Winning campaign strategy: Bash Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi

Time-proven ploy of politics: Identify an enemy and then run against that enemy.

Many candidates run for Congress not by opposing the record of their opponent but by running against the President. Many Democrats who won House and Senate seats in 2006 won by running against then-President George W. Bush.

Republicans who hope to win elections this year have two enemies: President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

And bashing Pelosi seems to be paying off.

Just ask Jimmy Higdon, a Kentucky Republican who won a state Senate seat by ignoring local issues and turning his race into a referendum on Pelosi. His opponent outspend him 4-to-one and still lost.

Higdon used Pelosi’s pictures in most of his TV ads and campaign propaganda.

“It worked for me,” he told McClatchey Newspapers. “I’m really happy that I had a good team that recognized that, because that’s not something I would have dreamed up.”

Republican political pros plan to put the strategy to work in other races this year

“The strategists will try to make her the lightning rod who represents all that is wrong in Washington ,” says Jeffrey McCall, media studies professor at DePauw University in Indiana .

Pelosi, like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is in trouble back home as well. Her job approval rating in her district is an uber-low 39 percent and she is under fire not only from Republicans but also from Democrats.

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When in doubt, blame Bush

When Democrats run out of ideas (a problem that happens often) they turn to their standard political tactic: Blame former President George W. Bush.

Record deficits? Bush’s fault.

Record unemployment? Bush’s fault.

Failing banks? Bush did it.

Failing war in Afghanistan? Bush put us in this mess.

One of these days, the party of the jackass needs to stop using Bush as a whipping boy and actually try to come up with an original idea.

Or maybe not.

Another standard Democratic mantra is to blame all of their failures on Republicans.

Democrats calim health care lies in intensive care because of Republican obstructionism.

Really? Did the Republicans cut backroom deals with the health care industry, deals that gutted the bill of any real reform?

Did Republicans cut deals with fellow Democrats like Ben Nelson, giving special breaks to his home state as payment for his vote?

I don’t think so.

Bush deserves a lot of blame for the mess that mires this nation in the worst recession since the great depression but it’s not all his fault. A Democratic-controlled congress came into power during the last two-years of his administration and they approved some fo the legislation that spurred the economic downfall. Democratic President Bill Clinton helped design the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that practically begged companies to send American jobs out of the country.

The problems that hold this country in a vice-grip of gridlock, economic meltdown and morale-sapping morass are not solely the fault of either Republicans or Democrats.

The problem is the system of government that turns control over to legislators from both parties who cater not to the desires or needs of the voters but to the fat checkbooks of the special interests who buy their supports and vote.

That problem will get worse because the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed corporations unlimited ability to dumps millions — and perhaps billions — into the political process.

America’s problems cannot, and will not, be changed by replacement of the political party that controls Congress or the White House.

The system must be replaced but as long as the system controls itself that change is impossible.

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Politics: SNAFU, TACFU and FUBAR

When Republicans tried their hardest to use Bill Clinton’s inability to keep his pants zipped as a way to oust him from office, Democrats raised their hands in mock anger and decried that it as “just sex” and sex wasn’t all that important in the political scheme of things.

Now Game Change, the book that has tongues wagging throughout Washington shows that, during the 2008 Presidential primary season, Democrats were just as obsessed with the former President’s randy nature.

In fact, the book claims, many Democrats decided to support Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton because they were either upset over Bill’s philandering or feared it would sink their chances of recapturing the White House.

The problem, of course, stemmed from Bill’s extra-marital sexual hijinks — which continued after he left office. According to Game Change, it wasn’t a question of if Bill was still screwing it around: It was how often, how many and how public it all could become.

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid decided to back Obama over Clinton because Bill’s penchant to chasing tail offended him. Ordinarily, it should take a lot to offend a casino bag man like Harry Reid. Somehow, Bill Clinton managed.

Democrats fretted late into the night on how to handle damage control if one of Clinton’s many paramours went public. When Obama captured the nomination, many Dems breathed a sign of relief.

Game Change is a fascinating book to read because it shows politics continues to be a base, bitter and dirty business, controlled by powermad brokers willing to sacrifice truth, values and even the law.

Just is fascinating is how the book uncovers the hyprocrisy of all sides of the political fence when it comes to language, particularly the use of a common four-letter work that starts with “f” and ends with “k” and has a “uc” in the middle.

