Frank Rich: Karl Rove beats the Democrats again

Published: Saturday June 17, 2006

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"Karl Rove beats the Democrats again," writes Frank Rich for his weekly column slated for Sunday's New York Times, RAW STORY has found.

Rich notes that even though Iraq has been a "loser" for the Bush Administration, the Republicans have been able to capitalize politically on it since the Democratic Party has been unable to come up with a "stirring narrative that defines their views."

"What's most impressive about Rove, however, is not his ruthlessness, it's his unshakable faith in the power of a story," writes Rich. "The story he's stuck with, Iraq, is a loser, but he knows it won't lose at the polls if there's no story to counter it."

"And so he tells it over and over, confident that the Democrats won't tell their own," Rich continues. "And they don't -- whether about Iraq or much else."

"The question for the Democrats is less whether they tilt left, right or center, than whether they can find a stirring narrative that defines their views, not just the Republicans," Rich writes.

Excerpts from Rich's Times column:


What's needed, wrote Michael Tomasky in an influential American Prospect essay last fall, is a "big-picture case based on core principles." As he argued, Washington's continued and inhumane failure to ameliorate the devastation of Katrina could not be a more pregnant opportunity for the Democrats to set forth a comprehensive alternative to the party in power. Another opportunity, of course, is the oil dependence that holds America hostage to the worst governments in the Middle East.

Instead the Democrats float Band-Aid nostrums and bumper-sticker marketing strategies like "Together, America Can Do Better." As the linguist Geoffrey Nunberg pointed out, "The very ungrammaticality of the Democrats' slogan reminds you that this is a party with a chronic problem of telling a coherent story about itself, right down to an inability to get its adverbs and subjects to agree."

On Wednesday Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were to announce their party's "New Direction" agenda -- actually, an inoffensive checklist of old directions (raise the minimum wage, cut student loan costs, etc.) -- that didn't even mention Iraq. Symbolically enough, they had to abruptly reschedule the public unveiling to attend Bush's briefing on his triumphant trip to Baghdad

...As long as the Democrats keep repeating their own mistakes, they will lose to the party whose mistakes are, if nothing else, packaged as one heckuva show. It's better to have the courage of bad convictions than no courage or convictions at all.