When Democrats Learn to Speak Plainly
Over the weekend, during an impromptu discussion of impeachment deep in an FDL comments thread, I wrote:
With only some hyperbole, I’d say that Republicans’ message about Clinton was, “He acted in a way that you’d be ashamed to tell your kids.”
In contrast, Democrats’ message tends to be, “He violated section 12(c) of Chapter 344-7 of the…”. There’s a problem there, I think.
I don’t know if Rahm Emanuel was reading (though I’m sure he’s a big FDL fan), but check out his statement today on the Fourthbranch controversy, via TPM Muckraker:
Yesterday the vice president was forced to admit what even an eighth-grade student knew: there is no Cheney branch of government.
That Rahmbo could phrase the issue this way is testimony to the common-sense persuasive power of the Fourthbranch issue. Liberals/progressives in general, and the left blogosphere in particular, have plenty of people who can compile detailed, legalistic cases and arguments pointing at the Bushites’ perfidy (with few who do it better than the author just below), but IMO what we need are more issues where just a single sentence (“Dick Cheney thinks he belongs to his own separate branch of government”) can convey even to people who don’t follow politics closely what we’re so upset about.
For sheer Democratic soundbite goodness today, I don’t know if anyone can top Rep. Linda Sanchez, pictured above (also via TPM Muckraker), responding to the White House’s claim of executive privilege in the face of Congressional subpoenas:
It’s tough to get lectured on the Constitution from the same Administration that said the Vice President is his own branch of government. The fact is that the Bush Administration, which has publicly declared its commitment to getting the truth on this issue, has stonewalled from the beginning. Mr. Fielding should understand two things: that nobody in their right mind would accept a White House offer that would condone perjury, and that saying ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ for months is not actually negotiation.
That’s three strong lines about the Bushites’ essential two-facedness in one short paragraph, combined with a bonus mention of “stonewalling” to summon up echoes of Watergate. For taking on a GOP mentality that Jane described aptly on the day of Scooter Libby’s sentencing as “The presumption of extreme moral rectitude even in the absence of any kind of moral compass whatsoever,” it’s effective stuff. Let’s hear more like that, please.