I have often argued that folks like Michael Moore actually do more harm than good to the Democratic effort. Hysteria is the enemy. Falsehoods, dirty tricks, and the goal of being able to say “at least we’re not as bad as them” is hardly the path back to Party salvation.
This week, it’s not just the Republicans who face a challenge when it comes to protesters. Democrats are ready to cover their eyes too. There is no centralized control of demonstrators. Some of them may be rooting for Kerry, but their strategies to demonstrate that affinity will roll out un-vetted by anyone in the Party. They are like hundreds of micro-527s, each with a separate strategy and goal. Think of MoveOn reduced to an unattractive naked guy with a megaphone, a can of spray paint and a twelve-pack of malt liquor.
A few thousand bike riders have already blocked traffic in NY (the surest way to encourage that the wrath of everyone on the road is directed towards them). Rove and Co will do what they can to make it seem like all of these groups are part of a Democratic plot. Part of the hysterical and crazy Party. It might not matter that the Dems have already made it clear that most of these folks are not with them.
Then there are the protesters (the anarchists and anti-globalization folks) who are against both Parties. They were in Boston and they want some other choice aside from two dudes from team Skull and Bones. Because its New York (more fun and more media than Boston) and because its the incumbent’s show, the anarchists et al will be out in massive numbers this week. Again, the challenge for the Dems will be to say “They’re not with us,” while the goal of the Republicans will be to portray every non-peaceful protester as a member of the extended Kerry clan.
There of course will be another group challenged. Those who are pulling for the Dems and who are protesting in an organized and peaceful manner. They may have some great points. They may have their messaging down. But they face an obstacle that’s nearly impossible to overcome. Organized, sensible and peaceful makes for lousy television. See an episode of Jerry Springer to see what sells.
A massive show of dissent from peaceful protesters could be a glorious way to disrupt the President’s party. But if things slip a little too far in the wrong direction, it could play right into his hands.