Sometimes it seems like certain Washington reporters have a quota of "Democrats in Disarray" columns they have to fill, say once a month or so. Atrios ran down the Adam Nagourney list a few days back, and over the weekend it was Dana Milbank's turn:
The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll found that, approaching the midterm elections, Democrats enjoy their biggest advantage over Republicans in 14 years. Issue after issue -- Hurricane Katrina, Iraq, Jack Abramoff and now Harry Whittington -- gives the opposition party a potential advantage. And then there's the historical advantage enjoyed by the opposition in the elections midway through an incumbent president's second term. To some, this might be cause for celebration. But not to Democrats. Beaten in the last three election cycles, the party has a serious insecurity complex. Convinced they will face another disappointment in November, Democrats are already busy figuring out who among them should be blamed for the inevitable defeat. Here's a guide for handicapping the Democratic precriminations.
You've got to admit, that's going pretty far to shoehorn in your contempt for Democrats. Sure, everything's going great for them, but eventually, they'll lose, and here's how they'll be bickering about it!
Are Democrats really "busy figuring out who among them should be blamed for the inevitable defeat"? I live in Washington and I'm pretty heavily involved in left politics, and I can't say I've noticed a lot of Democrats busy on this mission. Let me speculate here for a moment. Here's the kind of interview that might make it into a story like this one. Intrepid reporter Milbank approaches Democratic Hill staffer. "So," says Milbank, "think you guys are going to win in November?" "You bet," says Hill staffer. "But let's say you don't," says Milbank. "Whose fault would it be?" "I don't know," says Hill staffer. "You never know what will happen. We could come up short for any number of reasons." "Tell me more," says Milbank. And away we go - next thing you know, Democrats are "busy figuring out who among them should be blamed for the inevitable defeat."
Here's a news flash, Democrats: The Washington press corps hates you. They think you're a bunch of losers. And the way to get them to stop writing these stories is not, repeat, not to be nice to them. Do what George W. Bush used to do - when he was working on his dad's campaigns and a reporter would ask him a question, George would walk away with a "No comment, asshole." Treat them like dirt, and maybe they'll start respecting you like they do the Republicans. Because the strategy you're currently employing sure isn't working.
Just think about it - the next time Dana Milbank asks you a question, instead of thinking, "Oo boy, I might get my anonymous comments in the Washington Post!", say, "No comment, asshole." The next thing you know he'll be writing that you're confident and strong.