Senior Senatorial Player Grassley to Junior Senator Obama: “You want some of this? You wanna play in my house, you gotta play da rules, non-Senatorial Obama. Otherwise, you’re gonna pay da price. Just ask the Pimp Tax Man, man.”
Sen. Grassley has had the home turf advantage in Iowa for the past 32 years, while Sen. Obama has benefited from the media surge fueled by his presidential candidacy. Sen. Grassley is trying to fight the “War on Words” from D.C. with one arm tied behind his back.
News Capsules from the War Front:
May 6th: During a campaign stop in Waterloo, Sen. Obama said the Senate needs only 16 votes in the Senate to override President Bush’s veto. He called upon Iowans to help evoke change: "If everyone here makes the decision that they are going to bring about change in this country, change is going to come."
To help instigate the “War on Words,” the “Des Moines Register” proceeded to stir up the hornet’s nest:
Obama did not name names, but he was likely referring to U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican. Iowa's other U.S. senator, Tom Harkin, a Democrat, voted with the majority of members of his party.
And for those of us who are familiar with the early beginnings of the Cold War (you know, the other Metaphoric War), nothing fires up a cauldron of fear and paranoia than implying a good ol’ fashioned naming names allusion.
May 9th: Sen. Grassley responded to Sen. Obama’s comments during a conference call with Iowa reporters:
"Let's say pretty much that it's not senatorial and if you can't be senatorial, how can you be presidential?" "Generally, when you're from another state, you don't take pokes at another senator," said Grassley. "I would find that very difficult to go and do in Illinois, and tell his constituents to get on him about something."Grassley added: "You know what really makes it less presidential is, I'm not running for president. I'm not one of his opponents."
May 10th: Sen. Obama stood his ground in Indainola, reiterating his previous position, and responded to the recent heat from Sen. Grassley:
"I believe that all of us have to take responsibility to make sure that we change hearts and minds.When I become president I will bring this war to a close, but I don't want to wait another year and a half to do it."
May 11th: Sen. Grassley’s Press Secretary, Beth Levine, delivered the latest attack in the “War on Words” by releasing the following statement in response to Sen. Obama’s comments in Indianola:
“Sen. Obama’s comments yesterday renew the questions about his readiness. Overriding President Bush’s veto of a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq would have to take place first in the House of Representatives because that's the chamber of Congress from which the legislation originated. It's been demonstrated that the votes aren’t there to override that veto, despite the fact that the House is controlled by Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic Party. So, there isn’t an opportunity for a veto override in the Senate in this case and, as a result, there’s no way that Sen. Grassley holds a key vote. Sen. Obama might want to sign up for American Government 101 to learn about the veto process. Or, he could learn the job he has in the U.S. Senate before thinking he ought to be President.”Or maybe Sen. Obama should sign up for Sen. Grassley’s “American Politics 101” and learn how to play the game of politics from a seasoned insider.
American Politics 101: Rules for engagement during an attack in a “War on Words”
Rule 1: Monitor threats and attacks during incubation period.
When you’ve been attacked or feel threatened, whether directly or indirectly, it’s essential to subject perceived threats to an incubation period, where they can been monitored for damage control. If the threat backfires, ignores it. If the threat gains no traction, ignore it. (e.g. Sen. Grassley initial response to Sen. Obama’s comments is that he likely willl "brush it off and ignore it.")If the threat does gain traction, it’s imperative to move on to the next rule of engagement.
Rule 2: Remove threat from incubation by publicly responding to or denouncing attack.
This should happen regardless of whether or not the attacks are implicit, explicit, true, or even partially true. If not denounced in a timely manner, the public will perceive them to be true or that you’re hiding something.
(Warning: Do not overplay your hand at first. Voters may perceive this as being defensive, as if the original attack hit home for whatever reason.)
Rule 3: If the threat continues to gain traction, despite your initial retort, send out the attack dogs and rev up the Spin Machine.
If the attack or perceived attack continues to gain traction, unleash your attack dog, who will issue an attack on your behalf, butt cannot be directly linked to you. After all, this is the main reason why we’ve created Vice Presidents, Lt. Governors, campaign managers and press secretaries in politics.
Rule 4: Keep repeating rule #3 until the media loses interest and/or a fresh, unrelated scandal breaks out.
Given the majority of voters have the attention span of Boo Radley, this shouldn’t take too long, assuming the attack process isn’t conceived within three months of an election.
So the big question now is whether or not Sen. Obama is going to “stay the course” and play Sen Grassley’s game of “American Politics 101,” or is he going to “brush it off and ignore him”?
Either way, there’s little doubt the media will ignore it. This much we’ve all learned from the Cold War, eh Sen. McCarthy?
Check out my other version, "American Politics 101: Grassley's Staff Attacks Obama" @ (Iowa Independent)