08/10/2006 01:35 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Election '06: It's Official. It's the War, Stupid

A political novice runs a campaign largely against the Iraq War and defeats an 18-year senator, the former Vice Presidential candidate in his own party's primary.

CNN releases a new poll that shows 61% of Americans favor some withdrawal from Iraq by the end of the year. Only 34% want to keep troop levels as they are.

For those whose math skills have floundered since high school, that's basically a 2:1 ratio of Americans who want to start getting out of the quicksand.

Democratic candidates running in November are so busy campaigning that subtleties don't always register. So, here's what this means -

You're in the Really Big Majority on this issue.

If Republicans start shouting "Cut and run!" or "ohmygodunpatriotic!," know that every time they open their mouths, it backfires - because the American public cringes at them by 2-to-1.

This is such a Really Big Majority that Democrats should even consider making it the centerpiece of all their ads. The public shows that they get it.

Get footage of Administration officials relentlessly insisting we've "turned the corner" in Iraq. Better allot this a 60-second spot, because there's too much footage for 30.

Do another ad of George Bush looking the Iraq Prime Minister in the eye, "I'm impressed by the cabinet that you've assembled.... And I'm impressed by your strategy." Intersperse this with the top commander in Iraq acknowledging, "I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I have seen it." Maybe toss in some news footage of that sectarian violence.

Make an ad of Republican strategists telling the New York Times that they would be campaigning on the Iraq War as a Good Thing. Embrace their bizarre thoughtlessness. Remember - Americans are against it by 2-to-1.

One can not say this enough. You're in the Really Big Majority on this issue. That's 61% to 34%. George Bush won the last presidential election by just 3 points, and claimed a mandate. Imagine what this margin is!! At his height, even Fidel Castro couldn't have dreamed he had such a mandate. George Bush said that he had earned political capital from those 3 points - that makes the Democratic 27 points on this issue like winning the Powerball lottery. And finding a treasure chest full of pirate doubloons.

And by all means, do an ad with George Bush standing in front of that "Mission Accomplished" sign. Keep flashing the date - "May 1, 2003." You don't even have to pay a voice-over announcer to say anything. Save the money for other ads.

Like this: an ad showing George Bush unable to think of a mistake he's made, and then, during the long pauses - intercut it with news footage from last week of 100,000 protestors in Baghdad shouting "Death to America."

Remember: you're in the Really Big Majority on this issue.

Joe Lieberman's defeat must be put in perspective. It's not just that he's an 18-year senator and former VP candidate. The last time a sitting-senator lost the primary of his own party was 32 years ago. When Dale Bumpers defeated William Fulbright in Arkansas. But Bumpers was governor at the time. By contrast, Ned Lamont sold cable TV.

And Lamont clearly won by focusing on one issue. Joe Lieberman's support of Iraq

For several years now, Democratic politicians have been wary of how the public would react to criticizing a war. No matter how ill-prepared, ill-conceived and plain ill that war was. To be fair, that's even understandable. (Not brave or admirable, but understandable.) America had been attacked, and the President had a 90% approval rating. Hey, that's politics.

But, folks - the public has finally caught on: no WMDs were found. Iraq didn't attack us. Terrorists weren't trained there. The President's approval rating is in the 30s. Iraq is on the verge of civil war, with U.S. troops caught in the middle. There's no strategy for leaving. All the while the Mideast is exploding into other wars. The public gets it. 61%-34%. Joe Lieberman lost.

You're in the Really Big Majority on this issue.

Now, it's the time to act like it.

If the dwindling Republican minority on this issue wants to criticize you...let them! When a drunk opens his mouth, it only reinforces that he's drunk. If Republicans want to defend the Iraq War, it just disgraces them in the public's eyes. Why? Because -

You're in the Really Big Majority on this issue.

The public says, and understands, by 2-to-1, that this isn't "cut and run." Just know that if we stay the course, it will become "duck and cover."