TRY HARDER, DAMMIT
Roger Simon of the Politico, reporting on a presentation at the Yearly Kos convention:
... Mike Gehrke, the DNC research director, and Parag Mehta, the DNC director of training, were only too happy to pull back the curtain a little and tell these activists how they intended to help destroy the Republicans next year.
Gehrke went through the Republican top tier with a PowerPoint presentation and here is my summary of the DNC game plan for each: ...
I'm not going to quote all Simon's summaries -- just this one:
What he thinks he has going for him: Competence and his record as mayor of New York City. Also, he contrasts well with President Bush and with the Democratic frontrunners.
He will sell his electability and the fact that if he is the nominee he can win Florida and Ohio. Final point he will stress: Sept. 11, Sept. 11, Sept. 11.
What the Democrats will say about him: His accomplishments in New York are exaggerated. He can only get nominated by abandoning his centrist image. He has flip-flopped on choice, immigration and bi-partisanship. Firefighters and survivor families have a different story to tell about Giuliani and Sept. 11.
There is also the question of how well he had prepared the city for a major disaster. Further, his post-mayoral record is open to attack regarding his lobbying, his advancement of Bernie Kerik and his foreign clients.
That's it? That's all the DNC has to say about him?
Point #1: On foreign policy, Giuliani is a Bush clone -- all the GOP candidates are, Ron Paul excepted. People hate Bush. People hate the war. Yet Gehrke and Mehta say nothing about this. In fact, their talking points about all the GOP candidates seem to ignore this. Do they believe the Frank Rich line that the Republicans are keeping their distance from the Bush foreign policy? Please don't tell me they're actually going to be afraid to challenge the GOP candidates on foreign policy, out of the usual Democratic fear of not seeming "tough."
And as for Giuliani specifically, he is (to use John Edwards's phrase) "Bush on steroids" when it comes to dealing with people who disagree with him. Americans are sick of the my-way-or-the-highway cowboy -- doesn't the DNC want to say that we may be on the verge of electing a my-way-or-the-highway New York City cop (or thug)?
Here's what I'd be doing if I were the DNC: I'd be combing the video record of Giuliani's public appearances and press conferences from the mayoral years. He snapped at any reporter or critic who questioned his anger, essentially saying they were all idiots. He was nasty whenever he was challenged.
The public needs to see a rapid-fire montage of these unpleasant comebacks -- I'd make an ad out of them. No, I'd make several. Remember how it hurt McCain when it was suggested that he was too angry, that he didn't have the temperament to be president? Giuliani doesn't have the temperament to be president.
And here are three names that appear to be missing in the DNC's presentation: Amadou Diallo, Abner Louima, and Patrick Dorismond.
What the DNC has is good as far as it goes. And maybe there's more that wasn't mentioned in the presentation (or in the Politico story). But I fear the Democrats don't know how to beat this guy.