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Tilting at Windmills

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September 10, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

COOKING THE BOOKS....Is it just me, or does anyone else think that Republicans are making a big mistake by spending all their TV time this morning complaining about accusations that Gen. Petraeus is cooking the books in his assessment of progress in Iraq? Repeating the accusation, even if it's only to denounce it, is still repeating the accusation. And it means that everyone watching today's hearing is learning over and over and over that a lot of people don't trust Petraeus, something they might not have known before since Democrats aren't mentioning it and not everyone reads the inside pages of the New York Times.

This strikes me as a very dumb thing to do.

Kevin Drum 1:12 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (81)

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does anyone else think that Republicans are making a big mistake by spending all their TV time this morning complaining about accusations that Gen. Petraeus is cooking the books in his assessment of progress in Iraq?

Don't forget the Rovian maxim of attacking the Republicans' opponents on the Republicans' weaknesses. If the Republicans spending all their TV time this morning complaining about accusations that Gen. Petraeus is cooking the books in his assessment of progress in Iraq, then Gen. Petraeus -- or more accurately, the White House whose catspaw Betrayus has chosen to be -- is cooking the books in his assessment of progress in Iraq. QED.

Posted by: Gregory on September 10, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Ironically, I wouldn't have known that Republicans were defending Petraeus if you hadn't mentioned it here.

Posted by: Grumpy on September 10, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

But... but ... but ....

Rhyming Petraeus and Betray Us hurts the twoops!

Waahhhh!!!

Posted by: Algbert on September 10, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Yes it is a very dumb thing to do. Yday on NPR they had a political scientist on saying the initial charge sticks and if you try to naysay it most folks forget the "not true" part. You're just reinforcing the the lie. This was in context of how many people believed Saddam had WMD long after even Bush said it wasn't true.

Posted by: markg8 on September 10, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin's thinking is exactly John Kerry's thinking in declining to attack the Swift Boat accusations, no? Don't denounce the accusation, because you'll just be repeating it for people who may not have previously heard it?

Posted by: Al on September 10, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

I'm gobsmacked. I agree with Al for once.

Posted by: jimBOB on September 10, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

does anyone else think that Republicans are making a big mistake by spending all their TV time this morning complaining about accusations that Gen. Petraeus is cooking the books in his assessment of progress in Iraq?

Christ who knows. The only thing that will move the public against this war in a meaningful way, is for it to have a direct impact on enough people. Meaning, enough people have someone they care about killed or maimed, or short of that, have to give up their big screen TVs.

Posted by: Del Capslock on September 10, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

No, Move On made the huge mistake with its idiotic ad. Move On has been disastrous on Iraq this year.

Supporting toothless Dem bills and now this idiotic ad.

Horrible.

Posted by: Armando on September 10, 2007 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Al, as usual, is an idiot. You don't deny the accusation. You change the accusation to a correct one.

So, the Repukeliscum should be saying "General Petreaus will be reporting directly from the battlefield and will indicate facts from that locale."

Mention nothing about cooking the books.

That would allow us, the Democrats, to discuss why Petraeus is evading the issue.

Posted by: POed Lib on September 10, 2007 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

The NPR coverage of this testimony by Neil Conan, Michael Gordon and Gary Anderson is just awful. Credulous and non-skeptical -- I wonder how they put that panel together.

Posted by: Ben Brackley on September 10, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

I know! It's absolutely simpering!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 10, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Plus won't it put a spotlight on any of the statistics he uses? Won't any self-respecting media organization have to take a look at the "measurable" progress and see if it actually measures up or is he cooking the books?

Seems to me that they are putting an awful lot of pressure on Petreaus to be accurate.

Posted by: Not the senator on September 10, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

I think you're right. Just repeat the numbers, not the commentary about them.

I think maybe the WH tipped its hand a little too early and gave the antiwar people a chance to regroup and marshal counterarguments, and now they're freaking out.

That said, all the WH needs to do is to keep the base. If the base doesn't complain, enough Republicans will hold -- enough to sustain a veto anyway. So they may be thinking that, by providing talking points for the base, they'll keep the whole thing from crumbling.

