The Anarchist Cookbook, GOP edition: Republican spin doctor Frank Luntz examines the lessons learned from last year's GOP victory in a playbook that the "non-partisan research and educational institute" Center for American Progress is dissecting in a series of blog posts. (You can download the entire 160-page book as a Zip file here.) "It's probably the only thing that couldn't be found on the internet...until now," gushes a commentator at liberal blog Political Strategy. Another outraged left-wing blogger calls the book "How to Lie and Win," while yet another says "[I]t's like reading 1984. He literally tells you how to use words to manipulate people into being in favor of stuff that does them harm!" (As of late this afternoon, conservative bloggers haven't started to respond.)
Daily Kos's reliably Democratic Markos Moulitsas has been pushing the story. Today, he quotes from the Center for American Progress's blog: "Luntz advises conservatives to 'resist the temptation' to use facts and figures about the economy. … Instead, he advises, you can't go wrong if you continuosly remind people about the terrorist attacks of 9/11."
Read more about the Luntz playbook here.
Charm offensive or offensive charm?: Bloggers are also weighing in on a Mark Steyn Telegraph column that suggests Europe is America's ex-girlfriend. Reflecting on Bush's European tour, Steyn commends Bush's "charm offensive," but asks, "What else is left? This week we're toasting the end of an idea: the death of 'the West.' " Conservative Austin Bay finds Steyn funny but wrong. Calling him "way too fin d'siecle," Bay argues that Steyn confuses "Europe" with "France" and that "the West" isn't dead—just ask Ukraine, Poland, Denmark, and "Post- Theo van Gogh Holland."
Liberal pundit Kevin Drum doesn't think Steyn is funny—just wrong. "So when Bush beats up on Europe he's doing exactly the right thing. When he goes easy on Europe he's doing exactly the right thing," Drum says. "Right. I swear, at this point I think George Bush could declare Christmas illegal and his fan club would figure out a way to make it sound like a cunning and farsighted strategy for the future of America."
Pointing out that Bush backed out of a town hall meeting in Germany when organizers refused to allow only pre-screened questions, the Left Coaster writes that "[s]ince the White House used this tactic at all of Bush's public appearances during the fall campaign…[they] obviously felt that they could get away with this again in another country. … It seems that only America specializes in stuff like that."
Blogger art therapy: In a recent op-ed, cartoonist Ted Rall likened the conservative blogosphere to "New McCarthyism" and complained that right wingers have sent him repeated death threats. Rall * writes, "Death threats against liberal pundits are commonplace among, and essentially unique to, the right-wing blogs. And the GOP thinks that's OK. Nowhere can one find a responsible mainstream Republican to speak out against this hate speech."
Chris Muir mocks the ultraliberal cartoonist with a cartoon and salutes conservative blogger Captain Ed, who writes: "When people like me exercise speech [Rall] dislikes, suddenly he fears and loathes the blogosphere."
Finally, an exquisite corpse for the blogosphere: Blogger after blogger is linking to this Grafik Dynamo site that takes images from blogs and other news sources and adds randomly generated text and speech balloons to create a live-action comic strip. How…random.
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