Robert Novak's latest column is here. It's actually heartening -- Novak says Republicans worry about their guy running against Kerry, and I think Novak is being sincere (in other words, this isn't like that "Republicans say I'm the opponent they fear most" nonsense Joe Lieberman is spouting).
But this passage pisses me off:
Republican National Chairman Ed Gillespie, given the assignment of rolling out Kerry's liberal record, has come under private criticism by his GOP colleagues. They knock Gillespie, not for trying, but for failing to clearly expose Kerry as a compulsive liberal.
"Compulsive liberal"? What the hell is that supposed to mean?
Republicans love suggesting that being a Democrat or a liberal is a variety of mental illness -- maybe not an out-and-out psychosis, but certainly a neurosis or an obsessive tic. Back in the '80s, the subtext of all that talk about "tax-and-spend liberals" was that Democrats raised taxes because they just couldn't stop themselves. (Which is a bit ironic now, as we watch Bush bankrupting our grandchildren and moving on to the great-grandkids.) The right has never stopped doing this -- and our side, even with a snappish, pettish, compulsive-spending ex-alcoholic narcissist as president, hasn't figured out how to react in kind.