Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Keep it complicated, stupid

Digby commented yesterday on the "Three Stooges Strategery" behind the Republicans' obstruction in Congress.
It is so rich listening to these Republicans decry the tyranny of the majority and stand up for the inalienable right to filibuster after their tiresome "up-or-down vote!" mantra of the last six years. Nobody ever accused them of being intellectually consistent. But this takes real chutzpah.

[. . .]

I don't think the Democrats have fully internalized what is going on yet. As I wrote the other day, we are dealing with a political party that is employing a strategy of anarchy in which incoherence is used to flummox the opposition and confuse the media. They are confident (and likely right to be so) that this will never catch up to them because the media has ADD and today's political atrocity is forgotten by the next news cycle. By running circles around the Dems with obnoxious disregard for the congress and gleefully flouting their own precedents and rhetoric, the president and the Republican minority are almost daring the Democrats to try and stop them. Which is the point. They are going for the big narrative, which is the old stand-by that the Democrats are too soft to run the country: "If they can't stop Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham, how can we trust them to stop Osama bin Laden?"
They appear to have the media flummoxed too. Crooks and Liars notes how the media is getting the filibuster story backwards, focusing on Hary Reid's Iraq all-nighter, but neglecting the obstructions thrown up by Republicans.

The "strategery" Digby mentions reveals two faces of Republican strategy.

Face 1: When selling their own policies, the GOP strategy is "keep it simple, stupid." Lather, rinse, repeat simple: lower taxes, smaller government, etc. - easily digested by busy people without time to follow complex details. Repeated ad nauseum, like the "no underlying crime" mantra in the Scooter Libby case. (Now there's a valid argument based on legal principle. Never mind. The Bush base will parrot it without thinking if they're told to. That's the whole idea.)

Face 2: When it's time for some serious bamboozlement, Digby's observations suggest that the GOP approach is to go for a complete reversal: "keep it complicated, stupid." A strategy to keep the same busy public from understanding what in heaven's name is going down. If the public can't understand, the public won't blame the GOP for it. Better than a cloak of invisibility.

And so far, the Democratic leadership is still off balance. I'm still waiting for Democrats to get the GOP's full attention by giving them a good, swift kick in their executive privileges.

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