WASHINGTON, June 15
Riddle us this, Note readers and Batman fans:
Which party's fall message is already clear and which party's is not?
For the Democrats, there is: the Biden view on Iraq; the Murtha view on Iraq; the Kerry views on Iraq; the Senate caucus's ever-dynamic debate about what the party should stand for; the mass conspiracy of silence over taxes and health care, taxes and the rich, and taxes and taxes; Together, We Can Do Better; Together, America Can Do Better; Better, America Can Be, Together; opportunity, responsibility, and community; community; the modern communication skills of Leaders Reid and Pelosi, and their control over their own public images; Six in '06; New Direction for America; Rahm's view on Iraq; the Pelosi-Hoyer friendship; Murtha's abortive leadership bid; Howard Dean's discipline; and the bloggers. (For a super smart take on all this, see Noonan, Peggy -- on Jim Webb as "Nancy Pelosi with medals.") LINK
For the Republicans, there is what the Strategist-in-Chief laid out in the Rose Garden yesterday (for those Democrats and reporters too lazy to track down a transcript of Monday's Granite State Karl Rove fan dance):
"I believe we're going to hold the House and the Senate, because our philosophy is one that is forward-looking and optimistic and has worked. We've got a record to run on.
"There's an interesting debate in the Democrat Party about how quick to pull out of Iraq. Pulling out of Iraq before we accomplish the mission will make the world a more dangerous place. It's bad policy. I know it may sound good politically; it will endanger our country to pull out of Iraq before we accomplish the mission.
"See, Iraq is a part of the global war on terror. It's not 'the' global war on terror, it's a theater in the global war on terror. And if we fail in Iraq, it's going to embolden al Qaeda types. It will weaken the resolve of moderate nations to stand up to the Islamic fascists. It will cause people to lose their nerve and not stay strong.
"And so I look forward to taking the debate -- that's not quite right -- kind of getting warmed up as a result of your question -- the timing is not right for me to get out there yet. But I think the Democrat economic policy of raising people's taxes isn't going to work either. I know they'll couch it in all kinds of language, but really what they're saying is we're going to raise your taxes."
For those of you too thick to figure out the answer to our question, may we suggest tuning into Sean Hannity's radio show today, when you can expect the Vice President of the United States to spell things out in his own unique style.
Also: It isn't too early to tip you off to the Notion that November might see one party with a huge advantage on the strength of their ground game of turnout in key races and on the last-minute spending of tens of millions of dollars by "independent" groups (TV, radio, robo calls, direct mail, church parking lots) on targeted message delivery.
All of this is our way of setting up today's debate in the House in Iraq.
Eager to capitalize on the formation of an Iraq government and the recent killing of Abu Musab al Zarqwi, the House of Representatives debates a resolution this morning declaring "that it is not in the national security interest of the United States to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq."