Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Always leave them guessing

Some good media advice from Liberal Oasis to the Senate Dems (emphasis mine):

Momentum against the Alberto Gonzales nomination for Attorney General is building.

In fact, yesterday’s AP headline was "Gonzales Torture Memo Controversy Builds".

Today, the W. Post reports on the harsh criticism Gonzales is getting from several high-ranking retired military officers.

And the Christian Science Monitor’s editorial board is calling for tough questioning of Gonzales during his confirmation hearings this week.

All that would be heartening, if Senate Dems hadn’t sucked the oxygen out of the Gonzales story back in November by essentially predicting his confirmation.

Sen. Pat Leahy told reporters that Bush “did not” select “a polarizing figure”, that Gonzales “has a far better chance of confirmation with substantial votes from both sides of the aisle than a more divisive figure would have”.

Sen. Chuck Schumer also chimed in, “There's certainly a feeling that he will be confirmed”.

By doing that, Dems have tipped their hand. The GOP and (more importantly) the media know Dems won’t go to the mat to stop Gonzales.

And if the media knows that, they have less reason to raise the profile of any skirmishes.

From the media’s perspective, it not as newsworthy if there’s no chance of the nomination being killed.

Democrats are rusty when it comes to the strategic game of politics. Part of thinking strategically includes not dismissing certain options prematurely. When asked about this back in November the Democrats should have simply said that they will be reviewing their options. If pressed simply say that it would be irresponsible to rule anything out prematurely.

We need more poker players and fewer chess players.

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