Dems going off message, again

As usual, Democrats are not proving themselves masters of message discipline.

Published September 11, 2008 8:30PM (EDT)

Seems like it happens every election cycle at this point: Republicans manage to get their troops in line and enforce pretty strict message discipline. The Democrats, on the other hand, seem unable to avoid the problem of prominent elected officials and strategists going off freelancing and damaging the party's efforts at putting out a coherent message.

Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher caught James Carville, of all people, playing defense for John McCain on CNN Wednesday night. Discussing an anti-Obama attack ad put out by John McCain's campaign that repeats some particularly nasty -- and untrue -- charges, Carville said:

John McCain, deep down inside my heart ... I've said before I admire McCain. I don't believe he knew about [the ad]. I hope somebody asked him. But I refuse to believe that John McCain agreed to airing this spot. I know he says I'm John McCain, I paid for it but they have that in the can and they do it. It I don't think he knew about it ...

I really don't think that Sen. McCain knows about this ad, and in my heart of hearts, I want to believe he's absolutely furious about this and somebody's being called on the carpet because this ad is blatantly completely false.

Then there's Rod Blagojevich, the Democratic governor of Illinois, the state Barack Obama represents in the Senate. During a radio interview on Thursday morning, he argued that Democrats shouldn't question Sarah Palin's experience, saying, "The reality is, governors every day have to make decisions for better or for worse. That's part of the job. It's an executive position. And it's a position that is like what you're going to do when you're president. Legislators, they do different things. They debate and they pass their bills back and forth."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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