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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Operation Demoralize Is Working

On January 5, 2011, three days before the Tucson shooting, I warned that the mainstream media would mount Operation Demoralize:
The mainstream media will undertake, and already has undertaken, a concerted effort to blame the Republican House for everything that goes wrong, for not living up to promises, for living up to promises, for failing to compromise, for selling out, etc.
Do not fall for it.

Holding the Republican House to its commitments is one thing; falling for Operation Demoralize is something else.

If you think that the mainstream media is not still 100% in the tank for Obama, think again.

Keep your eye on 2012. They are.
I could not have anticipated that the event which would kick off Operation Demoralize would be a mass murder and attempted assassination of a Democratic Congresswoman by a mentally deranged gunman who had no obvious interest in the real world of politics but who clearly was not a Republican in name or otherwise. 

I also could not have anticipated that one of the leading Republican potential presidential candidates, Sarah Palin, would be falsely accused of inspiring the shooting, and that the mainstream media would run with that narrative to the point that almost a third of Americans believed it.

But as we all have witnessed the past 10 days, there has been an all out mainstream media assault on Tea Parties, conservative talk show hosts, and most of all, Sarah Palin.

Is it any surprise that Palin's negatives have reached new highs?

Yet some people who say they actually like and support Palin on the merits already are succumbing to Operation Demoralize even though the primaries are more than a year off and the Presidential election is almost two years away.

John Hinderaker at Powerline writes, Palin for President, Forget It (h/t Fuzzy):
The time has come to put any thoughts of Sarah Palin running for President to rest. I say that not because I dislike her; on the contrary, I'm a fan. I think she did an excellent job as a vice-presidential candidate in 2008 and has been an effective spokeswoman for conservative causes in the years since. But there is no way she is ever going to be elected President, and the sooner Republicans get over that idea, the better.

[citing a recent CNN Poll]

No one with a 59 percent unfavorability rating among independents has the chance of a snowball in Hell of being elected President. 2012 will be a vitally important election year; it is no time for a kamikaze Presidential campaign or for a cult of personality. Republicans (and conservatives) need a candidate who has a chance to win against an incumbent who, despite everything, is not particularly unpopular and who won't be able to do much visible damage between now and then.

One hopes that Governor Palin will see the writing on the wall and devote her energies to helping the conservative movement and other, better-positioned candidates rather than to pursuing a Presidential ambition that can only prove destructive.
Why is such an announcement necessary now, at the very moment that the conservative movement is trying to fight back against the mainstream media campaign related to the Tucson shooting?

You can throw Palin under the bus if you want, but what will you do when the next candidate faces blistering false accusations which drive negatives high after a mainstream media feeding frenzy?

Why not let the political and primary process work itself out.  We do not even know if Palin is running, or if she will garner enough Republican support to win.

There is an insatiable mainstream media hunger to demonize and marginalize potential Republican nominees. Feeding that beast in the wake of the Tucson shooting is not the way to win in 2012.

Update:  Scott Johnson at Powerline disagrees with Hinderaker, pointing out that the polling at this moment in time likely reflects the post-Tucson beating Palin has taken in the media, and also makes a point that I have made, which is that every other Republican candidate will be attacked by the media in turn:
The rest of the pack of likely Republican candidates for the presidency has problems too. Mitt Romney? He's got Romneycare hanging like an albatross around his neck. Haley Barbour? Let's just say he doesn't match up well with Obama. Newt Gingrich? I'm unaware of any base of support on which he might draw.

Mitch Daniels? If exhaustion with Obama has set in and created a market for a boring candidate, Daniels might be the ticket. Tim Pawlenty? I doubt he would even carry Minnesota and, after his eight years in office as governor, he has left some of us wondering what it is he really believes in. John Thune? The Senate is a notoriously difficult place from which to run a presidential campaign. Mike Huckabee? He's found his niche at Fox News. 
And yet, depending on circumstances, just about any one of them might also be able to compete against Obama. Or so it seems to me.
Update 1-20-2011 - Hinderaker has responded to a reader letter, and I respond too, John Hinderaker's Weak Defense Of His Palin Political Premortem

Related Posts:
We Just Witnessed The Media's Test Run To Re-Elect Barack Obama
The Dilemma of Someone Libeled - Palin Edition
Will The Media Investigate Why Eric Fuller Targeted Trent Humphries?

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  1. They trash every Repub candidate.
    They already started palinizing (or should I say borking) Bachmann.
    Woe be unto any conservative person of color who should run, or any conservative person of no color who should run or any conservative person of great conviction who should run....wait.
    Do we see a pattern here?
    But Powerline guys are kinda wishy washy on this kind of thing anyway. They are white collar, wingtip shoe guys, I think.

  2. Amen.

    I am so tired of so-called Republicans willingly allowing themselves to be led around by the nose by the MSM and whatever "narrative" they have cooked up today. We need to stop playing their game. Our basic principles win on their merits when held up against the left's expediency driven "principles". A candidate who can put forth those principles to the American people with courage and conviction WILL win. Wishy-washy, poll driven, expediency based, ever changing, foundation on sand "principles" are the left's stock in trade. They keep trying to get us to play their game because they are past masters of it.

    Don't play.

    That's it. It IS that simple. Don't play. When the left and their media sycophants start yammering louder and louder "Unelectable"!' Divisive!" "WAH! Civility!" "Polls!" "Negativity!" and on and on and on, we have to lay our cards on the table, look them straight in the eye and say "Fuck you. Here's what I got, let's see yours, asshole". The greater their bombast and hysteria, the harder we stare them down. When they blink, and they will, because they have no principles beyond a lust for power, we win.

    Palin does that brilliantly. Cain might, I'm not sure yet, but I'm inclined to think so. Anyone else? I dunno yet. Mittens and Huck? No. Newt? Who know? Which Newt will we get? I don't trust him to. Christie? Yes. Daniels, Pawlenty, Pence, etc.. As I said, I dunno, but if our candidate in '12 doesn't have that, we're in trouble. If he or she does, we're in great shape, no matter what the pundits tell you now.

  3. I seem to recall Powerline has done this sort of thing before. In any event I have written about the White Toga crowd in the conservative/Republican crowd:Start knifing a colleague and they run for the hills for fear that any dirt/blood might find its way on their spotless garb. They only make themselves one by one easier targets for wolves.

  4. Powerline, National Review and Hot Air are all notorious for jumping in the tank with the Democrats when the going gets tough.

  5. We're not throwing Palin under the bus. By the time the election comes around, she will be the most vetted candidate in history (Obama the least), and everything they have thrown at her has failed to knock her down.

    She is a force to be reckoned with - her goodness is what they hate. And time will tell.

  6. After reading the CNN poll again (for the third time) one thing is missing: the political bent of those polled. Usually a poll will ask "Do you consider yourself a) Democrat b) Republican c) independent?

    That question was not asked so there is no way of knowing the political affiliation of the slightly more than 1,000 people polled.

    I think this ommission was on purpose. If the poll is heavily weighted (say, 40% D - 27% R - 33% I) then the results will simply represent the views of those polled.

    Powerline, instead of questioning the validity of the poll, or the methods used for the poll, simply threw up their hands and said "OK, we concede."

    Perhaps someone should point out to Powerline that anyone who concedes so quickly wasn't strong in their convictions to begin with.

    Sarah Palin, to paraphrase Ed Koch, scares the hell out of most political pundits, on both sides. She is not a minority, not from a wealthy family, didn't go to a tony university, didn't abort a baby that was less that "perfect", IOW, she is US. And that scares the hell out of those who have come to think that elected officials are a separate class unto themselves; the elites.

  7. I used to be a big fan of Powerline but gave up on them last year. They have an excellent blog and do some really exceptional posting but their politics is nothing more than northeast establishment, ivy league, country club Republican RINOism.

    They have made no secret that they will be the online point men for Tim Pawlenty. That is what Hinderaker's "attack by faint praise" posting is about. No different from all of the unsolicited advice Sarah has been getting from Newt Gingrich and David Frum.

    The GOP establishment fears Palin even more than the Dems because it is THEIR franchise that is at risk. If this assault by politeness proves to be ineffective, expect these same RINOs to be joined by many more and resorting to the very same shrill PDS nonsense as from the most strident left-wingers. They will be indifferentiable and we will then have our proof that there is only one party.

    We need a second party.

  8. My recent Tweet links to another view of the Left's obsession:

    Why the Left Hates Sarah Palin
    http://bit.ly/gLGEj0 || It has something to do with Light and Darkness. Well, #blamepalin

  9. But don't you know that we're supposed to act differently when another Republican candidate is libeled? It's only Sarah Palin, our strongest candidate, that we don't defend.

