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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

A National Security Alternative

Yesterday, the Progressive Policy Institute (the DLC-affliliated think tank) released With All Our Might, a collection of essays on how Democrats would fight and win the war with jihadism, at a National Press Club event featuring Evan Bayh and Mark Warner. It’s an important book, at a time when Democrats are trying to put together a credible vision for what we can offer if we take back Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008. Sure, it’s very helpful that House Dems are promising they will implement the 9/11 commission report during the first 100 days of the next congressional session, but that’s hardly a comprehensive natonal security platform. And with Republicans almost certain to try to fan persistent fears that Democrats aren’t tough enough to keep Americans safe, we need something clear, positive, and sharply distinguishable from Bush policies, to say about the battle our country has been in since 9/11. Check out Monday’s New Dem Dispatch for a quick summary of the book. And please don’t be misled by news reports (which I fear may get echoed in the blogosphere) that frame the book, largely based on questions posed to speakers at the event, as part of some intra-party “fight” on national security, or on Iraq. The 19 national security wonks who contributed to With All Our Might are from all parts of the progressive spectrum, several of whom opposed the Iraq war from the beginning. The book does not have a chapter on Iraq, because the whole idea is to explain what Democrats would do on the broader issue of fighting jihadism, which the American people still care about deeply even if many of them have given up on the administration’s Iraq adventure. And nobody who reads the book could think it represents a criticism of Democrats: the central thrust is to analyze the administration’s and the Republican Party’s failures of leadership–not just their incompetence, but their flawed ideology–and lay out an alternative agenda rooted in the progressive internationalist tradition. So check it out with an open mind, and remember the price that Democrats, and Americans, have paid for past Republican advantages on national security.

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