Bush Hits New Low

George Bush has hit yet a new low. The latest CBS News Poll has his approval down to 28%. In the same poll, Americans oppose the planned surge in Iraq by 66% to 29%.

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Republican Newspeak

Frank Luntz, writing at Huffington Post, offers some advice to Democrats:

I am not in the habit of offering partisan linguistic advice to Democrats. But in the genuine spirit of bipartisanship – seriously – I thought this is the perfect time to convey a simple point to the still-euphoric faces of Democrat activists …

Don’t twist the knife.

Let’s briefly sketch the political landscape in America today.

Republicans are still reeling quite deservedly from the political thumping they took in the November election.The polls, pretty bad then, have gotten even worse. One-by-one, key Republicans on the Hill are parting ways with the President over the ‘surge’ and his ‘new strategy’ in Iraq. And to top it all off, a Washington Post-ABC News poll taken immediately after the President’s speech showed that a mere 40% of Americans believe the war is worth fighting, up just four points from before the speech.

An emerging new majority has spoken, and it is not happy with the old politics.

The Republicans are a party in peril, but all is not milk and cookies in Democrat land. The Democrats – flush with majority status – have a crucial choice right now. They can use their newly-won mandate to settle some old scores…or they can get responsibly and move ahead. They would be wise to opt for the latter.

Democracy is at its best when its practioners use language to unite and explain rather than divide and attack. The blogs from the Left and the Right be damned, the real center of America is upset but not bitter, anxious but not fearful, restless but not unforgiving.

For two years the Republican Party was adrift in meaningless messaging to support meaningless reform – and have communicated absolutely nothing for the past three months. By comparison, the Democrat majority that took Congress in November was remarkably disciplined and effective in promoting change, reform, and accountability in the weeks following their historic election.

But alas, power does strange things to Democrats: put a gavel in their hands and a camera in their face and they revert to the name-calling that kept them from the majority for a dozen long years. Sure, it’s easy to land rhetorical jabs on a staggering opponent – but that doesn’t make it effective. The message from the electorate in November was ‘work together and compromise.’ You need only look at the incumbent governor of California who won a lopsided landslide in an otherwise Democratic sweep. Cooperation works. Compromise wins. But over-heated rhetoric says to the world that you are no different – and no better – than what you replaced.

Using language to unite sounds like good advice, but is this the advice he gave to Republicans? While some partisan dispute is expected, and even healthy, it is the Republicans who took this to outrageous extremes, attempting one-party rule by labeling any disageement as unpatriotic and claimed their opponents were helping the terrorists.

Luntz was a master of using language to deceive while unfairly attacking the opponents. It comes as no surprise that he would only advise the opposite when his party is on the receiving end. Democrats should concentrate on language to unite and move ahead, but part of this must include educating the country so that we do not return to the dark days of one-party Republican rule

Hillary By Any Other Name

As if there isn’t enough nonsense to worry about, now Tapped is urging liberal bloggers to refer to Senator Hillary Clinton as Senator Clinton as opposed to Hillary. I’ve referred to her by both her first and last name in various posts, and actually am tending more towards using just Hillary recently. This should not be taken as a sign of disrespect, regardless of how I feel about her as nominee. If she gave the slightest indication that she found being referred to by her first name as overly familiar or in any way inappropriate I would try to change, but her campaign is doing the opposite. Her web site promotes Hillary for President and Team Hillary.

There’s a simple reason for the common use of her first name. In casual conversation, and often in blogging, people are called by a single name. I frequently refer to Senators by just their last name. Everyone knows who I mean when I say Kerry, Reid, Lieberman, or Obama. However if you hear “Clinton,” a guy named Bill comes to mind first. Having been President sort of gives you such prominence. Fortunately Hillary is not too common a name. I have little fear that when I write Hillary anyone will misunderstand, thinking I’m writing about Hilary Duff or Swank. Besides, they spell their names with only one l. I guess that if there are any mountains discussed in a post with Hillary I better be careful or people might think I’m referring to Sir Edmund, who does spell Hillary with two l’s.

Hillary on the Attack

Hillary is on the attack:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s pollster fired an opening salvo at Sen. Barack Obama and John Edwards yesterday, claiming their campaigns are “stalled or falling” — and suggesting Obama isn’t tough enough to withstand GOP attacks in 2008.

She might have a huge lead, as former Presidents Ed Muskie, Howard Dean, and Joeseph Lieberman had huge leads for the nomination before they went on to win (presumably in some parallel universe). Somehow this long before the first caucus, and when the candidates are just playing the “exploratory committee” game, it sounds awfully early to describe another campaign as stalled.

Hillary’s victory would also seem more inevitable if there wasn’t so much sentiment for, as the Los Angeles Times puts it, anyone but a Bush or a Clinton. USA Today reports that many Democrats worry that Hillary cannot win. As I previously noted, a more serious fear is that she can win.