I think they're also counting on the Dems playing it safe and not pushing very hard for a change in strategy. They'll do enough to satisfy THEIR base, but not enough to even TRY to force a change.

In the end, the WH and the Congressional Dems are not too unsatisfied with the status quo, so neither will try very hard to change it. The Congressional Reps, of course, are in a different situation altogether, but they have the least power. Sucks to be them, I guess.

Posted by: bleh on September 10, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Kerry DID denounce the Swift Boat attacks, just not very well. And by doing so, he did inadvertently lend support to the 'idea' of the charges.

He should have taken the Bush approach to general criticism, and simply asserted the opposite. Kerry should have challenged each criticism with the short, flat assertion that his Vietnam service was invaluable to the war effort. End of response.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 10, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

I don't give MoveOn money because I know they can be counted on to do something stupid, like that ad. People have to be allowed to think things like that in private for a good long while before you go taking out full page ads like that to tap into it. A half page ad that asked if "Is 'Petraeus' Dutch for Westmoreland?" would have been tasteful in comparison.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 10, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

They're not repeating an accusation that Petraeus is cooking the books, in fact i'm not hearing them repeat the charge at all. What they're repeating is a mean-spirited, schoolyard-taunt level zinger that MoveOn unwisely put out in an email (Petraeus / Betray Us). They want to equate opponents of the Iraq occupation with the "anti-war left" of the Vietnam era, because they've already successfully demonized the latter group. MoveOn should know better than to serve up a gopher ball to the pro-war faction on what should be their worst political day of the year. Very reminiscent of Kerry's botched joke last year. Hopefull this will end up being as much of a flash-in-the-pan as that stupid error was; but hopefully it won't have the lasting damage to MoveOn's credibility as Kerry sustained.

Posted by: TW on September 10, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Since they're cooking the books, I hope the GOP keeps denying it. Truth will out and all that.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on September 10, 2007 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

I think they are playing to the Republican base, who evidently think that Generals who support the Bush and Cheney strategy of the moment should be viewed with reverential awe.

Posted by: fidelio on September 10, 2007 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Ordinarily(IOW if a Democrat did it) this tactic would be a mistake. But the media will toe the "Petraeus is a saint" line.

And why is Petraeus a hero, anyhoo? I guess any other viewpoint would dishonor our military.

Posted by: Horatio Parker on September 10, 2007 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

This strikes me as a very dumb thing to do.

May be, but I have little faith the Democrats won't screw up more -- that they'll just fold and buckle under the sight of the sainted Gen. Petraeus and solemnly repeat that we need to be "responsible" and kinda-sorta-maybe think about considering talking about withdrawing in six months.

It's a lot like war itself: victory goes to the side that makes the fewest mistakes. The Dems keep making more mistakes.

DU

Posted by: The Mechanical Eye on September 10, 2007 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

I just returned from a backpacking trip in the mountains. Now, all I need to do is get laid. In 24 months, the troops will all be out of Baghdad whether I shit myself or not.

Posted by: absent observer on September 10, 2007 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Petraeus is taking up the challenge of the media through the use of cyber tactics.

Reduce to 15 BCT by July 2008.

Iran! Iran! That's why we can't draq down any more than the surge troop reductions.

Back to the Future! To infinity and beyond!!

Posted by: TJM on September 10, 2007 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

And at this time, let me make one other thing perfectly clear: I am not gay. I never have been gay. And I am not a naughty, bad, perhaps even a nasty boy. In short, I am simply your stereotypical white trash male, whose stepkids have outstanding warrants for their arrest. And it's all the media's fault.

Posted by: Former Soon-to-Be Ex-Sen. C. (R-Dark Side of the Moon) on September 10, 2007 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

"The NPR coverage of this testimony by Neil Conan, Michael Gordon and Gary Anderson is just awful. Credulous and non-skeptical -- I wonder how they put that panel together."

Even worse, this morning I heard a female correspondent on NPR say that no American soldier or masrine had been killed in al Anbar Province this year.

Posted by: Jose Padilla on September 10, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

NPR sucked this morning, too, with Cokie Roberts offering her trademark "this is fraught with peril for Democrats, who don't want to seem too extreme!"

And the hell with Move On. What a stupid ad. So friggin' counterproductive.

Posted by: Elvis Elvisberg on September 10, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Christ who knows. The only thing that will move the public against this war in a meaningful way, is for it to have a direct impact on enough people. Meaning, enough people have someone they care about killed or maimed, or short of that, have to give up their big screen TVs. Posted by: Del Capslock

Exactly! Bring back the draft.

Posted by: JeffII on September 10, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

MoveOn made a tasteless ad and I missed it? Darn it to heck, I need my daily dose of tasteless snark.

And of course Petraeus is cooking the books, of course these guys are just trying to weasel a couple more Friedman Units out of it, the focus now is purely to shift as much blame as possible to the next (likely Democratic) administration. Every soldier that dies now, is only dying so the R's can score political points against the D's in the coming year. There's no way on earth we're keeping soldiers there for ten more years; we can't afford it, it will unite the Muslim world against us (as it should; imagine how we would react if the roles were reversed), and it will pin down our military and distract us from other (future) problems.

Posted by: dr2chase on September 10, 2007 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Mean while the General will give his report while the scroll at the bottom will say more dead marines today,Kinda like the Iraqi guy(There are no US soldiers in Iraq while behind him you can see the tanks of the us army)Wewill not know if the surge worked untill we pull the troops out that made up the surge,If the violence stays down then the surge worked if the violence goes up then the surge did noy work,But then we know we should have gone in with 300,00 to 500,000 troops like the Generals wanted and Bush said No.

Posted by: john john on September 10, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

I think that it's productive to rebut a criticism only if most people have already heard, or soon will hear, that criticism.

Hard to say whether most people have, or would have heard the Democratic criticism of Petraeus before the episode would have passed.

Posted by: frankly0 on September 10, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

NPR sucked this morning, too, with Cokie Roberts offering her trademark "this is fraught with peril for Democrats, who don't want to seem too extreme!"

Nobody exemplifies the elitism of the Washington press corps more than Cokie Roberts. She can barely disquise her contempt for the rabble who dare to challenge the wisdom of the ruling class, of which she clearly counts herself a member.

Posted by: Del Capslock on September 10, 2007 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Every soldier that dies now, is only dying so the R's can score political points against the D's in the coming year.

Iraq is now a proxy American civil war.

A lot of Iraqis shoot each other, yeah, that's true, but a lot of Iraqis also get shot to prove political points over here, perhaps because we don't have the balls or the honesty to shoot at each other.

Bullies and cowards. Hail, Columbia!

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on September 10, 2007 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Every soldier that dies now, is only dying so the R's can score political points against the D's in the coming year.

And yet the R's will also lose that political war, as every poll shows.

Posted by: frankly0 on September 10, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Kerry did not respond to the Swift Boat ads for eight (8) days. (Tip o' the hat to Bob Shrum as well on that brilliant strategy.) MoveOn is pretty hopeless too, and that add is Exhibit "QQ" on their own Hall of Shame list.

Posted by: MaxGowan on September 10, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

And of course Petraeus is cooking the books, . . . Posted by: dr2chase

I still don't understand this. Bush is fucking idiot. I think the majority of Americans at least suspect this. Iraq was a mistake. I think the majority of Americans at least suspect this. The Joint Chiefs and about 1,000 former officers have gone on record stating Iraq was a mistake. At this point what could Petraeus possibly have to lose by telling the truth? Ultimately, Petraeus doesn't work for Bush, but the American people. He's seen what weaseling by a former Head of the Joint Chiefs has done to the country. Why would telling the truth (remember the oath - all enemies foreign and domestic - at this point that certainly includes the Bush administration) be seen as disobeying the CiC let alone tantamount to treason

Posted by: JeffII on September 10, 2007 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

"This strikes me as a very dumb thing to do."

Republicans.........

Posted by: Dave in ME on September 10, 2007 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Elected Democrats don't get air time, so when would they have time to denounce Petraeus? Besides, they'll get their chance when he shows up at the House and Senate...

Now Democratic blogs, on the hand, are filled with denouncements. ^-^

Posted by: Crissa on September 10, 2007 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

JimBOB: "I'm gobsmacked. I agree with Al for once."

I disagree. John Kerry never felt compelled to respond to something he knew to be untrue, because he mistakenly thought that mainstream American media itself would debunk such bullshit, rather than aid and abet its perpetuation.

Nearly, three years later, it's readily apparent that 2004 was literally the Pyrrhic triumph of hollow men. Most polls now reflect the sentiments of a strong majority of the general public, who are afflicted with the political equivalent of buyer's remorse. While that disgruntled public may not necessarily believe in John Kerry and the Democrats (yet), they most certainly distrust George W. Bush and the Republicans, and by significant margins on almost every issue of note.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was correct in his own public assessment, when he bluntly told the California Republican Convention in Indian Wells this past weekend that the GOP's platform and policies were fast becoming box office poison -- and judging by its initial reception, it sure doesn't sound like the politically self-righteous GOP delegates were in any mood to hear it.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 10, 2007 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

See last Tuesday's report by Vedantam in the Post: Saying that something isn't true may lead people to believe that it is:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/03/AR2007090300933.html

Posted by: bob somerby on September 10, 2007 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Me thinks the Republicans are more interested in attacking Move-On.org rather than those that attacked on 9/11.

Posted by: Robert on September 10, 2007 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

"Me thinks the Republicans are more interested in attacking Move-On.org rather than those that attacked on 9/11."

You have stumbled into the truth. To the repukeliscum, the Liberal is the enemy. All other opponents are just allies of the Liberal.

Have you ever listened to interviews with members of the College Repukeliscum? These swine are frequently challenged as to why they don't enlist. The answer is always that the most important fight is the political fight here in the US.

Posted by: POed Lib on September 10, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

And it means that everyone watching today's hearing is learning over and over and over that a lot of people don't trust Petraeus...

This strikes me as a very dumb thing to do.

—Kevin Drum

No, "everyone watching" is being told that Dems -- not "a lot of people" -- don't trust Petraeus. The goal here is to pit Dems against Petraeus and the troops, get it?

The purpose is to conflate every DEM criticism with a lack of trust of Petraeus and the troops.

It's the smart thing to do.

Posted by: Econobuzz on September 10, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

With regard to the MoveOn ad, some readers don't understand. It rhymes. That can be irresistible.

Posted by: bob somerby on September 10, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

The Surge Protectors are following a strategy of arguing that there has been progress without saying HOW MUCH progress, how sustainable it is, and whether it will result in oplitical reconciliation.

The Democrats in the Iraq hearing should put the propagandists whom they are interviewing on the record, benchmark by benchmark. How much progress on each one? When do they predict each one will be met? Are they predicting the political reconciliation which is really the whole point? When?

Posted by: Junius Brutus on September 10, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK


The notion that a General such as Petraeus is cooking the books has a history to it. General Westmoreland in Vietnam was the grand master of the 5:00 follies—press conferences that reported fictitious enemy dead body counts; more recently General Powell did a superb job at the UN. convincing people that the Iraqi's can definitely nuke us. Wisdom resides in doubting these generals who, after all, work for a commander-in-chief who has a definite political agenda.

BTW, anyone have an idea how long a run Iraq will be? Some wag said we'll be there till the oil runs dry.

Posted by: Dr WU-the last of the big time thinkers on September 10, 2007 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Lemme get this straight...

...You whine when no one stands up...

And you whine again when someone does?

No wonder you call the Democrats spineless, you're always ripping it out of them.

Posted by: Crissa on September 10, 2007 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

I'm afraid that the Dem leadership have decided that being at war in 2008 hurts Repub's more than Dem's and that attempting to end the war in 2007 hurts Dem's more than Repub's. It maybe smart, but it sucks.

