GOP Wants To Change The Subject - Pelosi Says "Drain The Swamp"
"The Chicago Tribune interview last night—the George Soros defense—was viewed as incredibly inept. It could have been written by [comedian] Jon Stewart."
--A national GOP official ridiculing Hastert’s “blame the media and Democrats” defense
Most of the GOP leadership feel that they have turned the corner on the Foley cover-up after the Hastert news conference yesterday. Some media outlets are reporting that GOP leaders have fallen in line behind Hastert, as have Bush and Cheney, even though there is a lot of finger-pointing and tension within the House GOP leadership now. The Republicans have decided correctly they have more to lose by dumping the leadership team now than they do by riding this out and playing to their base by blaming the media and the Democrats for this scandal. Although many of us question whether or not this will work, especially since there are signs that evangelicals are disillusioned with the leadership’s behavior in covering up the mess, and the public at large also believes a cover-up took place, the GOP has decided that it has no choice but to circle the wagons and employ the dog-whistle messaging to try and keep their cultists on the reservation. But even this attempt was ridiculed by GOP insiders as inept and counterproductive.
The White House and GOP want to get off of the cover-up as soon as possible and steer the storyline back towards the economy and the alleged Democratic appeasement in the war on terror. They have lost critical weeks here in pushing their message and it is imperative for the GOP to get back to their scripts as soon as possible to save as many seats as they can. Democrats for their part should be ready for this by not only tying the Foley cover-up into the larger narrative of a rubber-stamping, disengaged, and corrupt GOP congress, but to also point out how this White House and its enablers in Congress have botched the war on terror, have not made progress in Iraq, and have presided over an economy that benefits the wealthy but not the rest of us. If the White House wants to steer the debate away from Foley and back to terrorism, taxes, and the economy, Democrats should engage directly and respond with challenges of their own aimed at the White House and Congressional Republicans.
If Iraq is central to the war on terror as you claim, then why should we reelect a rubber-stamping GOP congress when your own senior Senators argue that a change of course may be necessary within 90 days due to a failure of your policies? The Secretary of State can’t even fly into Baghdad safely, and the power goes off while she is there. Only now is the military implementing the counterinsurgency strategy that should have been implemented years ago, yet we don’t have the troops to carry it out because we are carrying this burden ourselves. If things are going better in Iraq, as Rice says they are, then why is the administration refusing to release an intelligence report before the election that paints a “grim” view of the war? Why shouldn’t more Democrats be elected to ensure that a clear strategy be implemented which calls for a regional security conference to invest others and help share the load; a sealing of Iraq’s borders from outside infiltration; an assimilation of all militias into a rebuilt and well-paid Iraqi national army; a 12-18 month commitment to the Casey plan followed by a staged withdrawal; a sectarian cease-fire and demand that Iraqis focus on rooting out and defeating Al Qaeda in Iraq first; direct talks with Syria and Iran by the United States; and a “no permanent bases/no permanent troops” statement from the administration. Democrats should ask the administration why Al Qaeda is spreading unimpeded on their watch, and why Bush has failed in Afghanistan?
When the GOP smears Democrats on taxes, our candidates should ask why all these tax benefits were given to the top one percent when the economy can generate no better than 51,000 new jobs in September? Why are the rest of us falling behind while the wealthy have made no sacrifice these last five years? Why have Republicans made sure the tax system works great for the wealthy while the rest of us pay a larger burden? Why should we reelect another GOP congress that will spend more time on privatizing Social Security next year than it will on making health insurance affordable and available for all of us or fixing the Medicare drug benefit? Democrats should ask why a GOP congress should be reelected that will continue to let Big Oil and the Saudis drive our energy policies and pick our pockets while we fail to move towards energy independence. Why is gasoline staying well above $2/gallon when we have the largest stocks of oil and gas inventories in years? Why should a GOP congress be reelected that will continue to vilify Mexican workers while failing to actually build a border fence and fix the guest worker program?
If they want to return to their storylines the rest of the way, Democrats should be ready to engage in hand-to-hand combat with their own storylines on Iraq, failures in the war on terrorists, and the economy. They have nothing to fear by going after the White House directly: Gallup now says that the Democrats are in striking distance of regaining the Senate as well. Voters will be paying more and more attention the rest of the way, and Democrats now have their window to close the sale by going right at the GOP record. Again, Pelosi is doing that with a “drain the swamp” theme and agenda for the first 100 days of Democratic control, which still needs to include a security and Iraq component, but it is the right idea. If the GOP wants to steer the debate away from Foley, hit them on all fronts and show the country that Foley was just another reason to dump these losers from power.