Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Ambush Politics

In the past I've written about ambush reporting -- an aggressive and underhanded tactic of confronting a person who does not wish to speak to the media. But now here's a closely related tactic. I guess you can call it "ambush politics." Who said Republicans don't have ideas?
[Rep. Virginia] Foxx is part of a team of Republican members that House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has put together to create embarrassing, YouTube-worthy moments for vulnerable Democratic freshmen.

Cantor’s floor staff has created a photo album to help identify the 42 most vulnerable Democrats. The aides send daily e-mails to the members of the attack team and alert lawmakers when these targeted members are speaking on the floor. They even draft quick scripts to help focus the questioning.
Last night, Keith Olbermann discussed this bullying technique and the not-so-YouTube-worthy clips (if video doesn't show, click here):

The funniest aspect in all of these theatrics is that the Republicans need a script written for them -- and the script is bloody awful. Is that writers' strike still going on? Do these representatives need to be reminded what happens when the ambusher knows nothing beyond his script?

But let's figure out why Republicans are engaging in these tactics. Obstructionism is one obvious goal. The other goal I see is to amass an arsenal of Democratic gaffes to be played back in the next election cycle. But it will only work if Democrats say something outrageous like former Senator George Allen's "macaca moment." Or, I suppose, it might have some impact if they take something totally out of context like last year's lipstick on a pig sideshow.

Either way, these party politics are sure to backfire because Eric Cantor and his Republican pals are absolutely clueless about this nation's sense of urgency.

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