by Jerome Armstrong, Sun Aug 19, 2007 at 10:39:16 AM EDT
Why in the world does the NYTimes persist in making writers like Frank Rich inaccessible to the world, and therefore irrelevant to the debate. Who knows! Anyway, some blogger out there doesn't care about pay-to-read firewalls, and I found the entire article online, Frank Rich, He Got Out While the Getting Was Good. Great read, here's the end:
That face, at once contemptuous and greedy and self-righteous, is Karl Rove's face. Unless someone in his party rolls out a revolutionary new product, it is indelible enough to serve as the Republican brand for a generation.
In this case, Rove's weeklong broadside against Clinton -- which he is expected to repeat in multiple appearances on television talk shows today -- looks suspiciously like an exercise in reverse psychology that his team employed three years ago when it was preparing for President Bush's reelection bid.
The ploy was described by Rove lieutenant Matthew Dowd during a postmortem conference on the 2004 election at Harvard University the month after Bush defeated Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts.
In the run-up to the 2004 Democratic National Convention, when it was not yet clear who Bush's opponent would be that November, Rove and his aides had begun to fear that their most dangerous foe would be then-Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.
With his Southern base, charismatic style and populist message, Edwards, they believed, could be a real threat to Bush's reelection.
But instead of attacking Edwards, Rove's team opened fire at Kerry.
Their thinking went like this, Dowd explained: Democrats, in a knee-jerk reaction to GOP attacks, would rally around Kerry, whom Rove considered a comparatively weak opponent, and make him the party's nominee. Thus Bush would be spared from confronting Edwards, the candidate Republican strategists actually feared most.
Unlike Kerry, who had been in public service for decades, Edwards was a political newcomer and lacked a long record that could be attacked. And, unlike former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who had been the front-runner but whose campaign was collapsing in Iowa, Edwards couldn't easily be painted as "nutty."
If that sounds implausibly convoluted, consider Dowd's own words:
"Whomever we attacked was going to be emboldened in Democratic primary voters' minds.
"So we started attacking John Kerry a lot in the end of January because we were very worried about John Edwards," Dowd said. "And we knew that if we focused on John Kerry, Democratic primary voters would sort of coalesce" around Kerry.
"It wasn't like we could tag [eliminate] somebody. Whomever we attacked was going to be helped," he said.
In the debate today Clinton's response about her negatives was spot on, saying:
The Obama response tackles the "I'm your gal" line that Clinton used to describe her ability ["If you want a winner who knows how to take them on, I'm your girl."] to beat Republicans by saying: