caught on tape update
Fellow Indianapolis blogger Cooped Up deconstructs the "risks" Democrats are supposedly taking by pointing out to voters that Bush simply isn't trustworthy:
The administration's domestic policies have always depended on misdirection, saying one thing in public while pushing measures inconsistent with the public statements on the legislative and regulatory fronts. The media has largely permitted the administration to get away with this--and that's due in part, although not entirely, to the Democrats' inability to present a consistent, sustained opposition to the administration's dishonesty. It's long past time to fight back.
...[T]he article states, "[f]ocus groups conducted by various Democrats have shown that the American people trust Bush." But if that's so, it's because the participants in those focus groups haven't been paying attention. Especially on economic matters, George W. Bush has based his policy proposals on lies and deceptions at least since the 2000 campaign, when he attacked Al Gore's "fuzzy math" as a way of distracting attention from the mathematical deficiencies of his own proposals. The dishonesty has only become more blatant with time, as the administration trumpets the endorsement of respected economists who have taken no position on the president's tax proposals. The whole point of the Democrats' nascent campaign is to emphasize that trust in the president is unwarranted.
Second, the article asserts, "[s]enior Democrats also risk alienating Bush, whom several Republicans described as peeved that Daschle and others are questioning his honesty." Well, if Bush is peeved, that puts him more or less on equal footing with congressional Democrats, many of whom--even those who had supported the tax cuts and the use of force against Iraq--found themselves targeted by the president in last fall's elections. If playing ball with the administration doesn't yield benefits--and clearly it hasn't for Democrats on the Hill--they might as well take him on. The president has certainly given the Democrats enough to work with.