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NPR poll not 'preposterous,' the Dems' failure to win arguments is

My Thursday column seems to have incited other commentary. Over at Red State, Dan Perrin writes that I am “dismissing the NPR poll as preposterous.” He is referring to the survey I cited at length showing Democrats in big trouble in swing districts. That is not what I said at all, as most readers know. What I argued -- as the very quotation of mine that Perrin used showed -- was that “the administration and congressional Democrats have lost every major public argument that they should be winning.” I used the NPR Poll as a piece of reliable evidence to call attention to the problems Democrats face.

Perrin makes another point: that Democrats should abandon a defense of the health-care bill. He argues that I “picked the head in the sand option” and “continued to encourage Dems to embrace and defend ObamaCare.” In fact, the head-in-sand option is to pass an important piece of health-care legislation that gentlemen such as Perrin are attacking regularly and then leave it undefended. Politicians can stand for nothing, or they can stand for something. Something beats nothing every time. But I don’t blame Perrin and other conservatives for encouraging moderates and liberals to stand for nothing. They know perfectly well that’s a recipe for conservative victories.

By E.J. Dionne  | June 19, 2010; 8:00 PM ET
Categories:  Dionne  | Tags:  E.J. Dionne  
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“the administration and congressional Democrats have lost every major public argument that they should be winning.”


The middle 60% of us are not buying what the Dems are selling. The argument is being lost on substance, while Dems focus on form. Writing off failures as a matter of poor communications is not a credible strategy for the master communicator who earned the presidency with his mouth.

Posted by: mark31 | June 19, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

RedState? You're responding to Angry Jerks Online?

Posted by: hellslittlestangel1 | June 20, 2010 4:35 AM | Report abuse

I agree that you should respond to those who I have come to consider traitors to America and democracy. BUT, I also believe that you need to identify that a Dan Perrin is essentially an enemy of the people who has sold his soul for the greed of the ultra wealthy in their quest for wealth as an end in itself and for the so-called Republicans/conservatives who are paid by the wealthy and corporate America who have no belief in democracy or a capitalist society as they seek to control all that makes a free man free. They wish to enslave people with ideology and false morality. It is sad that so few who have a public forum and command an audience do not speak directly to what is happening to America. Addressing the Perrins of society as if he had a valid point is naive and wasting an opportunity.

Posted by: DaBrugg | June 20, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

DaBrugg, do you smoke dope before writing?
"Republicans/conservatives who are paid by the wealthy and corporate America who have no belief in democracy or a capitalist society as they seek to control all that makes a free man free. They wish to enslave people with ideology and false morality."
Have you actually looked up who donated what to whom or are you just drinking the MSM koolaid so you can repeat it here. I don't know what is worse, your illiteracy or your shrill for Odumbo. Please go back to your Mom's basement and turn off the light.

Posted by: elcigaro1 | June 20, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to the commenters. I responded to Red State because I thought they had distorted the point of the column. I often let criticism go by, but in this case, I thought it important to make clear that what Red State's writer claimed I had written was not what I had written at all. This is a factual issue. The truth is that far from thinking the NPR poll was "preposterous," I quoted it at length precisely because I thought its findings were revealing. I've asked Red State to share my comment with its readers.

Posted by: EJ_Dionne | June 20, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

"Debrugg: "you need to identify that a Dan Perrin is essentially an enemy of the people."

Dang, haven't seen a piece of totalitarian crapoloa like that since Stalin purged the Bolshevik veterans in 1936, 37, 39. So get it on , boy, open up the red goolag and Lyubiana West in America... Come on RED.. get it on!! And make that statement the centerpiece of the 2010 election. Come it!

Posted by: wjc1va | June 21, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

"I've asked Red State to share my comment with its readers."

And did they?

Posted by: raycrossley | June 21, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Well, EJ - I don't think Red State has a staff member capable of responding or clarifying their comments. I went there to see if they had included your comments... but I didn't get past the graphic they've got posted on their opening page. They have pictured the spill as a black caraciture of President Obama. Where is the cartoonist or the photo shopper that does not understand the leaking oil in the gulf is a national tragedy that will rob Americans of their livelihood for generations, and destroy much of what was beautiful pristine beaches that attracted billions of tourist dollars to our country, and healthy habitat for thousands of creatures. Where do they find people so dumb, so happy about a national tragedy, so lacking in American spirit and patriotism they can make fun of such devastation?

Is there any place that republicans speak, meet, discuss, or actually deal with real problems? Do they politicize everything and never discuss what an American response ought to be, or is it only and always what is a republican response most likely to disparage the President. Where would right of center folks go to find serious discussion of things with which Congress and the President must grapple?
Is there any evidence any where that republicans are caring, decent, informed, Americans?

Posted by: dutchess2 | June 21, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

By my watch, that last great question was posed three and one half hours ago and has gone unanswered, which is a shame. I for one would like to hear what sincere, serious Republicans have to offer. They sure are not esay to find these days.

Posted by: hill21 | June 21, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I had high hopes for the administration but found myself taking issue with it as soon as it became apparent that they were not transcendent but highly partisan and perhaps even zealots in thier approach and appointments. The most glaring and incomprehensible examples are gifting GM to the Unions and signing a Health care reform law which did not eliminate torts.
These appear to be payoffs respectivly to Union supporters and the Lawyer lobby for backing of the Democratic party. The strategy of selling the Health Care Law sans tort reform was further flawed by the need to hide the cost which deferred benifits. He is similar to former President Carter who also was supposed to be a transcendent President but got caught in his own bow wave. But he is more like former President Grant whose leadership was sought with great and victorious enthusiasm but who was ultimately
perceived as not really up to the job.

Posted by: almorganiv | June 21, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Perrin responds on RedState:

Posted by: Song23 | June 22, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you, E.J., the Dems do lose the debates. It's because they allow the Repubs to define the terms. Then, they need to respond. Trying to get enthusiasm for a negative is difficult. Think of the difference between "pro-life" (which, of course, is not truly the case unless "life" is defined as a breathing baby and only that) and pro-abortion (which is not the case, either, but is instead what the "pro-lifers" call anyone who disagrees with them). It makes one try to defend term with negative connotations (again, given by pro-lifers.) Which sounds better to the untrained ear?

Posted by: samueline | June 23, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

There are two things the Republicans are masters of: (1) defining terms, which always put the Dems on the defensive, and (2) the big lie, which they repeat ad nauseum until people begin to believe it's true. Thus they win the verbal battles, even when they are absolutely dead wrong or lying through their teeth.

Posted by: samueline | June 23, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

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