In his recent, parting comments as head of the Republican National Committee, Ken Mehlman, one of the key brand managers of the Bush presidency, said that the party is cooked in '08 unless it identifies itself with the nation's domestic concerns (most of which are traditional Democratic issues). What he means is that the party has to find a branding alternative to the war. Likely, too, what he means, more personally—this is also what Frank Luntz means—is that it's important for him as a Republican marketer to get as far as possible from having been involved in selling the war. That's going to be the lasting crime: who sold us this mess?NYT today:
The Bush administration, in a major escalation of trade pressure on China, said Friday that it would reverse more than 20 years of American policy and impose potentially steep tariffs on Chinese manufactured goods on the ground that China is illegally subsidizing some of its exports...I don't know how this news is going to play with the free trade crowd (although if they were consistent, they would go ape-shit). I also don't know if the two things -- Ethel Mehlman's warning and the sudden interest in the trade deficit -- are related. I did want to say that I hope Democrats do two things: first, do not stop hanging the war around the necks of the Republicans, and second, do not allow Republicans to own deficit reduction (or any of your issues), when they created the deficit.
...The step also reflected the shift in trade politics since Democrats took control of Congress. The widening American trade deficit with China, which reached a record $232.5 billion last year, or about a third of the entire trade gap, has been seized upon by Democrats as a symbol of past policy failures that have led to the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs.
You know that Republicans have the balls to brag that they cleaned up the house they trashed. Don't let them do it. You own this issue. Make sure Americans remember that.