E.J. Dionne. Jr. notes that survival is the only item left on the Bush Administrations agenda this year. In passing, he notes that there used to be big ideas on the agenda:
Whats intriguing about the shift in the direction of Roves energies is that it marks a turn from the high politics of a partisan realignment driven by ideas and policies to the more mundane politics of eking out votes, seat by seat and state by state. Most of Roves grander dreams have died as the presidents poll numbers have come crashing down.
He concedes, in other words, that proposals like social security reform and the "ownership society" were serious and hence serious threats to Democratic political interests. What did the Democrats have to offer in response? Anything equally substantive and serious?
Roves new electoral focus is an urgent administration priority. And given the unfavorable political terrain for the president, Roves recipe this year, as in 2004, is likely to include a heavy dollop of attacks on the Democrats. Hold on for the new Swift Boaters, coming soon to your swing state. Its not the politics dreams are made of, but it often works.
It seems to me that high-minded debates on policy havent been part of the Democratic playbook this year or in the recent past. But of course, Dionne only calls our attention to what might happen when Republicans can be blamed.