The Czar does not watch a lot of network television. So it was with some curiosity when the Царица called his attention to the Sunday morning network political interview shows. You know, it really doesnt matter which one, because the few we sampled were all going in a similar pattern:
Republican: The Democrats took $700 billion out of Medicare without informing seniors and put it into Obamacare, which by necessity cuts services to millions of seniors.
Democrat: Mitt Romney put his dog on the roof of a car.
Republican: Joe Biden announced before a large audience, in a humiliating attempt to sound like a Southern black, that voting for Republicans will result in a return to slavery.
Democrat: Sarah Palin was an idiot.
Republican: Mitt Romney is talking about job growth and energy exploration while President Obama is on a talk radio show discussing his favorite salsas and super-powers.
Democrat: Paul Ryan wants the wealthy to pay less than 1% in taxes.
Republican: Thats not true.
Democrat: Sarah Palin.
Okay, so you get the point. What the hell is happening here?
The reality is that two things are happening here. The first is that Republicans, possibly for the first time since 1980, are actually staying on message. Mind you, this only happened in the last week; as recently as, well, 8 days ago the Republican spokescritters would have happily run down any goofy rabbit hole the Democrats or media offered. And whether you are Republican or a Democrat, this is actually good news: the media is starting, slowly, to be force to talk about things you actually care about, not dogs on rooftops of cars or salsas, or whether Paul Ryan really would push a woman off a cliff.
The second thing we see is that Democrats still are undergoing last-moment scrambling. The choice of Paul Ryan clearly upset the DNC game plan, and they have not yet had sufficient time to develop a coherent response to it. So they are, in effect, saying whatever can change the subject.
And thats understandablethe Czar admits that the GOP would have done exactly the same thing had President Obama, say, dumped Joe Biden in place of Joe Liebermann. But thats only going to work for a while.
There are two other trends that the Czar is not liking this week, and will cost the Democrats dearly.
The first is the argument of moral equivalence. Have you seen this yet? You have, and a lot of it. Notably, this fanciful notion that Mitt Romney is unhinged and going negative! For example, Joe Biden says that Republicans want a genuine return to slavery; crickets. Mitt Romney says that this is proof the Obama campaign is resorting to anger and divisiveness; O M G! Mitt has gone batshit nuts!
Uh…what? The formula here is simple: The Democrats expect voters to believe that Mitts mild x is worse than Obamas explicit y. Polls? Not working, they answer. Because people, just like you, are smarter than that. Placing a dog in a rooftop carrier expressly designed for that purpose, which by the way a lot of people did in the 1970s and 1980s when cars were designed for that, is not the same thing as accusing 60% of the country of wanting blacks to be enslaved.
The other one annoying us is the tu quoque defense. This is Latin for and you, too. Debate and rhetoric and law school teachers will spend a fair amount of time on this concept because it is an effective resignation of the point. When an interviewer referred to Rudy Giuliani questioning Joe Bidens mental capacity to be president, Stephanie Cutter responded that Rudy Giuliani was the one who said nice things about Sarah Palin. Good God! The Sarah-is-dumb meme is not only ridiculous on its face, but has nothing to do with the charge. Cutters response was merely a and you guys, too, did it. Basically, she conceded that Biden is an idiot because she thinks Palin is an idiot.
A television commercial for Obama airing this weekend shows Mitt Romney criticizing the President for apologizing for America, when he ought to be apologizing to America; the voice over asks whether maybe, you know, Mitt seems to be asking the President to apologize a lot lately. Are you serious? You just showed video of your opponent attacking your candidate (Mitt should send a thank you note), and suggesting something is hinky about that? What dope thought that would convince independents to vote for Obama? Your argument is that Romney asks for a lot of apologies, but you never refute the initial charges! This is why a tu quoque is such a baaaaad defense: at its mildest, it says youre at best no worse than your opponent.
Our favorite is when Republicans go on the offense that Democrats cut $700 billion out of Medicare; the Democrats are countering this by pointing out a provision in the Ryan plan to reduce the amount Medicare spends on seniors. This is a glorious combination of the too: yeah, we did it, but so did you; not in the same way, and yours saves money whereas ours simply transfers it from one entitlement to a new one seniors may not participate in, but hey: Sarah Palin.
This is not going to win independent voters.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.