Sunday, November 20, 2005

Playing Chicken

Bush blinked. It's just as well. When your war effort is becoming more and more unpopular you don't get points by demonizing the opposition, you get points by making a more positive case. Bush is signaling that he's ready to have a more substantive debate now, and that's probably because his negative-on-negative attacks weren't working.

As I looked through the mass e-mails I receive from the Left Wing Conspiracy over the past week, they all decry that Murtha was being "swift-boated." While that's a bit of an exaggeration, it does signal a new and more sophisticated tactic of the Democrats. Even in Virginia, with the victory of David Englin for a Delegate seat, the strategy is to use veterans, especially young veterans who fought in Iraq as a vehicle for criticism. Murtha is another example of that. Kerry, as he suffered from chronic verbal diarrhea, was easily defeated this way. Some of the new spokesmen aren't. And as the public has grown more skeptical about Iraq, it's going to take more than bashing your attackers' credibility to win. It's going to take actually responding and rebutting their criticisms with real arguments, and those arguments can't just be "stay the course."