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August 24, 2006

Has the marketing campaign against Iran begun?

-- by John Emerson

Over at Washington Monthly, Laura Rozen asks: Has the marketing campaign against Iran begun?

The trial balloons were up at least six months ago, and every week since then there's been some little increment.

What I said back then was that the Democrats should expect and prepare for a pre-election security crisis or military action, and prepare public opinion (using their own trial balloons) for the idea that the Republicans were going to involve the Commander in Chief in a dangerous military adventure motivated by demagogy and fraud.

The Democrats wouldn't and couldn't do that -- first, because they never think ahead; and second, because a significant, possibly controlling faction of the party is terrified of the "dove" label.

Without a powerful Democratic response, Rove's magic could very easily erase the Democratic polling advantages we now see. Media cooperation with Rove will be virtually total -- Chris Mathews is already pushing the Rove line, and he's far from the worst of the bunch.

People don't like naysayers, but this is what I've been thinking during the last six months while the rest of the Democrats have been gloating about polls.

If I'm wrong, I'll be the happiest man in the US, and the beer's on me.

(Adapted from my comment to Rozen's piece.)

Update: Matt Yglesias has been thinking about the same thing. He's just less depressed:

Democrats had better be prepared to confront this business aggressively. Unfortunately, I'm afraid that they won't be. Months and months ago when the groundwork for all this was being laid by conservative pundits and so forth I made it a habit to ask every Democratic politician I came across whether or not they were prepared for Iran to be an issue in the '06 midterms. Absolutely none of them seemed to be. People were either confident it wouldn't come to that, confident they could gin up a counter-pan if it did come to that, or else just expressed outrage at the idea that the GOP might politicize national security. But of course the GOP will politicize national security. What's more, they should politicize national security -- it's an important and legitimate issue in political debates. Democrats can't just plead for the refs to call a foul, they need to try to engage in this debate and win it.

Posted by John Emerson at August 24, 2006 7:45 AM

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