Jackboots and Grass Roots

Part I: Jackboots

Democrats just don’t understand that, when it comes to the sort of infighting which dominates national politics nowadays, a good defense is useless. What counts is a good offense. And by a “good offense” I mean, not one which is morally or theoretically good, not one which has the support of good people, but one which works.

And for that to be true, most other implications of the word “good” need to be forgotten.

The Supreme Court may go down in history as the villains in the 2000 election — you remember that, the one which put W in the White House — but it was a team of Republican thugs, headed by John Bolton and glorified by Bradley Bakeman (remember that name; it’s coming around again) that did the dirty work.

Yes, dirty work, but successful dirty work, and therefore, in this arena, GOOD. They stormed the offices where vote counting was going on, scared the bejabbers out of election workers and — apparently — law enforcement personnel as well. The votes were not counted. The Supremes danced into the picture. W went to Washington.

That’s lesson one. Send in a bunch of beefy, loud-mouth hacks to scream and pound on walls and threaten the local constabulary with seventy-three kinds of federal reprisal it they so much as say boo. Dirty politics, but it works.

Do you remember how the Democrats retaliated? No, you don’t, because they didn’t.

Cut to 2004. Lesson two. Here’s genuine war hero John Kerry, running against genuine war phony George Bush. The Republicans turn loose the Swift Vote attack, and before you can say Bradley Bakeman, people are starting to believe that Bush was a hero and Kerry a lying coward.

Do you remember how loudly and vigorously the Kerry and the Democrats retaliated that time?

If so, you’re the only one.

Cut to the recent past. Lesson three. MoveOn publishes an ad challenging General Petraeus. Almost overnight, the Republicans shot back. The return fire got, and continues to get, more publicity than the original ad. They even brain-washed and brow-beat crowds of Democrats into voting with them on a resolution condemning the ad.

We are beginning to sense a pattern here. Two of them, in fact.

  • Attack. Attack. Attack. Don’t let up when the opposition offers a defense, because defense is not sexy, not loud, not media-worthy.
  • Defend. Defend. Defend. Then go home and watch the other guys dance at the Inaugural Ball.

Part II: Grass Roots

Wheel Bradley Bakeman and MoveOn back out on stage.

MoveOn is generally defined — by its members and by the media — as a grass roots organization. Three and a third million members, very few of them well known or wealthy. Just a bunch of everyday folks tired of the new con job. As you might expect, MoveOn leans pretty heavily to the Left.

There’s been no shortage of right-wing groups trying to counter MoveOn, but until now, they’ve mostly sputtered along. No longer. Now we have Freedom’s Watch, with a roster of extremely-deep-pocket supporters. FW got under way

at the winter meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition… where Vice President Dick Cheney was the keynote speaker…. One benefactor… said the group was hoping to raise as much as $200 million by November 2008. Raising big money “will be easy,” the benefactor said, adding that several of the founders each wrote a check for $1 million.

Now about Bradley Bakeman. For the first four years of the current Bush administration, he was a deputy assistant to Bush, a job he won for his dextrous handling of Bush-Cheney public relations during the 36-day stand-off at the 2000 election. Now, with Freedom’s Watch, he plans to wage

a “never-ending campaign” on an array of foreign policy and domestic issues. They also hope to build an active, grass-roots support network.

The group already has one campaign in progress. That’s

a $15 million advertising campaign designed to maintain Congressional support for President Bush’s troop increase in Iraq.

Which might account for the shameless cave-in by Democrats on the move to censure MoveOn for that Petraeus ad.

There you have it, friends, the left and right — or yin and yang — of grass roots political movements. To raise 150 million dollars, MoveOn asks for fifty dollars each from three million people. Freedom’s Watch asks for one million dollars each from from one hundred and fifty people.

If nothing else, FW saves a lot on postage.


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