Maybe I’m suffering from PTESD (Post Traumatic Electoral Stress Disorder), but as I watch the Democratic leadership fail to hammer home what is wrong with the administration’s policy in Iraq, I’m starting to get flashbacks to the Kerry campaign.
I realize some memories are better left buried… but it’s hard to watch history disastrously repeat itself.
Remember how Kerry couldn’t decide how to take on the president on Iraq? How -- obsessed with not upsetting fence-sitting swing voters -- he all but buried himself at the Grand Canyon by saying that even if he knew that there were no WMD in Iraq he still would have voted to give Bush the authority to invade? How, all but given up for dead following the Swift Boat sliming, he finally found his voice and started slamming the president on Iraq -- “wrong war, wrong place, wrong time” -- but then squandered his momentum by refusing to press this line of attack day in and day out, focusing instead on a laundry list of focus-group approved domestic issues?
Well, I’m starting to get a feeling of déjà vu all over again -- thanks to Nancy Pelosi. You see, I’m on her blast e-mail list, and recieve all the updates and press releases her office sends out. And let me tell you, she sends out a lot of them -- sometimes several a day -- offering her official statements on what she considers the top issues of the day.
And shockingly few of them deal with what’s happening in Iraq.
Like Kerry, she seemed unsure how to take on the president on the war. Like Kerry, she suddenly found her voice on the issue late last week, taking to the floor of the House and labeling it a “grotesque mistake." Now she is in danger of -- like Kerry -- squandering her momentum… because instead of following her powerful rhetoric with more powerful facts, pounding the president on the latest Iraq outrages -- including today’s shocking revelations about the Pentagon’s Halliburton cover-up and the Federal Reserve’s last-minute transfer of $2.4 billion -- Pelosi has been filling my e-mail inbox with bold statements on flag burning, Social Security, the need to fund PBS, and the 33rd anniversary of the athletic opportunities provided by Title IX (I got a blizzard of media advisories on that one!). And that was just since Monday! No wonder I’m waking up in a cold sweat!
Now, I know these are all worthwhile topics (indeed, little makes me happier than defending free speech while watching a women’s sporting event on PBS) but, c’mon… there is worthwhile and there is urgent. Pelosi and the Democrats need to stop trying to be all things to all people and keep the focus where it absolutely must stay: Iraq and national security.
They need to keep pounding away on that issue from now until 2006. It’s the only way they’ll be able to break through the clutter of our 500-channel media universe. And the only way they’ll ever become the majority party again.
Repeat after me: It’s the war, stupid!