THE MUTE MAN...

THE MUTE MAN WITH THE PLAN. One of my pet irritations is the long-standing, oft-repeated meme that Democrats lack ideas, or principles, or an agenda. Most often, the target is national security, which Democrats are supposedly rudderless on. At least they are if you listen to the media, which loves nothing more than to rewrite that same old story, peppered with quotes from the same unnamed analysts and consultants, lamenting the party's irresponsibility and incoherency on the nation's most existential threats. Which was why the release of the Democrat's "Real Security" plan was such an interesting test case. Here was a 127-page document supporting a two page statement of direction: redeployment away from Iraq, renewed focus on chasing bin Laden, increased urgency on energy independence, doubling of our special forces, new GI Bill, etc. You can quibble with it, but it was an actionable agenda on national security.

And then...nothing.

The New York Times ignored it, as did the LA Times, CNN and the other major networks. It's a case of the media ensuring their own storyline: If they uphold that Democrats lack a national security strategy and refuse to report that Democrats issue one, they've made their own narrative manifest. In politics, if you hold a press release and no one attends, it doesn't make a sound. Remember that next time Lou Dobbs sadly intones that "Democrats haven't come up with a single message, a straightforward proposal or plan." They've got the plan, but a fat lot of good a plan does if the press refuses to tell anybody about it.

UPDATE: Be sure to read Ben Adler's somewhat different take on this on Midterm Madness.

--Ezra Klein

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