Tuesday, November 11, 2008

War Of The Words

Here's Matthews, campaigning for 2010:

It wasn't a good performance on Matthews' part, but what I found interesting was the Republican flack getting out the "It's still a center-right country" thing, even able, over Matthews' ranting, to get in a reference to the exit polls showing 30-odd percent of the voters identify as conservative, only 22% as liberal. This is a potent stat, all the more so considering that Matthews and his colleagues are a little bit intellectually flabby. It's going to be trotted out again and again by Republican flacks and their whipping boys in the "liberal media" -- as long as they aren't planning on running for a Senate seat as a Democrat, like Matthews is.

If the Democrats are serious about "change" they are going to have to defeat this talking point, both when the flacks and when the Broders keep chanting it in the face of all other evidence, both electoral and poll-wise, showing that people really do want the Democrats to shake things up. The obvious way of doing this would be to say, "I don't care about 'liberal' or 'conservative' -- I care about issues. And on these issues -- healthcare, social security, jobs, the tax system, foreign policy -- the public agrees with our agenda. You can call it a liberal agenda or a conservative agenda -- in fact, you can call it what you want to call it. But that's what I was elected to enact, and that's what I'm going to spend the next four years pushing for." If the Democrats and Chris Matthewses allow themselves to get bogged down by meaningless, undefined words and phrases like "liberal" (what does the public mean by "liberal"? None of those exit polls ever says), and "center-right country", and "Democratic overreach," they will end up getting very little done.