Posted by: steve on September 10, 2007 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Th testimony doesn't matter, nor does Petraeus' appearance on Fox News, later on, matter, because we've already seen the numbers and we already know that when Petraeus claims progress has been made, he'll be lying.

Posted by: Swan on September 10, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

That can be irresistible.

Yep. Especially to the junior-high mentality.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 10, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Saying that something isn't true may lead people to believe that it is:

This may explain why my advice to my kids doesn't really achieve its proper effect.

Posted by: frankly0 on September 10, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Al on September 10, 2007 at 1:21 PM

Tell me AL, in (R)cloud cuckoo land do the calendars run 10 years slow? Do they TVs there play shows from 1997?

Posted by: Ya Know... on September 10, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Accusations that Petraeus is "cooking the books" are tantamount to impugning his honesty and his integrity. That's falling head first into the trap set by Bush.

By repeating the accusations ("over and over and over") and successfully pinning them on dems -- with the help of a really unfortunate Move On ad -- the terms of the debate have been shifted. It's now the dems vs. Petraeus -- not dems vs. Bush -- and the question has morphed into whom do you trust more to conduct the war: the dems or Petraeus?

Petraeus may have slightly diminished credibility because of whom he reports to, but the dems have NONE.

Game, set, match, Bush.

Posted by: Econobuzz on September 10, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

That's a very salient point, Kevin. I was thinking it a bit weird without giving it much thought... it has to have had the opposite effect of some who were viewing/ watching

Posted by: brian on September 10, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

From the Republican standpoint, no, the statements about MoveOn's ad are not mistakes.

By mentioning them over and over, it's a better bet that their statements will show up on national news. The Republicans showing 'liberals' and by association 'democrats' attacking the general.


Polls show the public trusts the general better than the politicians to tell the truth. So the Republicans show that the Dems are still out of touch with Americans.

It's all they've got.

Posted by: editor on September 10, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

I have not seen the MoveOn ad, but it seems they are making a mistake of asking the target audience if Petraeus cooked the books. MoveOn should just accuse the general of being a flat out liar and a traitor to the American way, whose allegiance is not to the constitution but to big oil companies. Asking whether or not Petraeus juggled statistics is not the kind of forceful condemnation of his mission that the opposition to the occupation needs to make.


Posted by: Brojo on September 10, 2007 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone else think that Republicans are making a big mistake by spending all their TV time this morning complaining about accusations that Gen. Petraeus is cooking the books in his assessment of progress in Iraq?

Hey did you read about tha guy Luntz or see him on FECKS SNOOZE recently? Ennyhoo, he is Republican emotional phraseologist, that is to say, he opposes rational thoughts, so he creates phrases so people will make emotional decisions instead of rational ones.

Since the Repugs have long been lab rats conditioned to emotional punditry, how would they react? Emotionally most likely. If they agree they probably wont get emotional and not think much about it (probably a majority overall due to lack of Honesty in the current administration, Rove, Gonzales, etc etc)

But if they disagree they will probably get angry (emotional) and repeat the accusations over and over.

It may reinforce the idea that the books are cooked, because people who continually deny something usually are fibbing. But it will also work, I think, to keep those that got angry firmly in the Republican pocket no matter what the Republicans do.

Theey have the emotional little rab lats so trained that they can get away with anything.

Lets take Als post, hes still emotionally locked into a period a decade ago, no matter how many corrupt or amoral acts committed by the GOP, Foleys, Delays, Abramoffs, Cunninghams, Vitters, Craigs etc he will still argue for them.

We see it today, almost on cue the lab ratPavlovians first reply to any rational discourse becomes irrational, "Clinton did this..."

Overall, I think, the whining works against them. I also dont think their Osama comparisons to the netroots helped them either, they are grasping for emotional straws and coming up empty. The Repubs rants are losing the emotional edge. They have cried Wolf too many times. The emotional reaction just isn't there anymore.

Posted by: Ya Know... on September 10, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on September 10, 2007 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

It's in the Democrat left wing's DNA to despise the American military- they just can't help it.

