Refusing to Learn

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Oct 04, 2006 10:13 AM

I liked this from Dean's post on Foley this morning:

One other note. As I write, I’m seeing Nancy Pelosi saying out loud that all Republicans must pay for the Foley affair. God bless the Democrats – they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. If they kept their traps shut, they’d maximize whatever advantage they’d get this matter. But they can refrain from hideous pit-bull style politics as much as an actual pit-bull can decline a chance to snatch a liver-snap. The decision to federalize the disgrace of one congressman shows the leftist echo-chamber continues to function brilliantly.

They should be looking to Virginia as their guide. You couldn’t have had a worse month than George Allen. Still, his lead remains intact. The only explanation for this is that the relentless ugliness of the Webb campaign made the month even worse for Webb than it was for Allen.

There’s a lesson there. Thankfully, the Democrats refuse to learn it.

Jim Geraghty wonders if the Dems will bring a Wellstone Funeral moment upon themselves:

Over the weekend, you could sense the eagerness to take a stomach-turning tragedy and turn it into another talking point for the election, an instinct that I think is... not wise for our friends on the other side of the aisle. I'm reminded of the Wellstone funeral. Some things are bigger than campaign politics; the people get these sorts of things in their bones, and they don't need to see this come up in attack ads, etc. As for who knew what and when, let's get this all out in the open. We can understand the resistence to believe one's colleague was capable of something like this, but let's let the public see what information was available earlier, and let them decide whether Foley's colleagues should have seen signals sooner.

UPDATE: I wonder if those who persue treating the Foley disgrace as a campaign issue run the risk of creating the natural sequel to the 2002 Wellstone Funeral - a revealing moment in which certain leaders of a party take a tragic event and gleefully use it for political fodder.

Dean notes that one Dem is already taking Pelosi's advice to heart in a new campaign ad.

I can't remember who wrote this yesterday or I'd link it, but someone said it's a pretty bad bet for the Democrats to think they can paint themselves as the "party of sexual restraint" for very long with any success (nor would they want to do that). Their barely concealed glee over the situation isn't going to fly for long, either.

As Dean noted, these kind of tactics from Dems in Virginia allowed George Allen to hold onto a lead after a historically bad political month. They also allowed him to grab the high ground with this utterly mundane "get back to the issues" ad. 

Yes, that ad's been done a thousand times, but at this point in the campaign, it's actually refreshing. But it's only refreshing because we got dragged down into the muck for a month. Nice touch by Allen, taking responsibility for some of the charges brought upon him. I think it was a good move. It reminded people that they know Allen, and have known him as a leader for 20 years.

We'll have to keep an eye on his poll numbers.