Barack Obama, John McCain, Joe Biden, Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton tossed the term around more than drunken sailors on shore leave. One of both Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s favorite terms was “unfuckingbelievable” while McCain would look at his sinking campaign and say repeatedly that “we’re fucked.”

George W. Bush loved the term as well and would use it often during his frequent temper tantrums in the Oval Office. Staff faced instant dismissal if they ever reported Bush’s salty language to anyone outside the White House.

I’m a newspaperman and I use the term all the time. I worked in politics and heard it used just as often.

The issue here is not whether or not a candidate said “fuck” or how many times he or she said it. The issue is hypocrisy. When former Democratic Presidential hopeful John Kerry said “fuck” in a Rolling Stone interview, the Bush team called the language “unacceptable” and said it showed Kerry was unfit for office even though Bush loved using the word.

When Bush lost his cool with a New York Times reporter and told him, in front of his daughters, to “go fuck himself,” Democrats jumped on the holier-than-thou bandwagon and went after Bush.

The same is true with Bill Clinton’s sexcapades. Democrats dismiss it as nothing important when it suits their purpose publicly and then fret over it privately when it threatens his wife’s candidacy.

Republicans screw around on their spouses as much as Democrats but both sides get sanctimonious as hell when someone else does it.

In other words, it turns out that politics, like the government it produces, is all fucked up.

One final note:

Hillary, it turns out, has the foulest mouth of all. One passage in the book:

“Unfuckingbelievable!” Clinton said, and shook with fury. “Fuck you! Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!!!”

Maybe’s that the real difference between Bill and Hillary Clinton. She’s home saying it while he’s out doing it.

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When in doubt, blame Bush

Barack Obama invoked the ghost of Harry Truman Thursday, telling the nation that the “buck stops with me” for the security failures that let a nutcase with an underwear bomb get on a plane on Christmas Day.

But Obama is speaking, once again, out of both sides of his mouth. He continues to blame the failings of his Presidency on George W. Bush.

While the President went before the cameras to claim he bears the final responsibility, White House aides spun the story to say the breakdown in security is a holdover from lapses in the Bush administration.

Yet many of these same Democrats blamed Bush for the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001: Just short of nine months into Dubya’s presidency.

Republicans join the hypocrisy by heaping blame on Obama for the current problems while forgetting that they were lining up to blame Bush’s predecessor — Bill Clinton — for the 9/11 attacks.

There’s no doubt that the people charged with protecting Americans from madmen with bombs continue to drop the ball. Our various intelligence agences weren’t talking to each other and failed to connect the dots with all the warning signs out there before 9-11. Now that a terrorist managed to get explosives on a plane less than a month ago we find out that more than eight years later our various agencies are — surprise, surprise — not talking to each other or sharing information.

So, of course, they failed to connect the dots.

The old Washington blame game takes over. It’s always someone else’s fault.

Obama’s rhetoric on Thursday made for good sound bites on the evening news but, given past promises by others, should be expect it to be anything more than rhetoric?

Good question. With politicians on both side of the political fence so busy pointing the finger of blame at each other they once again overlook the obvious.

It ain’t the party in power that’s the problem.

It’s the system.

Even with Bush’s creation of the massive Department of Homeland Security bureaucracy, the task of keeping this country safe lies with competing agencies with competing agendas and different goals.

The FBI, CIA, NSA and others in the alphabet soup of agencies each see themselves as lead in the battle, not part of a team. The Pentagon adds another monkey wrench to the rusting gears by waging its on “war on terror” with little or no cooperation with others.

The system is a government into itself, impervious to control, unfettered by law and oblivious to the intent of elected officials at either end of the National Mall.

Obama doesn’t help the situation with all the mixed signals he sends from his scatter-gun approach to governing. He blames the Bush administration for massive failures in wars on terror and in Irag and Afghanistan and then keeps Bush’s Secretary of Defense on the job. He talks about bringing change but nominates another ethically-challenged political hack to run the Department of Homeland Security.

Obama’s doublespeak Thursday shows nothing really has changed since he swept into office in a tidal wave on lofty, but still unfufilled, promises.

The buck may stop at his desk but it will get lost in the clutter of a muddled Presidency.

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