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Tough Times

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Dean gets it

The big story from Saturday's Washington Post compares the recent NARAL ad attacking SCOTUS nominee John Roberts and the Swift Boaters (see, right there's your first clue. Check my clunky description of the former as compared to the shorthand we're accustomed to for descriptions of the latter...). Noting that NARAL backed down shortly after being attacked while the Swifties just lied and lied their way to victory, the article asks: "have the Democrats got the nerve?"

Bob Somerby (aka The Daily Howler), shockingly, has something to say about this:


"Do Democrats and liberals need to learn to play tough? As a general matter, we would say yes. But one important conceptual strain lingers in Dana Milbank’s important Post story—the conflation of toughness and dishonesty. 'Playing tough' doesn’t mean 'being dishonest.' In our view, the best way for libs to play tough would be to try something they’ve often recoiled from. The best way for libs to play tough would be for them to tell the truth—to tell the truth about the gong-show character of our modern American politics."
He goes on to demonstrate how each successive Democratic demurral paves the way for the next failure by leaving the electorate woefully unprepared for the repetition of similar smears -- without a strong opposition statement from Dems, there won't be any opposition in the media...that's just the way they work.

Somerby then moves on to Dean's recent appearance on Face the Nation, during which he seems to get it. Asked if smears and lies work for the GOP, Dean responds:
"I think it has worked for them because we haven't stood up and said, 'This is absolutely not true and therefore, you ought to be embarrassed to be saying so.' And we need to say that every single day. So we want to be tough but we want to be fair. I think the damage the Republicans have done to this country not just in the largest deficits in the history and this bumbling stuff that they've done in Iraq. The real damage they've done is they've undermined people's belief that democracy can work and the way to fight this is to be tough but fair."

(Daily Howler)

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