One of the most endearing character traits of the Republicans is the transparency of their playbook. Early in the spring before the last election I remember reading a New York Times headline shouting, "Republicans Will Use Ridicule and Derisive Humor Against the Democratic Nominee." They didn't even know who the nominee was yet but that was their not-so-secret game plane. Sure enough, they fairly arbitrarily labeled Senator Kerry a "flip-flopper," passed out thousands of flip-flops and marched to victory.
Now for these mid-term elections Karl Rove &Co. are vocal and explicit about their intention to focus on national security and have invented a "pre- vs. post-9/11" phony dichotomy by which they intend to judge Democrats. Many in the Democratic leadership seem to have once again taken the bait, and have convinced themselves that it is unwise to engage the President on his last-remaining political strength.
Now hold on to your hats for a moment, I am about to compare the Bush administration's actions to the actions of Saddam Hussein's regime but please, you Bushbots out there, do not fly off the handle just yet. Just as Saddam had no WMDs, he just growled and snarled and convinced some that he had them and was crazy enough to use them, the Bush administration has no more power, yet it too refuses to be contrite, snarls and growls as if it were still as popular as it was on 9/12. Of course in the case of Saddam, the CIA, the IAEA, really everyone who looked carefully, realized that he was all bark and no bite. In the case of President Bush just look at his Nixonian poll numbers. This American Emperor has been outed as having no clothes by the people for months now. Why is it that only some leaders and consultants in the opposition still see him in splendid robes?
His last-remaining shred of credibility is in national defense and homeland security and we all know that the truth is that his incompetence has actually made us less safe, not more. Harry Reid, Evan Bayh, John Kerry, John Murtha and a few others have been beating that drum but we need a syncopated marching band of beating drums if we ever hope to get back into power and turn this country around.
HuffPoster Mark Kleiman reported on his recent conversation with General Wesley Clark. "Clark also made a political/operational point: it's not reasonable to expect Democrats to coalesce around a single detailed road-map for handling the Iraqi mess. It should be enough for us to point out how badly the whole situation has been handled by the other guys." General Clark was a great general but he is making a lousy politician. His remarks reflect what the Democrats have been doing since Bush first took office and that strategy has been about as effective as pissing on a wildfire.
Instead the top Dems need to hold a Security Summit. They need to lock themselves in a room and hammer out a guideline for extracting us from Iraq. America doesn't want to hear that the opinions are too disparate. America wants to see results. The nation is a gas-guzzling Hummer that Bush has driven off the road into a muddy ditch. It's not enough to sit in the backseat and carp about his bad driving. Did the signers of the Declaration of Indepence immediately all agree on every phrase and sentence? They talked and compromised in order to govern. Please, stop being losers and become leaders.
Not that they asked me, but next time I'll weigh in on what a Murtha/Kerry/Clark compromised outline of what a Democratic Iraqi exit strategy might look like.