Byron York has a complete recap of the phoney “phoney soldiers” controversy. Senate Democrats are clearly clueless about how this appears to the national audience, so we can only hope they continue to push it as a scandal.
I gave a talk last night on the presidential race to an audience of approximately 100 very successful business people and their spouses, and in the Q&A that followed, a soft spoken woman asked a question in very soft and almost grieved tones: What has happened to the Democrats and the media that they are so filled with hate? The backdrop was the attack on Rush, particularly Tom Harkin’s churlish suggestion that Rush was using drugs. She explained further that she doesn’t understand what could motivate the sort of behavior we are seeing on the left.
Her question –what has happened to the Democrats and the media?– is not a question about tax policy, or strategy vis-a-vis Iraq or Iran, or health care or global warming, but about collective character, and it is significant.
Everybody with a brain knows that Rush didn’t slander anti-war soldiers, and that the whole phoney phoney story was an attempt by the left and especially Senate Democrats to change the subject from the MoveOn.org ad which has branded them as anti-military in a way far more significant than Dick Durbin’s memorable comparison of American troops at Gitmo to Nazis, the Soviets or Pol Pot followers or John Kerry’s slam on the intelligence or capabilities of the troops that led to the famous photo from Iraq.
Thus everybody knows that Senate Democrats and now such would-be grandees as Wes Clark are pushing a lie as a means of attacking Rush, and doing so in plain view. New media guarantees that no such story can succeed, and it hasn’t for the simple reason that it is not true, and print journalists, bloggers talk radio and some cable outlets have completely undercut the charge. It is a sort of reverse Rathergate: Rather than watching new media destroy the reputation and credibility of a key media player, we have seen it buttress that reputation and credibility.
In the process though, Americans have again seen a close-up of The Great Snarl that the MoveOn.org Democrats have become. It is a disturbing thing, this collection of hard-left activists, vulgar and profane bloggers, captive Senators and know-nothing MSMers, and the more it is on display the more it becomes one big blob of seething hate, from the Code Pinkers to Tom Harkin, Media Matters and the HuffPo express. On to the center-right this blob projects its disfiguring anger, but it doesn’t work because most Americans hear and watch for themselves. They know Rush, Sean, Laura, Bill, Michael, Dennis. Mark, Glenn, Neil and me and all the rest of the talkers. They read Powerline, Instapundit, Michelle, NRO; watch O’Reilly and Special Report and, crucially, know who supports the troops and the war and who doesn’t. You can’t talk over Barnes, Barone, Boot, Kagan, Kristol, and Krauthammer. The center-right supports the military and the mission. The left doesn’t.
The American people know this. Ten years ago the MSM might have been able to facilitate such an attack on Rush, but it is simply impossible today. Pushing a smear in the new media environment is a profoundly self-destructive bit of bad political theater that insults the audience’s intelligence while revealing the attackers’ character.
Of course that the troops know the real score. Their families know. And their friends know. Watch the Peter Pace farewell remarks below. He knows too. It is impossible to be awake in this country and not know.
The MoveOn.org Democrats have completely misread the 2006 elections and the polls. The map they drew from their flawed analysis of the data has led them far from the mainstream, or at least encourgaed them to embrace their inner radical. But the Great Snarl on display continues to hammer home that the Democrats are way off from the mainstream of American politics.
Either a Romney or a Giuliani candidacy will be an upbeat, pro-American traditions and values campaign that will be wholly supportive of the troops and victory and of the promise and future of the country. The nominee will be supported by the legion of new media outlets, led by Rush, that believes as both of them do in the justice of the cause, the evil of our enemies abroad and the greatness of the country and especially of its men and women in uniform.
The Senate Democrats and their core on-line constituency have done more to draw and display this deep contrast than any Republican or conservative could have done. That they continue to do so in the face of the blowback attests to their collective character which is fueled by an intense and disfiguring anger and in many cases the hate my questioner spoke of last night.
The Great Snarl is not a winning strategy, but the left took the Democrats’ eyes off winning a long time ago.