    Given Palin's statements on Hannity this week, I think she will run. And like Harry Truman, she will turn the polls on their head because she has fire in the belly too.

    She will win the Republican nomination in a walk. According to the latest Gallup poll she has the highest approval rating of any Republican among Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents--73%. That combined with all her other positives show that regular analysis is only dealing with the tip of the iceberg on Palin's strengths. Example: She's the first, and so far only, 21st century politician to have mastered internet and social networking media to such a degree that under her hand they drive mainstream media discussion topics.

    It also means that all of these negative conservative pundits are in the extreme minority, the 27%. They're leading, but hardly anyone is following. Actually fewer and fewer with each passing day.

  10. This is why The Big Lie works and how the Left sustains itself. Because of pathetic, pitiful, puling pissmires like Hinderaker.

  11. Remember this?
    An actor in the White House? Absurd!
    And this on a placard at a rally:
    Why not an actor? We already have a clown in the White House!

  12. Folks, there are millions more like me that got complacent, quit paying attention to politics and didn't vote in 2008. If Palin is so "unelectable" why does the left go to such great pains to tell us? the "Big Lie" theory is spot on. I can assuredly say that I'm glad I have awakened and I am ready to vote for America in 2012. Can we do it? YES WE CAN! This past november was nothing compared to what will happen November 2012...just be prepared for the civil unrest following the landslide.

  13. The Powerline boys are Elite Wimps.

  14. The Powerline guys are Romney guys. Always have been.

  15. "Why not let the political and primary process work itself out. We do not even know if Palin is running, or if she will garner enough Republican support to win.

    There is an insatiable mainstream media hunger to demonize and marginalize potential Republican nominees. Feeding that beast in the wake of the Tucson shooting is not the way to win in 2012."


    "We need a second party."

    Likely but today not certain.

    " ..their politics is nothing more than northeast establishment, ivy league, country club Republican RINOism."

    At least one of them is a paid D.C. RINO operative. Looking at job security.

    "... just be prepared for the civil unrest following the landslide."

    Civil unrest is being incited to prevent that landslide.

  16. @David R. Graham re:

    "We need a second party."

    Likely but today not certain.

    David, it's NEVER time. That's how we end up with RINOs in control. Now IS the time. It's not the right time for Trump to be running either... if you are an establishment Democrat. Why does that argument always have so much traction on the right? The left ignores it every time.

    It would be a shame if the Dems beat the right in fielding a viable 3rd party candidate who wins. Trump might just be that guy.

  17. I'd like to echo the comments of others. I respect the Powerline guys for many things, but their comments about Ms Palin have been at best back-handed compliments and at worst, mean-spirited (Dan Riehl has documented many, most, perhaps all of these comments).

    Prof Jacobson is correct and before Operation Demoralize even started, some on the right were sniping at those who are on the same side as they. Kind of makes you wonder...

  18. Professor, I tried to post this on my fb wall and fb would not let me, alerting me with this message:
    "This message contains blocked content that has previously been flagged as abusive or spammy. Let us know if you think this is an error".
    I hope that this was only an error.

  19. You assume that Conservative voters pay attention to Hinderaker.

    Don't assume.

  20. Hindraker is well named for such a mealy-mouthed quisling.

  21. I tried to post Operation Demoralize on my fb wall and received this alert:

    "This message contains blocked content that has previously been flagged as abusive or spammy. Let us know if you think this is an error."

    I hope this was an error!

  22. Bork deserved Borking. He called the 10th Amendment an "ink blot".

  23. I don't think Hinderacker was trying to demoralize anyone, I think he was just giving his honest opinion.

    I like Palin, but I don't think she can win. That does not mean I am demoralized.

    For instance, I thought Palin was badly treated by the media and I thought her video following the Tucson killings was good...but apparently not everyone felt that way. For instance, I heard Dick Morris talking about this and he said she should not have complained about how she was treated when people were dead and wounded. I honestly had not thought about it that way. But I think that is how a lot of people saw her. So to the right, she is defending herself....to a lot of other people she is just complaining and feeling sorry for herself. I don't know how she can get around that sentiment. I really don't.

  24. "Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is—and is often the only—protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.."

    Right. He deserved that.

  25. You know, I'm not big on Powerline myself, but I'm sorry... Some of the responses here illustrate exactly why it's so hard to have a rational debate anymore about virtually anything.

