Friday, May 25, 2007


Awhile back a congressional staffer suggested to me that the Democrats were concerned because they were being "hammered" on a particular issue (I actually forget just what it was). It was true that Republicans were going to the House floor and making their incoherent grunting noises, as they usually do, about the issue, and that wingnuttia was aflame, as it usually is. And, sure, some of that was seeping through to the mainstream media coverage, as it does. But it just was not the case that the Democrats were being "hammered." The Republicans aren't that bright, and they don't always have a very good sense of which issues have traction (see Schiavo, Terri) with the public, or which cute catch phrases will resonate with people. They have a very big amplifer - Fox, Limbaugh, Drudge, Drudge's little sister Politico, big chunks of the rest of cable news, Fred Hiatt's crayon scribble page, the conservative "family" groups and their email lists - but the Democrats don't suffer every time they turn it up to 11 because the American public isn't nearly as stupid as Joe Klein is.

As I said, I forget what this issue was, but it was obvious to me at the time that it had no traction. The Republicans could grunt and squeal, Big Pharma could bloviate, Drudge could put the siren up, and Fred Hiatt could publish an op-ed by little Katie Kagan, age 5, and it wasn't going to matter. The Democrats were not being "hammered," but instead Republicans and their various mouthpieces were just looking like fools.

Democrats need to learn when they are and aren't being hammered.