Is it just me, or is the left-wing American blogosphere undergoing a serious shrillness attack because of the Foley scandal and the torture and indefinite imprisonment votes? It’s one thing when Atrios rants about the media; that’s standard operating procedure for him. It’s a whole other thing when I see Belledame, Pam, and Coturnix obsess either over torture (as if the US didn’t routinely go that in Vietnam) or over a sex scandal.
I’m trying to come up with a legitimate reason to talk so much about Foley’s sex scandal. “I’m interested in it” is an absolute defense, but it doesn’t seem like any of the bloggers who cover that non-issue are interested in it except for the schadenfreude angle.
A more likely reason is that the bloggers who talk about Foley ad nauseam really think it’s politically beneficial for the left to obsess over one Congressman’s sexual harassment antics and the Republican leadership’s silence on the issue. Superficially, it looks like a good issue in the election – who wants to vote for the party of gay pedophilic sexual harassers?
But in reality, it’s a shitty strategy and the Democrats should know better than that. Negative campaigning works, except when the other party is doing it. The Swift Boat Veterans managed to smear Kerry because he tried campaigning on his war record and because they managed to look independent. If Bush had said the same things that they did, President Kerry would now be signing torture bills.
“We’re the non-sexual harassing party” may make a few undecideds vote for you and a few Republicans stay home, but it won’t convince non-voters that showing up at the precinct and voting Democratic is worth their time.
Part of winning is inspiring voters. If the Democrats are too scared to inspire voters with cultural liberalism, they can inspire them with amnesty for illegal immigrants, raising the minimum wage, and single-payer health care, all of which are widely popular. “We will raise the minimum wage; the Republicans won’t” is a lot more powerful than “This person is a sexual harasser and these other Republicans knew about it.”