You dipshit. It originated with Soldiers!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 10, 2007 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Don't forget the Rovian maxim of attacking the Republicans' opponents on the Republicans' weaknesses" -Gregory

Good point. Alas, Mocha Dick, has slipped under the waves.

Seem, to me, one of their strong points has been shoveling manure.

Posted by: Ya Know... on September 10, 2007 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Saying that something isn't true may lead people to believe that it is

So does this imply that the whole fight-back-against-smears meme that animates the left blogosphere might be dead wrong, indeed exactly counterproductive?

I guess my own view has been that the best way to deal with most negative attacks is to go negative oneself, and that Democrats should focus on negative framing, rather than worry about how Republicans will smear them.

This result would seem to suggest that this is right. It suggests that both negative attacks will be believed, and the important thing is to do a better job in attack.

Posted by: frankly0 on September 10, 2007 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Did you enjoy MoveOn's clever rhyming of General Petraeus with General Betray Us? -Mhr.

I dont usually read Moveon's stuff. Thats an old play on words that started well before this promised, but not produced, report.

Its a bit of harmless wordplay that goes back to when Petraeus was in charge of training the Iraqi Nationalisation Forces and we got cooked numbers on the amount of Iraqi troops that had been trained. Nice Try.

Posted by: Ya Know... on September 10, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

TW, I too am somewhat pissed off at Move On, for the same reason you outline.

I do think that Kevin's right. BUT, they have no choice. The level of disbelief is driving them to this strategy.

Posted by: Tony Shifflett on September 10, 2007 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Who's this 'editor' tool?

Posted by: brian on September 10, 2007 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

"a very dumb thing to do"?

Bush Administration?

Perish the thought.

Posted by: Hart Williams on September 10, 2007 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

They're not repeating an accusation that Petraeus is cooking the books, in fact i'm not hearing them repeat the charge at all. What they're repeating is a mean-spirited, schoolyard-taunt level zinger...

Posted by: TW


This is exactly what I've been hearing on right wing radio. MOVE-ON called General Petraeus a Traitor!

Nothing about cooking the books.

.

Posted by: agave on September 10, 2007 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

According to researchers, there is evidence that anyone repeating an accusation, even to deny it, amplifies the original charge:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/03/AR2007090300933.html

I guess we'll find out.

Posted by: jrw on September 10, 2007 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

did anyone else notice rep. cooper (d., tn) using the rhetorical trope "who could have predicted anything like this in 2003?" during the 5:00 break on npr?

that soft popping sound you hear is my head exploding.

Posted by: freestone on September 10, 2007 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't it kind of Move On's *job* to be over the top? To say general Betray-Us so respectable Dems don't have to?

Posted by: Emma Anne on September 10, 2007 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

Accusations that Petraeus is "cooking the books" are tantamount to impugning his honesty and his integrity.

So? They're claiming a classified methodology for counting dead bodies, but lots of obvious non-classified ways of counting don't show improvement. And he works for Bush? I'd impugn his honesty and integrity in the blink of an eye. This guy is a general who is long past putting his life on the line; don't confuse him with the poor guys and gals who are actually out there in the sand worrying about IEDs and snipers.

Imagine yourself as an investor in a startup, where the guys running the company come and tell you that even though all the ordinary ways of accounting show nothing but disaster for the last six years, and the business plan has changed two or three times during that time, and no sign of immediate improvement, they have a SECRET method of accounting that shows that they will win big with just another five years (well, maybe ten, or a little more) of funding. As a hypothetical investor in that situation, what would you do?

Posted by: dr2chase on September 10, 2007 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

This all sounds great,If the American people are as dumb as you betray them,But you may be wrong,The American people don't pat attention untill they need to,We have a life not like these all day long poster's here or the pundits on TV.Trust us we pay attetion and the R's will pay for it in a big way.Game,Set, Americans.

Posted by: john john on September 10, 2007 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

...does anyone else think that Republicans are making a big mistake...

You can just stop right there as far as I'm concerned. Whatever it is they're doing, it's a mistake. A big one.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on September 10, 2007 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Is there a "light at the end of the tunnel" yet?

