Go to previous post:
Not Really Blogging.

Go to Electrolite's front page.

Go to next post:
Unfortunate line of the night.

Our Admirable Sponsors

July 28, 2004

Fighting smart. In the comments to this post, Tom Becker speculates:
From what I’ve seen and read about the first day of the convention, the Democratic talk about toning down the rhetoric was a smoke screen, pure and simple. Their strategy is to say they will be reasonable and moderate, and then to stand up and tell it like it is. When the predictable screams come in from the right, they can say they were being reasonable and moderate, so what’s the problem, and besides it’s all true.
I think this is pretty much right. On one level it’s analagous to the way George W. Bush gets to change positions and policies six times in an afternoon and yet be portrayed as “resolute.” He gets away with it because he never misses a chance to tell everyone how resolute he is. (As Fafblog summarized a recent presidential press conference, Bush’s resolve “is resolute and firm. It is so firm! You have no idea how firm our resolve is. It’s pretty firm I’ll tell you that.”)

But on another level it’s just a way to give supporters more flexible rhetorical tools. Here’s today’s Washington Post, showing how this strategy plays out:

Before Kerry’s arrival in Boston, former senator Max Cleland of Georgia roused a sleepy Virginia delegation with a fiery breakfast speech in which he charged that there is a “total disconnect” between Bush and the troops he sent into Iraq […]

The veteran and longtime Kerry friend, who lost his legs and an arm in Vietnam, nearly brought several of the delegates to tears.

“I love Max Cleland,” said Wava Reigel, a delegate from Virginia Beach. “He can identify with people who go to war and have injuries. And you know who can’t. Oh, I’m supposed to be nice.”

“Oh, I’m supposed to be nice.” Much deadlier, really, than the same old insults. And nobody reading it is in any doubt who Ms. Reigel is referring to. [02:24 PM]
Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Fighting smart.:

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2004, 04:21 PM:

Obama's speech, this delicate skewering (let the slim point Sliiide in) and the simple passion.

I think the loyal opposition has found those cojones.


Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2004, 05:28 PM:

I love it. Finally the good guys realize that, Hollywood to the contrary, you don't win just by being the good guys. You have to know how to fight, too. Your bullets kill one bad guy each, tops (who hasn't seen seven blackhats fall per whitehat bullet in one of those silly Westerns?).

tost ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 01:02 AM:

Someone should forward this post to Frank Luntz. The bastard deserves to see what's coming down the road.

Also, you might find this article on language, both theirs and ours, to be interesting.


Nina Katarina ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 10:03 AM:

Josh Marshall had a good point last night.

He said (badly paraphrasing) that the TV newsbots keep trying to make the story of the convention, "The Democrats are Angry and Scary." But there's not as much anger in the hall as we all were feeling a year ago.

A year ago everyone was furious at the DLC spineless pink tutu wearers who caved in to everything that the Republicans wanted. Sure, Democrats were angry, but they were angry at their own party as much as at the Republicans.

Since then, the spine transplant has shown signs of taking hold, and our opposition party is acting like a loyal and principled opposition. So we don't need to be mad at our leaders any more, and it's a joyous feeling.

It's really a joy to find people who say what you believe in, and say it better than you ever hoped to hear it said. And so you cheer, and smile, and feel hopeful about the future once again.

And it's all down to Dean and the netroots community. The people led, the leaders have followed. And now there's a wind at their backs.

How can we be angry, with those feelings?

Buddy ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 02:13 PM:

Is ther a chance John Kerry can win one state. If the answer is yes, name it. Looks like to me George Bush 50 John Kerry zero.

Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 02:29 PM:

Oh Patrick, you need to see Billmon's Three Laws of Republicans. http://billmon.org/


Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 02:54 PM:

It's nice to know that trolls are still semiliterate. Thanks, Buddy, for demonstrating it once again.

Nina Katarina ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 03:06 PM:

Current electoral vote predictor - Kerry 291, Bush 237. And that's before any post-convention polls are taken.


Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 03:11 PM:

Also before the post-RNC polls, of course. But let us be gay!

(I'm really hopeful, actually. Those guys are GOOD at what they do. And normally the incumbent is way ahead at this point.)

TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 04:53 PM:

Patrick is right that I was speculating. I hope it works out. Since the Democrats are stage-managing the convention, the mainstream media are focusing on the stage-management, instead of reporting on the content (or actually analyzing it, perish forbid). But somebody in the Kerry campaign seems to get political theater. Having Obama speak was very smart: his arrival on the national scene is big news and had to be reported, and even when my local news showed only a sound-bite, it sparkled. Having Kerry come in on a ferry boat with his Vietnam crew mates made a strong image that seems to be getting out there. (All it needed was a banner saying "mission to be accomplished.")

"Oh, I'm supposed to be nice." Right on.

rea ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 05:37 PM:

Given that our host and moderator edit science fiction, it's interesting to find that they have a Buddy from an alternate universe . . .

David Bilek ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 05:46 PM:

http://www.electoral-vote.com is a pretty site, but almost useless as an actual look at the state of the election. The owner of that site takes the very latest poll he sees and changes the map, even if that poll is an obvious outlier which is contradicted by a half dozen other recent polls. Flashy, but useless. You need to look at the trend of things, not just one (sometimes clearly wrong) poll.

For example, Tennesee and Arizona should not be in Kerry's column by any stretch of the imagination. Nevada, Missouri, and Ohio should be in no-one's column.

Here is a much better site for this sort of thing:


One interesting possibility is that there are not-unlikely (even moderately probable) scenarios under which the electoral count ends up 269-269 and the election is thrown into Congress. Kerry takes Iowa, West Virginia, New Hampshire, and New Mexico whilie Bush takes Nevada, Missouri, Ohio, and Florida for example.

Scary. And we thought 2000 was contraversial?

Barry ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2004, 02:50 PM:

TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 04:53 PM:

"Patrick is right that I was speculating. I hope it works out. Since the Democrats are stage-managing the convention, the mainstream media are focusing on the stage-management, instead of reporting on the content (or actually analyzing it, perish forbid). "

I think that by now it's clear that the mass media wouldn't be caught dead actually analyzing content.
Not when there are horse races and meta-stuff to be debated.

dave heasman ::: (view all by) ::: August 02, 2004, 11:01 AM:

Have you seen the AOL poll? OK it's unscientific and self-selecting, but it's a hell of a lot of people (25000+) and it shows a Kerry landslide. Which I wouldn't have expected from AOL users.

The Navigator ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2004, 11:29 AM:

But. - "UUUUUhhhhhhhh, they don't suck, Rabid Ron."

Beav. - " Heh heh, they used to! Oh yeah, you said we can't say that anymore...."

Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2004, 11:11 AM:

Only PNH got to it first. Fast. Whatever.