    Hinderaker wrote this about Sarah Palin:

    ... I'm a fan. I think she did an excellent job as a vice-presidential candidate in 2008 and has been an effective spokeswoman for conservative causes in the years since.

    For that, Hinderaker gets labeled here as "pathetic," "white toga," "elite wimp," "RINO." Despite proclaiming his appreciation for Sarah Palin, he's criticized for not being a real conservative.

    I'm just curious: If Hinderaker's effort doesn't do the trick -- if someone's own words don't get the benefit of a face-value reading -- then how would you propose such an argument be made? If someone really does like Sarah Palin, but doesn't think she can win an election, is there any way this can be expressed to meet your approval?

    In precisely what form should it be stated to keep you from twisting the speaker's motivations and intent? Because I really don't know how much clearer it can get:

    -- I like Sarah Palin.
    -- I like Republicans to win elections.
    -- My assessment of the evidence leads me to think Sarah Palin could not win this election.
    -- Thus I hope she does not run.

    If this formulation is not sufficient for expressing such a thought, then what is?

  26. Also, it was the 9th amendment he called an ink blot. Good job.

    "Robert Bork, often considered an originalist, has likened the Ninth Amendment to an inkblot. Bork argued in The Tempting of America that, while the amendment clearly had some meaning, its meaning is indeterminate; because the language is opaque, its meaning is as irretrievable as it would be had the words been covered by an inkblot. According to Bork, if another provision of the Constitution were covered by an actual inkblot, judges should not be permitted to make up what might be under the inkblot lest any judges twist the meaning to their own ends "

    So clearly he deserved the slander.

  27. In online games such as Final Fantasy, there's the concept of a "tank" - a player who has tremendous ability to absorb damage and regenerate quickly. A team uses a tank to keep the monster's attention while other players do the real damage needed to take the monster down.

    For today's right fighting the politco-media left monster, Sarah Palin is the best tank they've got. As long as she's playing fair, she needs help and encouragement. Shunning her is short sighted and counter-productive.

    I don't think she'll ever be president either, but I love what she does to the left. Besides, that horse might sing someday; after one look at his user-car-salesman demeanor, I never thought Bill Clinton would be elected either.

  28. @ Lee Bollow.....
    I just linked this article to my FB page, must have been a glitch, although I would not be suprised if some crafty web-mayhem types haven't been inserting malicious scripts into comments here to cause the whole link to be flagged as spam. This is a nasty crowd we are dealing with(trolls, not the fans of LI)and they know how to do some hacking, much like the phone phreaks of the 1960s.

  29. Any candidate the media approves of should be rejected for that reason alone, since it is obvious they are considered squishy.

  30. Jeff,

    If he couldn't understand that the rights of government were limited and the rights of citizens were not then he deserved what he got.

    I'm sorry. Bork was a great Conservative. I'm no Conservative. I'm a libertarian Republican. BTW Bork liked the drug laws too. I just had a very Conservative lawyer (whose name you would certainly recognize) who loves the drug war (mostly) tell me that it is probably unconstitutional (Federally). There are a LOT of things Conservatives like for which there is NO Constitutional (Federal) authority. That is what the IXth and Xth are all about.

    Conservative (mostly) are just as squishy about the Constitution as liberals when it comes to their pet projects. Pity.

    Maybe the TEA Parties will correct some of that. Maybe not. Either way it will not change my views.

  31. And who do I think is probably the most outstanding Supreme in the last 100 years (at least)? Clarence Thomas.

  32. @ pasadenaphil

    "It would be a shame if the Dems beat the right in fielding a viable 3rd party candidate who wins. Trump might just be that guy."

    OK, point taken. Or as I think you would see it, Dems would field a viable *2nd* party candidate. I see it that way. However, if they do, it could be a farther left candidate than even blood poison, if that were possible, or at least one with a more Pacific Coast set of loyalties/connections.

    LCN is the imponderable there, which way they end up calling it.

    Your earlier point that a new party with a new candidate would be a *2nd* party I see as spot on because R and D currently are "ruling class" together, essentially one and the same party (cf. touchy-feely seating for State of the Union Message).

    Let's see how the various Tea Party organizations around the country work this one out. My sense is they're not ready to make a second party yet (second to the D-R Party), but the situation is fluid, dynamic and fraught with imponderables awaiting clarity via developments.

