My dad tells a story about WWII that seems to apply today. He used to go to the movies with his grandfather and before screening the movie they would show newsreels that discussed the war efforts. Essentially, they were propaganda pieces meant to encourage Americans that the war effort was going well. My dad's grandfather, who had grown up in Italy and witnessed the trauma of war didn't like the newsreels. My dad says that his grandfather would ridicule the newsreels with his own sarcastic explanation of the war that went something like this. He would say that every American bullet would hit its target and kill the enemy, but that each time a German soldier shot his weapon, the bullets would fall harmlessly to the ground and the American soldiers would pick them up and eat them because they were candy.
It seems to me that many Americans may have reached the same point as my father's grandfather with regards to the war on terror and the war in Iraq...the math just doesn't work and most voters have come to that conclusion. Regardless, we'll know for sure soon enough.
The political gallop to the November finish line is heating up and the race is certain to tighten. Get ready folks, we've just rounded the final turn and we're now headed into the homestretch and that horse making a big push on the Democrats' right flank is none other than the GOP's Secretariat, Karl Rove. With his legal troubles apparently behind him, Rove seems to be focused like a laser on once again wearing the floral blanket. In his most recent public appearance in Ohio, Rove reiterated the talking points of the strategy upon which the GOP intends to run.
Mr. Rove, a White House adviser and the architect of Mr. Bush's winning presidential campaigns, peppered Democrats on taxes and national security, invoked the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and called the Iraq war "the heart of the battle" in a global war against "Islamic fascists."
The 20-minute speech echoed Mr. Bush's 2004 campaign themes. He said Mr. Bush would not abandon the war and said of terrorists to the audience: "Who thinks if we come home, that they're not going to follow us?"
The important thing to note in the 2006 strategy is a minor, though significant, shift in the GOP framing...a technique that has been the hallmark of their success. This week the President gave a candid answer to an oft asked question...on a topic that has been the source of repeated Democratic criticism. He was asked what Iraq had to do with 9/11 and he quickly replied, "Nothing"...but then went on to explain that he believes the lesson of 9/11 was that we must take threats seriously before they materialize.
Herein is the shift. Republicans realize that the conflation of Iraq and 9/11 is no longer the viable tool that it was during the 2002 and 2004 elections. In a classic counterintuitive Rovian shift, they have taken the Democratic strategy for 2006 and incorporated it into the GOP's new framing. When Bush uttered "Nothing", the revised strategy was revealed. Simply stated, the new GOP strategy is to incorporate the Democratic message into their revised rhetoric. This isn't the first time that the Bush administration has co-opted the message of the opposition when it became apparent that they were perilously close to a position of checkmate.
Not only do they now want Democrats to make voters consider leaving Iraq, they will take it a step further and insist that voters consider the potential consequences and risks...once again invoking the power of terrorism in order to create voter doubt...all the while framing the Democrats as the object of that doubt. The goal is to make the doubt about leaving Iraq (the terror threat) greater than the dissatisfaction about the conduct of the war. Forcing voters to move beyond the GOP's past poor performance is essential and can be achieved by refocusing voters on other more ominous potentialities.
Wadhams also worked in Colorado for Senator Wayne Allard's 2002 reelection and gave one of the most acerbic victory speeches I have ever witnessed. While gloating at the defeat of Ted Strickland, his comments were vile and hateful. The man is Karl Rove absent a scintilla of decorum and decency...if you can imagine that!
If I were asked how the Democrats can turn the tables on the Republicans with regard to this minimum wage bill, I would argue they need to point out the hypocrisy evident in the GOP's tax cutting strategy. By giving small businesses tax cuts to offset the wage increase, they are actually enacting a subsidy that is ultimately funded through taxpayer generated revenues...in essence they are creating a new tax funded social program...even though they repeatedly espouse the need to cut back on such funding. The measure would ultimately becomes an added burden for the already struggling middle class while at the same time shielding corporations from sharing in the cost of the much needed wage increase.
While I believe you make some excellent points, one cannot ignore tactics and strategy as they ultimately impact the numbers...and we all know elections are decided by the numbers.
The argument you make that many are "obsessively" focused on "strategy talk" has an offset within the blogosphere...a focus on sentiment. I certainly can't predict which will have more impact on the actual numbers but they both warrant attention.
Read an analysis on how Hillary Clinton, in her opposition to establishing a troop withdrawal date for Iraq and by the fact that she hasn't aligned herself with the netroots, is actually completing a strategic positioning to run for president as a centrist Democrat in 2008...here:
Thanks for your short and less than thoughtful comments. I knew I forgot that rule that says one can only be a progressive if he or she toes the line...hmmm...but isn't that what we're supposed to be fighting to overthrow? Out with the old...in with the new...where do I get in line for my reprogramming?
Read an article that explains the importance of understanding the psychological concept called "terror management theory". It can be instructive as Democrats develop strategies to win the upcoming elections. Read it here: