A fragment from the latest of the DCCC releases that come to me several times a day, which was headlined, “here they come…“:
Since Rick Santorum dropped out yesterday, the Obama-Romney general election has fully engaged.
Just hours after Santorum’s announcement, Karl Rove teamed up with the Koch Brothers to launch a $1.7 million SuperPAC ad buy attacking President Obama in key battleground states.
There’s too much at stake to fall behind Romney, Rove, and the Koch Brothers.
Since the general election kicked off yesterday, we’re only 951 donors away from our goal of 10,000 supporters standing strong for President Obama and a Democratic Majority.
My favorite part, I think, is that excellent example of the way parties use completely nonsensical terminology that they know has a proven track record of stirring the emotions of their base — in this case, “swift-boating.” (A term that hasn’t had any sort of relevance for eight years, and never had the meaning that Democrats ascribe to it — but it stirs the indignation of the faithful, and that’s the point.)
This release can be understood on several levels. One is face value: Now that his chief rival has dropped out, Mitt Romney will turn his full evil machine on our beloved President Obama, so you must give us money so we can fight him! Which is problematic in that the situation is not new. Romney has been trying to ignore his rivals and focus on the general election since before the Iowa caucuses; he just kept getting distracted. Now, you’ll see more of the same, with fewer distractions.
Then there’s another, ironic level. This is but one of a very long series of missives over the past few months going after Mitt Romney (remember how bemused I was that the Dems were totally focused on Romney, even as Gingrich was winning the SC primary?), and also trying to scare you into giving money so the party could keep doing so. No Rubicon is being crossed here, folks. Just another step on a long, boring road.
But there is one sense in which we are seeing a qualitative change at this moment. We are, with the departure of Santorum (although not of Gingrich or Paul), entering waters that partisans on both sides have longed to enter. We are entering the area where, according to the self-justifying propaganda of both sides, they believe they have the excuse to throw off any constraints that might in the past have pulled them somewhat in the direction of truth and proportion.
In other words, here they come — the Dems and Repubs both — and their coming at us with stuff likely to be even more outrageous than what we’ve seen.
For months, the two sides have been preparing their followers for this moment. During the SC primary campaign, I repeatedly heard and saw Republicans excusing the attacks they were hurling at each other by saying, “You’d better toughen up and learn to take it now, because if you’re the nominee, this is nothing compared to the horrible stuff that Obama will throw at you in the fall.” And I would turn and look at Obama, and I would wonder whom they were talking about. We’ve all seen the kinds of campaigns Obama runs. The fact that he was NOT like that was a prime reason why we endorsed him in the 2008 SC primary.
Meanwhile, the Dems have been working as hard as ever to demonize the opposition, building to this moment when they could say, “Now these monsters will stop chewing on each other and come after US!” At which point we’re all supposed to run for the hills or something. No, excuse me — we’re supposed to throw all our money at the Democratic Party (which will FIGHT for us!) and then run for the hills.
Well, thanks for the warning. You’ve reminded me that it’s time to batten down the hatches. A squall of foolishness is headed our way. Here they come…