    Nor is my sense of the situation thorough or infallible. I take your basic thesis and grasp the reason for it.

  33. I love Sarah Palin. I can't wait to vote for her for President of the United States.

    I am smart enough to think for myself. I would never believe the lame stream media. Good grief. What thinking person would?

    "Sarah Palin...They know she's inevitable. They knew it the first time they saw her. It's why they go insane every time they think of her."

    I believe that.

    Sarah Palin is fabulous. It's the big government elitists, from both parties that are scared to death of this good women. She is on the side of the people.

  34. Sarah Palin is on record supporting Cap and Trade. Watch at 5:07:


    She supported Carly Fiorina over Chuck De Vore in the California primary. She supported Tarp. She is a RINO.

    We are going to have to accept that there is no dealing with the liberals; they will continue to spew out ugly hateful rhetoric. That does not mean, however, that you suspend all critical analysis just because a Republican is attacked. Is Sarah Palin better than any Democrat? Yes. But that kind of thinking, settling for being better than Democrats, is why we are in trouble. This Country's problems go back quite a few years. It was Herbert Hoover who raised taxes in 1932. It was Eisenhower who refused to roll back any of the New Deal or Fair Deal. It was Richard Nixon who gave us the EPA; Bush 41 who said "Read My Lips" and Bush 43 who gave us TARP. By comparing Republicans only to Democrats, rather than grading them on their dedication to restore Constitutional Government, we the Conservative voter are the main culprits in why the current regime is in place. Obama did not happen overnight we had to build up to it.

    Now if Sarah Palin addresses why she did the things mentioned above; says she was wrong and lays out a clear vision with specific policies for limited Government, such as shutting down the Department of Education, The Fair Tax etc. then Conservatives should consider voting for her. If not, then we become a "Cult of Personality" crowd, as emotional and foolish as our opponents.

    One thing we need is a solid interview of her in which she clearly addresses policy issues instead of the media trying to make her look foolish (Gibson and Couric) or gushing (Hannity).


  35. I must add one more thing. BUCK UP people. This isn't the time to be weak and faint.

    It's just the future of the country.

    Don't let the media frame our choices.

    Sarah Palin all the way, baby!

  36. Hinderaker has a motive for writing off Palin.


  37. I have a crystal ball on desk, just like the Powerline guys. Unlike theirs, mine doesn’t work. It seems a lot of he really, really … REALLY … smart people are in the same boat. Because they all wrote Palin off after she resigned as governor of Alaska. That was supposed to end her political career. She’s dead. No one has heard of her since … oh wait!

    I asked this question at The Virginian, and am getting some response. I have not heard from Powerline yet.

    Palin not "Presidential material?"

  38. @htales - the question and answer in the video you link was very specific to capping coal emissions through the use of clean coal technology, and was not a general cap-and-trade statement. In fact, when Biden, in answering the same question posed to Palin, tried to stray, Gwen Ifil repeatedly said to him "clean coal" until he answered the question directly. That was an issue in the debate because Biden had once said there was "no such thing as clean coal." So your statement about Palin's position on cap-and-trade is not supported by your link.

  39. To those who whine about not being able to have a "reasonable" debate to say "I like Palin but I want to win elections and she can't win," your "let's be rational" argument falls flat when you quote fellow practicioners of that line - who have ulterior motives of self-interest for saying Palin is unelectable.

    Powerline is in favor of Pawlenty or Daniels, e.g., safe, Party guys.

    Dick Morris was a Clinton guy. He got midterms very wrong. He is hot and cold with Palin. The bottom line with him is she hasn't hired him to run her campaign - so he's fishing around to get hired by other potential candidates. Shilling that she's unelectable is bound to get him in with them.

  40. No one knows anything about 2012 yet. At this time in the cycle leading up to the 2008 election Giuliani and Clinton were the polling leaders from the two parties. McCain and Obama were well back.

    For the sake of Sarah Palin and her family I hope she does not run. For our nation's sake I want her to run and win. Can she win? Who knows? There are 300 million people in this country and every four years we only get to pick one out of two choices so chances aren't very good for any of us to be elected to that office.

    What I don't like is for the media (or Powerline) to determine who the nominees will be for us. Crap like deciding that conservatives are unelectable is what got us McCain as the nominee in 2008. How'd that work out again? The primary process is broken, but I'd still prefer that system to letting the liberal media pick our candidate.