by John Hawkins | May 19, 2003 12:54 pm
The Democrats, W, The War On Terrorism, & The 2004 Election: In an effort to keep up with what the other side is thinking, I was reading the Smirking Chimp. While I was there, I ran across an interesting article. At first, I thought I had stumbled across a perceptive leftie…
“The biggest problem the Democrats have isn’t Bush’s popularity. It’s that voters fear voting for Democrats, because Democrats look like spineless, fraidy-cat wimps.”
To begin with, I thought he was referring to the fact that Democrats do come across as “spineless, fraidy-cat wimps” when it comes to foreign policy and that’s going to really hurt their chances of taking back the Presidency in 2004. I mean, even Democrats would have to get a bit nervous thinking about someone like Howard Dean or John Kerry trying to deal with Al Qaeda and belligerent rogue states that are developing nuclear weapons. But actually, the author meant something else entirely…
“The Democrats biggest problem is that (so far) they’re not willing to “take down” Bush. They’re not willing to do what the Republicans LOVE doing – run a nasty, brutal, take-no-prisoners “TAKE DOWN” campaign to force Bush’s approval numbers down to where they should be – in the 30’s.
…If the Democrats want to win in ’04, they are going to have to imitate the Republicans. Attack, attack, attack. Play OFFENSE for once. How? It’s SO EASY, people – Bush is HANDING us the ammunition. Bush’s war stance is making him popular? How ’bout running an ad like this?
OPEN WITH BLACK AND WHITE, SLO-MOED IMAGE OF BUSH IN SILLY FLIGHT SUIT ON AIRCRAFT CARRIER
Announcer – George Bush promised he was going to make our country a safer place to live. So how’s he doing?
SHOT OF OSAMA BIN LADEN
Announcer – Osama bin Laden, the man Bush promised to capture “dead or alive,” still at large…
SHOT OF SADDAM HUSSEIN
Announcer – Saddam Hussein, still at large.
NEWS FOOTAGE OF RIYADH BOMBING
Announcer – Al-Qaeda – still at large, and stronger than ever, because Bush let them re-group while he lied us into a war, chasing after Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that weren’t there…
BACK ON BUSH
Announcer – In the meantime, Bush has cut moneys to protect our ports, harbors and public facilities, making them more vulnerable to terrorist attack than ever….
SHOT OF IRAQI SOLDIERS
Announcer – He and his Republican cronies even had the nerve to cut the pension benefits of our soldiers as they were risking their lives in Iraq.
SHOT OF GEORGE, NEXT SHOT OF VOTERS
Announcer – It all comes down to one question. After four years of George Bush, do YOU feel any safer?
SHOT OF DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE
Announcer – He’s had four years and hasn’t done the job. We need a Democrat to unite the world against evil. Vote for (NAME HERE).
BACK ON GEORGE
Announcer – Because fighting evil is more than empty threats and photo ops. “
Setting aside the numerous inaccuracies and conjecture that the writer treats as fact in the ad, I would laugh at the idea that the author thinks the Democrats need to, “(p)lay OFFENSE for once” if the GOP didn’t have plenty of people who believe exactly the same thing. Politics at the national level is a no-holds barred knife fight in a snakepit and both sides go on the offense at every opportunity. If anything, the Democrats need to stop trying to go on offense so often and come up with some ideas people can get behind. I say that because the Democrats have been so caught up in partisan sniping since Bush was elected that they must have lost a lot of credibility with the public.
Moreover, much to the author of that commercial’s chagrin, the Dems are going to have a tough time being credible when they go after W. on security issues. That’s not only because Bush has had tremendous success in that area, but because the Democrats themselves aren’t credible when it comes to foreign policy. Joe Lieberman and Bob Graham are the only two hawks that are running and even if one of those two guys won the nomination, they’d be handicapped by all the peaceniks in the party who believe foreign policy should largely consists of doing whatever Kofi Annan tells us too and making nice with the French.
So if the Dems want to attack Bush’s performance in the war on terrorism, great, that only helps the Bush campaign by keeping the debate focused on Bush’s biggest strength and more importantly, on the Democrats most vulnerable point. Just imagine the election coming down to, “Who do you trust to defend America from her enemies? George Bush or John Kerry?” Talk about a landslide victory for the GOP…
***Update***: John Cole from Balloon Juice weighs in on a similar subject.
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