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on September 10, 2007 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

I don't give MoveOn money because I know they can be counted on to do something stupid, like that ad.

I stopped supporting MoveOn years ago when they used their mighty email list to take sides in an internal Sierra Club battle.

In general I have found that trust fund babies can rarely be trusted (pun intended) to do the right thing.

Posted by: Disputo on September 10, 2007 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

I'd impugn his honesty and integrity in the blink of an eye.

Posted by: dr2chase

That is my first tendency as well. My point is merely that this is exactly what Bush wants us as dems to do: impugn Petraeus's honesty and integrity. Bush wants this to be a political battle between dems -- i.e., traitors -- and Petraeus.

Like it or not, Americans trust Petraeus much more than Bush and much more than any democrat.

Consequently, you won't hear HRC impugning Petraeus's integrity.

Posted by: Econobuzz on September 10, 2007 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

Consequently, you won't hear HRC impugning Petraeus's integrity.

Yeah, and you'll also hear HRC gush over building a wall on our southern border.

Posted by: Disputo on September 10, 2007 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, Petraeus is cooking the books. The definition of what is sectarian violence has been changing and carefully excludes many forms of killing. Those of us who were in Vietnam saw this same baloney- false intelligence from the CIA to the Press and president, and bogus reports from senior officers who wanted their careers to go forward. Why is there such a difference between what retired and active duty military say about this war? Why don't people mention the constantly increasing number of refugees, who can�t be accommodated by neighboring countries and the fact that many Iraqis get only 1-2 hours of electricity a day? Militias have more influence on the distribution of electric power than the American military does.

I don't support Moveon simply because they squander money on big ads. What is needed is personal contact to remind people that all Americans and their children will pay big time for this criminal folly. Bin-Laden brags in his video that the US will spin and spend itself into economic disaster just like the Soviets did in Afghanistan. That is what we are doing, as was also predicted by Emmanuel Todd, who predicted in advance the fall of the Soviet Union. Bringing home a few thousand troops will accomplish nothing if contractors replace them and the air war is stepped up- the number of Iraqi deaths will go up, hatred of America will increase, as will our borrowing from China.

How many Congressional Democrats have a spine? Kerry and HRC only want to be sure that nobody thinks they are soft on communism, dogfighting or terror.

Posted by: Squidsquad on September 10, 2007 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

Ugh. Attacking a general in such a way crosses a line and Moveon.org shoud apologize.

Posted by: daniel rotter on September 10, 2007 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that Republicans are making a big mistake by spending all their TV time this morning complaining about accusations that Gen. Petraeus is cooking the books in his assessment of progress in Iraq?

I think it is a mistake to accuse Gen. Petraeus of cooking the books. His assessment of his limited mission, which was the surge, as a moderate success is probably what he believes and probably accurate. The mistake would be to equate the surge with the occupation as a whole, which is a dismal failure.

Posted by: Luther on September 10, 2007 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

Proof that repeating the accusation is a bad idea:

"The American people have a right to know that their president is not a crook. And I am not a
crook." -Richard Nixon

Or as George Lakoff says: "Don't think of an elephant" (what are you thinking about now...)

Posted by: Jim in Chicago on September 11, 2007 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

Sometimes I think the Democrats are the most ignorant people when it comes to making their case against this war. This ad was so stupid and over the top. Most Americans will give the benefit of the doubt to Petraeus even if they despise Bush. To accuse him of being a traitor? Jesus, do you people want to attract voters or completely turn them off?

Keep pushing this foolishness and the Republicans won't even have to campaign in 2008.

Posted by: Dee on September 11, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Most Americans will give the benefit of the doubt to Petraeus even if they despise Bush.

Actually, Dee, you're wrong.

Posted by: Gregory on September 11, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Well, hell, I stand corrected by an ABC news poll... Please, by all means, keep running ads calling a decorated soldier a traitor and see how far you get with the electorate.

Are you sure Rove didn't slip this into Moveon.org's email box? Looks awfully suspicious.


Posted by: Dee on September 11, 2007 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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