The Howler Stops The Spin

The Daily Howler has been covering the media’s distortions on the Iraq issue. What makes this so notable is that the Howler is usually supportive of Democrats, and heavily defended Clinton and Gore from impeachment onwards.

But the Howler smells a rat on this issue, and they’re not going to let the media get away with the spin.

What is happening here? In the case of individual scribes, we can’t tell you, but in the aggregate, this pattern is familiar. To all appearances, the press corps has reached an overall judgment—the Bush Admin spun the intelligence on Iraq. That overall judgment may well be true. But as you know, when the press corps reaches an overall judgment, they often start looking for easy-to-tell stories to illustrate their global belief. If they have to change or make up facts, all too often they’re willing to do it. In this case, the Washington press corps has clearly decided that the Bush Admin mistreated intelligence. And, as they have done many times in the past, they seem to be massaging some basic facts to convince you of that global conclusion.

Of course, Democratic partisans are taking cheap shots at the Howler:

Amazing! HOWLER readers staged a Tuesday tantrum, forced to read offensive material that could be interpreted as vaguely semi-supportive of Bush! Indeed, yesterday’s e-mails showed how hard our readers are willing to work if they have a worthwhile project. Yesterday’s project? Readers set out to prove that conduct which was repulsive when done to Clinton and Gore is highly correct when done to Bush. HOWLER readers worked extra-hard, trying to defend the indefensible.

That’s exactly what the Democrats want to do. They’re not interested in finding out the truth – they’re interested in crucifying the President. This is a witchhunt, pure and simple. The press are still pursuing a connection between the forged documents and the State of the Union speech when it has been amply demonstrated that no such link exists. The President did not cite the flawed information, he cited information from the British government which was unrelated to the forged information.

This scandal is going to backfire on the Democrats, and it is going to backfire hard. By doggedly attacking Bush, the Democrats are going to lose any sight of pursuing their own agenda. The 2004 campaign will be an orgy of acrimony from the Democratic left and all the President will have to do is rise above it and run on a forward-looking policy. It’s exactly what happened to the Democrats in 1972 with McGovern and 1984 with Mondale, and to the Republicans in 1996 with Dole. Attack dog politics is suicide, and the Democrats have their guns firmly pointed at their foot and they’re all jockeying for who gets to pull the trigger.

3 thoughts on “The Howler Stops The Spin

  1. Attack dog politics worked for Norm Coleman (although he didn’t exactly defeat the expected candidate he mercilessly attacked for nearly a year). They also worked for Saxby Chambliss. They also worked for George Bush, Sr. in 1988. Perhaps the Republicans do have a monopoly on making attack-dog politics work, but they do work.

    It’s way too early to predict that Bush’s gaffe (to put it as mildly as possible) will “backfire” on the Dems. I agree that the longer it distracts them from a forward-looking agenda, the less likely the party will be embraced as a desperately needed agent of change. To the Democrats advantage, however, will be that their lack of a forward-looking agenda will be camouflaged by Bush’s dysfunctional forward-looking agenda, which consists of more tax cuts, more military spending and more war….a formula that Americans finally seem to be learning is a losing one

  2. Actually, in case you’ve not noticed from 2002, the American public want more tax cuts, an increase in defense spending, and a lot of them wouldn’t mind if we changed a few other repressive regimes in the Middle East.

  3. We’ll see if they still feel that way in the face of $500+ trillion deficits and the likely continued inability to restore any semblance of order in the two regimes whose governments we’ve already overthrown. Even Americans can catch on to the consequences of their stupid choices when the evidence is staring them in the face. Not necessarily Republicans…but Americans.

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