carries risks. It’s the same strategy that has given us the 2002 losses and the Iraq war, and yet Reid and Pelosi are seemingly repeating it again instead of breaking the above cycle and going after the media.
We've been saying the same thing here for three years, and yet nothing changes.