The Self Made Pundit
Friday, November 08, 2002
MEET THE NEW TONE, SAME AS THE OLD TONE: While the Democrats have ample reason to hold themselves responsible for their dismal showing in Tuesday’s elections (as discussed in Wednesday’s post-mortem post), it’s nice of President Bush to remind us that he and the Republicans played a little role too.
Bush gives us this reminder in his own inimitable style of lying about how he and his followers are full of good intentions. Now that the election is over, Bush rewrites campaign history by informing us that the secret of Republican success was to “change the tone” and eschew negative campaigning. As the Washington Post reports today, this is pure malarkey:
Democrats were particularly incensed yesterday about Bush's claim Wednesday that Republican candidates had succeeded because of their clean campaigns. "Their accent was on the positive," Bush told his top aides, gathered in front of the Oval Office fireplace. “If you want to succeed in American politics, change the tone.”
Bush usually stays above the fray, but some of his hand-picked candidates ran tough negative campaigns. Some used images of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden to try to tar Democrats as soft on national security. Bush occasionally joined in the attack.
The day before the election, Bush repeated a statement that had caused Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) to issue a futile demand for an apology when the president first said it in October. Complaining in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, about his stalled plan for a Department of Homeland Security, Bush said the Senate is “more interested in special interests, which dominate the dialogue in Washington, D.C., than they are in protecting the American people.”
Bush's candidates were as rough as anyone in a tight race. Before the death of Sen. Paul D. Wellstone, GOP candidate Norm Coleman referred to Minnesota's two senators as “a joke and a shadow.”
“I run against a guy who quite often I think is just the lowest common denominator,” Coleman, who won his race, said in July.
Rep. C. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) used an ad featuring videotape of Osama bin Laden in his successful campaign to unseat Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.), who lost both legs and his right arm in a grenade explosion while serving as an Army captain in Vietnam.
So let me get this straight. Bush thinks that a Republican campaign is positive even if it implies that the Democrats lack patriotism and insinuates that a decorated, triple amputee war veteran is soft on Osama bin Laden.
I shudder to think what Bush would consider a negative campaign.