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Andrew Arentowicz Headshot

How to Beat the Republicans

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I'm sick of losing. Even as I continue to lose confidence daily in the Democratic Party, and worry that they might not have courage or communal intelligence to save us from our current self-inflicted and potentially mortal wounds, I am certain the predominant Republican ideology is toxic, tired, and must be defeated at all costs or else America faces a long and embarrassing spiral down the drain of history.

Curiously, the same ironic patterns are emerging in this election of 'change' as the previous three (plus) elections: Republicans hunkering down with their tried and true (the Democrats will raise your taxes, squash you with big government, spend-spend -spend, and the terrorists will win, etc.) and Democrats responding with their own tried and true... an incoherent defense of their positions along with ineffectual counter-attacks. Have they (all those inside-the- beltway Democratic consultants who are dug in like ticks providing our Democratic leaders with the same lame strategies that didn't work for Al Gore in 2000 or John Kerry in 2004) not learned anything from the past two elections? The fact that this election isn't a blow out is a total mystery to me, especially as the world financial markets teeter on the edge of collapse (no thanks to Bill Clinton for killing the Glass Steagall Act...looks like that wasn't such a great idea after all!), but it speaks volumes about how superior the Republican messaging machine is compared to the Democratic equivalent (and/or how prevalent racism still is in America today).

I've said it before and I'll say it again, we are in an historic time right now where literally anything can happen. All the rules have changed because our global circumstances have fundamentally changed over the past decade. We have just crossed the bridge from the old world to the new world and America is the last developed country on earth to get it. The new game requires new rules and fresh ideas, and the first party to understand this should, with the right policies, be able to legislate our way out of our old world problems.

Let's quickly examine who has been making decisions for us over the past 20 years or so in Washington. We've had a Republican president 20 of the last 28 years. We've had a Republican Congress (House and Senate) 12 of the last 14 years. The Supreme Court has been led by a conservative for over 20 years, and for 6 of the last 8 years Republicans have had control of all three branches of government simultaneously. What more can they control? Big oil? Check. The Military Industrial Complex? Check. At what point will any of these people take responsibility for the consequences of their poor decision making? We really can't afford to let the Grand Old Party make anymore grand old decisions. Their poor decisions have taken America to the edge of collapse. What we need is a Brand New Party. However, that's not going to happen as long as our strategic imperatives remain in the hands of perennial losers.

Here are 6 ideas I'd like to contribute to the national marketplace of political ideas. While none of these ideas is really 'new', I believe they have yet to be seriously considered by the Democratic elite.

#1) Expose the Republican spin machine. Expose their insidious strategies in the exact moment you encounter them. Call them out. Show America right then and there...did you see that?!? When John McCain says over and over again, "What Senator Obama doesn't understand..." in a debate, Obama should immediately expose the strategy, "Do you see what John McCain is doing, America? He says he is a man of integrity and bipartisanship, but when the chips are down, instead of talking substance, he goes straight for the mud. You deserve better from your leaders, especially during a national crisis."

A similar thing happened in the third debate between Senator Kerry and President Bush in 2004. Kerry was asked a question about why the minimum wage hadn't changed in 10 years, and he rightfully blamed Republican interference. However, Bush's response was so squirrelly he dodged the question entirely and somehow twisted it around to praise No Child Left Behind. He never even mentioned the minimum wage! In that very moment, Senator Kerry should have said in his rebuttal, "Did you see that America? Did you see what he just did..." This 'expose the Republican spin the moment you encounter it' strategy should trickle down to the pundits as well...expose their slimy strategies in the exact moment they try to use them against you. Put them on the spot. If they dodge a question or pin Big Government on Democrats, put them on the spot. Get them on the defensive. Their sorcery is so blatant and so obvious it's time we start exposing it to the American public.

#2) Attack the Republican establishment, not John McCain. Sure, play the guilt by association card, but he is a war hero. Attacking him is like yelling at your grandmother. The Grand Old Party had their chance and they failed. They say they are the party of personal responsibility, yet they had complete control of government for 6 years, and not once has any Republican leader taken responsibility for what has happened to America under their leadership. I understand and appreciate John McCain used to be a pseudo-maverick and is a war hero, but it's too little too late. The world has changed and we don't need any more Grand Old ideas. We need new ideas. Here's one for starters...when Senator Obama raises taxes, because someone is going to have to pay for the past 6-8 years of glut, he should set up a system where by anyone who has their taxes raised gets to pick where the funds go (education, healthcare, green technology, infrastructure, etc.). Set up an online system that lets the people decide where they want to invest their money instead of just giving their money to some amorphous bureaucracy. If it's an investment in America, then involve the American people in the process. Tell us the strategies, tell us who's in charge, tell us how the money will get spent, provide us with the metrics for success, manage our expectations. Don't just take our money and run.

#3) Openly attack the Republican ideology. Reframe the debate. We (Americans, and the media) are still operating as if the Republican ideology still has merit, and we are validating it by treated it as such. I reject that premise outright! The Republican ideology is dead. In theory it might have had substance, but in practice, it's been devastating. Today, it is a failed ideology. Look where it's gotten us! The idea of looking backward right now is a losing strategy. We didn't randomly get to where we are today. We are witnessing the delayed effects of a sustained Republican cause. Whatever it is the Republicans are trying to sell, more and more Americans are no longer buying. They don't like the product and I don't blame them. At the end of the day, the proof is in the pudding. The Republicans had their chance. They tried. They failed. It's time to move on to something more effective and more productive.

#4) Attack your fellow pro-lobbyist, pro-pork Democrats. The best way to win over a Republican or an independent is to show them your principles take priority over your party. Show America what it truly means to put country first.

#5) Take back National Security. The 'war on terror' isn't our only vulnerability...there is the failed state of our economy, stratospheric personal and national debt, competition from China, Middle East, and Russia, our addiction to foreign oil, the rise of global corporate corruption, and the threat of global warming to name a few. All of these issues are threats to our national security. Republican narrow-mindedness (telling America that 'terror' is our only problem) is its own form of domestic terrorism. America is less safe when its people are misinformed. We are headed for a cliff and what we need is someone who understands these complex and interconnected problems and who can speak honestly to the American public so we can come together and find the necessary solutions to these problems. The only way we are going to truly 'secure America' is by drilling for American innovation, ingenuity, and exceptionalism from every American citizen right here at home. Even if McCain wins, he will have a Democratic Congress and the best case scenario will be a stalemate. Our country cannot afford a stalemate. We need to take back the economy with a Green Revolution. We need to modernize our government and our infrastructure. We need more transparency and accountability to thwart the corrosive effects of corruption. We need to make smarter investments in our future, and we need to kick lobbyists out of Washington. All of these efforts are important and they need to happen now.

#6) Hammer the Republicans on the false claim that 'the surged worked.' You don't get credit for putting out a fire you started! George Bush created this awful mess. He put our country into massive debt, which makes us less competitive and less secure. He strengthened our worst enemy. All because our Republican leaders made a simple and grave strategic mistake. Now they're asking America to give them a pat on the back for keeping Iraq from descending into total chaos. It's absurd!

I wish Barack Obama the best of luck, and maybe with some new ideas he can put this thing to bed. While he may not be the best man for the job, he is infinitely better than John McCain and his Republican counterparts. Thank for you in advance for considering these ideas. The world cannot afford another Democratic loss.