Matthew Yglesias speaks the truth:
Someone has to tell Ben Nelson that it's time to start paying some attention to what's going on:
Some Democrats looking for a ray of light in the election argued that [Senator Harry] Reid's amiability might make it harder for the White House to demonize him.
"When the conservative talk show hosts start saying bad things about Harry Reid, it will be like attacking Mr. Rogers," Senator Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska, said of Mr. Reid, who shares Mr. Rogers's affection for a cardigan.
This "immunization fallacy" needs to be combatted in all its manifestations. People thought after the 2000 election that it wouldn't be possible to demonize Tom Daschle, the soft-spoken veteran moderate Senator from very red South Dakota, but it was. People thought during the 2004 primary that it wouldn't be possible to demonize John Kerry, the war hero, as weak on national security (Kerry himself repeatedly asserted this), but it was. It's not impossible to demonize anyone, especially when the accuracy of your charges is entirely unrelated to your willingness to make them or to the media's willingness to cover them in a damaging manner. Reid will be subject to a demonization campaign. If Jeb Bush wins the Democratic nomination in 2008, he will be subject to a demonization campaign.
Indeed. Rush Limbaugh compared Tom Daschle to the devil about two months after the Jeffords defection. As Chris Mooney pointed out, Daschle later became the target of a coordinated campaign reminiscent of the demonization of Newt Gingrich. They play hardball at the national level. Expecting Republicans to go easy on Reid just because he's soft-spoken and wears cardigans is naivete of the highest order.