Saturday, October 01, 2005

Democrats Begin to Play Their Hand for 2006

For the first time in years, it seems, a new sign is emerging that Democrats might be working together on a cohesive message for the 2006 campaign: "The Culture of Corruption." The idea is to paint Republican officials in Congress and the White House as people who manipulate government, law, and the truth in order to promote conservative causes and, especially, enrich themselves and their friends at the expense of the taxpayers. Those who have been paying attention have known this for years, but the new Democratic PR push could gain traction with the public because of the unwitting cooperation of Republicans themselves, who suddenly are having trouble hiding their dirty laundry.

The General Accounting Office recently completed its investigation of the Department of Education over allegations of using taxpayer money to promote partisan ends. The GAO concluded that the department engaged in illegal covert propaganda when it made a fake "news story" and paid a syndicated columnist to promote "No Child Left Behind." They also paid taxpayer money to a consulting firm to determine who in the media was favorable to the Republican party.

In response to the GAO report, Ted Kennedy said, "The taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign coming from the White House is another sign of the culture of corruption that pervades the White House and Republican leadership."

When Majority Leader Tom Delay had to leave his post this week after being indicted for breaking campaign finance laws, Nancy Pelosi was there: "[this is] the latest example that Republicans in Congress are plagued by a culture of corruption at the expense of the American people."

When you combine these scandals with recent revelations that Bush staffed the entire government with incompetent cronies, and that Bill Frist is an inside-trader, and that more no-bid contracts for Katrina cleanup were given to companies connected to the Bush Administration, it seems like a natural theme for the Democrats to seize on. Can you win elections simply by making your opponents look bad? Just ask the Republicans, who did it in 2000 and 2004. But perhaps the more important thing is that Dems are working on some unified strategy here, which implies they may be better organized than in the recent past.


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