washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Perception of Dems Depends on Iraq Message

Amid all of the congressional maneuvering on Iraq legislation, Bill Scher of Liberal Oasis takes a step back to consider the big picture. In his article “Almost There,” Scher cites four things Dems must convey to win public support:

1. They have a plan to stabilize Iraq by disengaging militarily, and re-engaging diplomatically and economically.
2. They are doing all they can to implement that plan.
3. If the plan is blocked, it’s because Dubya and his Republican backers never want to leave.
4. A new Oval Office occupant is needed to change course.

Scher sees both the House and Senate initiatives as significant steps toward making credible arguments for the above perceptions. And the perception is what’s important here because,

The public is seeing Dems unifying around an exit strategy, and GOPers not wanting to exit. And that’s what is most important. Because these bills are never becoming law. Bush will veto, or the Senate GOP minority will filibuster. (Or Bush could sign it into law, then ignore the law.)Yet either way, Dems have the ability to show they did what they constitutionally could to end the war, but Bush keep it going and therefore, is the sole problem.

A sobering assessment. And if he is right, winning Dem candidates should create a high profile as vocal, active opponents of deepening U.S. involvement in Iraq and supporters of disengagement. When ’08 rolls around the public should have a clear, strong impression that the Democrats are the party that tried to end the quagmire, while the GOP advocated open-ended, ever-deepening entanglement. So far, the GOP is cooperating nicely.
Scher sees “message coordination” as the key:

It’s not enough to unify on the bill. You have to unify on the argument. And unify in a manner that helps voters understand what the Dem foreign policy vision is, increasing the comfort level in their ability to manage world affairs.

As the big tent party, Dems will never completely unified on specifics of disengagement/withdrawall from Iraq. But there should be enough common ground developing in the months ahead to create a message that meets this challenge.

One comment on “Perception of Dems Depends on Iraq Message

  1. Doug & Jan Parker on

    Democrats are displaying their inability to take a decisive stand on Iraq with today’s notice that they are removing key restrictions from their proposal on Iraq. They are hiding behind the “we don’t want to tie the Adminisitrations’ hands” in dealing with Iraq. Who are you kidding? We voted against the Republicans because we were sick and tired of their refusal to listen to their constituents…now, the Dems are doing the same thing! This seems to be “business as usual” in Congress.
    You were hired to do a job, so do it! Stop playing politics while people are dying! You are playing into Republican hands by fence-sitting, and may very well pay the price at the polls in 2008!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.