by John Hawkins | July 17, 2003 11:51 pm
Critiquing Glenn Reynolds’ Advice For Democrats: Glenn Reynolds pointed out a few issues he thought the Democrats should hit in 2004. Here is the crux of what Reynolds had to say with my thoughts afterwards…
“…(T)he administration’s unwillingness to look into the intelligence failures leading up to September 11. That the September 11 attacks occurred isn’t, by itself, proof that people dropped the ball, but there’s reason to think so, and the Bush administration has been notably reluctant to look into the matter, or to have anyone else do so.”
As far as 9/11 itself goes, I don’t think the Democrats will gain much by hitting Bush on the subject. After all, they’ve already tried it with whole “Bush Knew!” shtick. Furthermore, this is playing to Bush’s strength. I’m sure the Bush campaign would be delighted to focus on security & defense as much as possible given that they’re going to have a huge advantage over any candidate the Dems can put up in this area.
“The Bush administration has been awfully friendly with the Saudis, as has the Bush family. It may be, as blogger Steven Den Beste writes, that we’ve gone easy on the Saudis as part of a longer-term strategy, and that the administration will start tightening the screws now that the liberation of Iraq reduces the Saudis’ leverage. I hope that’s true, but there’s no question that there’s a lot of room to criticize in the administration’s relations with the Saudis.”
Given that we’re going to pull our troops out of Saudi Arabia, I think Bush is less vulnerable on this issue than he was a year ago. Moreover, I’m not sure what a Democrat can claim he wants to do differently than Bush w/ the Saudis. Is a Democrat going to say we’re going to stop buying their oil and leave himself open to charges that he’s going to cause the price of gasoline to go up? This issue could be of limited use to a Democrat, but limited use only.
“Homeland security is, as I’ve written already, ripe for criticism. It’s about empowering bureaucrats, not about protecting America. From the pointless absurdities of airline security to the Homeland Security Department’s new focus on non-terrorist-related issues, it’s a happy hunting ground for people looking for idiocies to attack. You could make a good commercial based on tweezer confiscation alone, and millions of frequent fliers would laugh.
The Democrats are definitely going to hit Bush on this area and it could bear fruit. However, my guess is that the Bush administration would be happy to slug it out on Homeland Security, especially given the Democratic base’s tendency to freak out over anything that actually improves security. Because of this, what’ll probably happen is that the Bush administration will end up proposing real security measures that resonate with the voters while the Democratic candidate will be reduced to calling for things like more funding & more policemen & firemen on the streets.
“Lots of people are worried about media concentration. This can be put in more basic terms: There are lots of channels, but they stink. There are lots of movies, but they mostly stink too. And there are lots of radio stations, but they all play the same crap.”
Media concentration concerns some people on the net, but it doesn’t move the general public. Most of them don’t understand the issue and don’t care much about it one way or the other. Because of that, I don’t see this as being a major issue.
“Those are my main suggestions. Want more? Here’s one from James Morrow: Lower the drinking age. The increase in the drinking age from 18 to 21 was a federal encroachment on traditional state affairs, foisted on the country by a Republican administration.”
I actually think would be a good issue for the Democrats. This would appeal to certain younger voters and as Reynolds says, “(the) “old enough to fight = old enough to drink” argument seems a pretty strong one.”
Reynolds is dead on target when he says,
“My biggest advice for the Democrats is to come up with positions, not just criticisms.”
I do not believe the Democrats are going to win the election in 2004 running on a “we’re not Republicans platform”. Unfortunately for the Democrats, their party platform is less palatable on the whole to the American public than the GOP platform and their scare tactics (ex: Republicans are going to take your Social Security away) have lost a lot of their impact because voters have gotten wise to them. Unfortunately for the Democrats, the only “big idea” any of their candidates seem to be touting in the primaries so far is nationalizing health care, which has been and still is a political loser. They’re going to have to do much better than that if they’re going to win in 2004.
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