Monday, April 12, 2010

Why Didn't We See This Last Year?

Steve Benen offers a bunch of new in-your-face TV ads on health care (link). Conscientious practitioners of old-fashioned citizenship will find them cringeworthy--too personalized, too confrontational, too simplistic. A more detached observer might respond: why didn't we see these last year?

That is: one reason Obama is in such deep tapioca on an issue where he ought to rule is that he let the bad guys get control of the narrative--rather, not just Obama, but the whole Democratic apparatus. We say that Obama is too much of a gent but the fact is there is a whole swath of Democrats who really don't want to win that bad if they have to dust it up.

As an inborn coward with aspirations to gentility, I feel for them. But the fact is, it doesn't work that way. Let the other side tell the story and they tell their story. Moreover--worse--there's a fair-sized segment of the voting public that, if you don't fight back, will regard you with contempt for the mere fact that you didn't fight back.

I don't know if Democrats are in a mood to fight back now; I doubt it. The MoveOn adds are an attempt, but I bet they'll wind up in context looking half hearted and perfunctory. As Shakespeare said, Much Ado About Nothing:

This is your charge: you shall comprehend all vagrom men; you are

to bid any man stand, in the prince's name. 25
Second Watchman How if a' will not stand?
DOGBERRY Why, then, take no note of him, but let him go; and

presently call the rest of the watch together and

thank God you are rid of a knave.

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