Without a Policy Argument to Offer Voters, Democrats Turn to Character Assassination

It wasn’t too long ago that Democrats were gloating about their chances to retain the Senate. In a strategy memo from last July the DSCC reveled in the idea that “National Republicans have failed to put any blue or purple state into play.”

But now, with New Hampshire, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Oregon all shifting Republican’s way, Democrats have been forced to rethink their narrative. Fortunately, Democrats haven’t given themselves much to work with. Their candidates vote in lockstep with Harry Reid—a man who is out of touch with the majority of Americans, their signature issue—Obamacare—continues to be an unpopular disaster, and President Obama—the masthead for the party—continues to suffer from falling approval ratings.

So now they’ve turned negative, taking actions that fly in the face of their “war on women” talking point they covet so much.

The perfect example is their campaign against Monica Wehby, a 52-year-old pediatric neurosurgeon, who won the Oregon Republican primary on Tuesday. She’s just the kind of person we need in Washington; a wildly successful woman whose every action seems based around improving the lives of people. But why leave neurosurgery, a job she loved, to move to Washington where, as her son recently warned, people says “all kinds of mean things about you on the internet”?

“I told him about a brain tumor patient of mine who had made a full recovery and came back to my office to give me a card that I treasure to this day. The care read, “If we’re not here to make life better for one another, then what’s the point.”

How many people walking the halls of Congress are truly there to make life better for other people? Unfortunately, it’s not many. Too many have their eyes on power, or money, or prestige. Not Wehby. That’s what makes her different, and voters are already seeing it. Indeed, she has already shot into the lead in her race with incumbent Democrat Jeff Merkley according to the latest polling.

Sadly, her son’s worry was well placed. Clearly desperate after watching their lead evaporate Democrats have taken to saying mean things about Wehby. In recent weeks they’ve resorted to vicious personal attacks, including leaking a police report about an incident she had with a former ex-boyfriend.

But there was no “there” there. The boyfriend (I can’t even believe I’m having to write this) now says he “regrets saying those things,” calls Wehby a “friend” and says he supports her candidacy. They are even neighbors now.

How sad is it that valuable time and words must be used to address this nonstory. How ridiculous is it that a bad breakup followed by a friendly reconciliation is considered a political angle worthy of attack? But there’s a reason for the seeming madness. It’s because Democrats will do anything to talk about anything other than the issues. Kimberly Strassel writes for the Wall Street Journal:

Some conservative commentators have noted that this is the Democratic “war on women,” but that doesn’t give near enough credit to what is a broader and now-staple Democratic strategy. When faced with a Republican who they cannot beat on policy questions, Democrats move to character assassination. It gives them something to say, while softening up voters to believe their worst accusations about the GOP. The assault is particularly vicious against a Republican woman or minority who threatens to pull votes from their base. . .

Dr. Wehby is therefore Democrats’ worst nightmare. A nationally recognized pediatric neurosurgeon who was on the board of the American Medical Association, she got into this race to fight ObamaCare. She’s a policy wonk, able to run rings around Oregon’s junior senator, especially on health-care reform. She’s pro-choice (personally pro-life) and supports gay marriage and medical marijuana—so the left can’t hit her with the social-issue agenda. She’s a fiscal conservative and a tort reformer—positions that hold appeal even among Oregon’s more liberal electorate.

If a hopeless attempt to caricaturize this accomplished neurosurgeon as a spurned ex-lover is the best Democrats can muster, they’re in for a long cycle.