Embracing the War
Jane Hamsher: "Much hand wringing has ensued in the wake of the ad, and Enron Ed and Karl Rove’s short term strategy to pillory MoveOn may have George Bush’s desired effect of driving all the Republicans to his defense. As Digby observed, it certainly hornswoggled the media into missing the real story. But what did they really buy along with those Friedman Units? In forcing all the Republicans to rally ’round George Bush, they’ve left them no room to run in 2008."
Jane brings up a vital point: the Betrayus ad, and the subsequent cries of outrage from the Republicans, may have helped Bush in the short term, but it may have long term disastrous consequences for the Republicans.
It may have been Bush's strategy to get the Republicans to embrace the war, but the wider strategy of the Republicans was to get the Democrats to do the same and thus diffuse the negative political effects going into 2008.
What has happened instead? The Republicans have hugged Patreaus (and thus the war) and the Democrats have been given an opportunity to pivot and attack. Witness Hillary Clinton's response to Giulliani's attempt to shame her into denouncing the ad:
Rudy Giuliani is dropping in the polls and is unable to defend his own support for George Bush’s failed war. Instead of distorting Senator Clinton’s record in the campaign’s first attack ad, the Mayor should tell voters why he thinks sticking with the Bush Iraq strategy makes sense. The country wants change and while Hillary Clinton is focused on ending the war, Mayor Giuliani is playing politics.
If MoveOn had not published the ad the Republicans might have been able to get away with some (mild) criticisms of Patreaus while getting some Democrats to wilt before his chest full of shiny medals. George Bush and MoveOn prevented that from happening.
It's still to early for a final judgment. But consider this another mark in the "brilliant" column.