I’ve been meaning to blog this for weeks now, and in the midst of the Dean discussion, there’s no time like the present. So here it is: Zack Exley of MoveOn.org wrote about how Labour’s political aggressiveness keeps winning elections — even though the UK is not particularly left-wing, and even though they’ve clearly been damaged badly by Tony Blair’s recklessness, gullibility, whatever you want to call it…
Here’s a tease:
When the Tories show any kind of weakness, Labor pounces. I can’t tellyou how pleasing this was to see after our experiences in 2004. Forexample, at one point in the campaign a newspaper secretly taped a topTory spokesperson saying the party would cut taxes and public servicesmuch deeper than they were admitting publicly. In similar situationsI’ve heard many Democratic campaign strategists say, "No need for us tosay anything – better to stand back and let them get a bad day or twoof press than possibly creating a backlash against ourselves bystepping into the mix." Labor’s reaction was to go immediately andrelentlessly for the jugular – and to turn what might have been aone-day story into a one-week branding of the Tories as untrustworthy.
Is there any question that this is what’s been done to us? Is there any question that we could stand to give a little of this treatment ourselves?
Really, it’s more about clarity of purpose than bludgeoning the other side. When you start looking at everything as an opportunity to advance your cause, you won’t miss your chances. And you’ve got to take the openings you get. The Democrats lose because they’re afraid to take risks, not understanding the risk of taking no risks.