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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Dems Seize National Security Issue

In today’s New York Times, Carl Hulse reports on the Democrats’ efforts to more effectively leverage the issue of national security for the fall elections. Hulse notes in his article “Democrats See Security as Key Issue for Fall“:

…Democrats say the administration’s initial support of a business deal that would have allowed a Dubai company to assume control of parts of some seaport terminals was a turning point in the public’s view of Mr. Bush’s credibility on national security. As a result, they say they are advising candidates to respond quickly and with force to Republican attacks.

Hulse points out that recent polls no longer give the GOP any significant advantage on the issue of terrorism and that the 9-11 Commission leaders say the Iraq war drains resources needed to protect Americans at home. He quotes Senate Minorty Leader Harry Reid on the GOP’s less than impressive track record:

During the 2002 and 2004 elections, Republicans tried to sow fear in the American public by claiming that they were the only ones who could keep America safe. This from the same crowd that has driven Iraq to the brink of disaster, left Osama Bin Laden on the loose to attack again and continues to ignore our security needs at home.”

With the anniversaries of 9-11 and Katrina fast approaching, Dems have a unique opportunity to put the GOP on the defensive. And they are already on it, Hulse says:

A video Monday on the Web site of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee showed footage of Osama bin Laden, referred to an increase in terror attacks, highlighted illegal immigration and pointed out the nuclear aspirations of Iran and North Korea.
“Feel safer?” it concludes…

The answer to that question, more than any other, will likely determine the outcome of the November elections.

One comment on “Dems Seize National Security Issue

  1. Matthew Cowan on

    An E-mail I got last week announced that the Democratic Party had “gone on offense” on national security. I was glad to read that and even sent them a few bucks. However, Democrats still haven’t caught on completely to what “offense” is. Carl Hulse’s article says Democrats have been advised to respond. Responding isn’t the same as going on offense. The Democrats plan to attack some of Bush’s failures and offer an alternative defense strategy. That’s competing, but not fully attacking. Offense is when one goes directly at his opponents position and the opponents position becomes the central issue. Offense is taking place when the opponent is on defense. To truly go on offense,the Democrats must attack Bush’s plan for his “war on terror.”
    The Bush plan for his “war on terrorism” is beyond extreme and all the way through insane. Bush plans to install democracies in every country where terrorists might live. To do this, Bush is willing to prosecute a century of consecutive wars. Bush isn’t worried that the lives and money lost in the wars will exceed by numerous multiples anything the terrorists might do to us if we do nothing and leave our doors wide open. Bush isn’t worried about all the terrorism a century of wars might provoke. That’s because Bush is convinced that at the end of the century, the future Muslims of the Middle East will be so grateful for the democracy we’ll give them that they’ll overlook how we bombed their theocracy loving grandparents to get it. Bush believes they’ll be so grateful that they won’t want to attack the US anymore. That’s when Bush believes his “war on terrorism” will be a success. Our president has lost his mind.
    Bush keeps saying Iraq is part of the war on terror. Democrats, ever on defense, insist that its not. Bush won’t say what exactly the “war on terror” is. Since Bush won’t define it, why don’t the Democrats define it for him? Yes, Iraq is part of the war on terror, and the 100 year crusade is Bush’s plan for the war on terrorism. Would the public like 100 years worth of Iraq wars? Let Bush defend scheme.
    I haven’t heard a single Democrat talk about Bush’s war plan. Bush’s idea is so insane I can’t find a poll on it anywhere. America is pretending Bush’s idea doesn’t exist. And the Republicans get away with never mentioning Bush’s plan and instead are on offense calling we on the net and our favorite party “extremists.”
    A quick analogy to Bush’s plan would be to try to keep your house safe by sending cops everywhere in the world to catch every burglar, and eliminating every social condition that might make someone want to become a burglar, and meanwhile, leaving your doors unlocked and all your money in cash on the dining room table. Democrats want go after terrorists and the countries that sponsor terrorist attacks. Democrats just want to lock the doors and put the cash in the bank too. The Democratic approach should be sold as a more rational and more effective approach. Effectiveness means future safety. Its time to go on offense.


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