Friday, June 16, 2006

Democrats Should Use Republican Tactics Against Them

UPDATED:Republicans once again used a partisan vote to try and pin Democrats on a resolution calling for bringing troops home by the end of the year. It's time to turn the tables on the Republicans! Let's get Democrats to use the same tactic on Republicans, turn them on the defensive. Basically be ahead of the Administration and the Republican party. If Democrats want to show that they are a better alternative in regards to national security, then let us force it on the Republicans, keep them on their toes. Here is Karl Rove's strategy for 2006: "Based on recent Rove speeches and interviews with senior GOP officials, his plan for the midterm elections echoes the strategy he plotted out in 2002 and 2004, adapted to a new and more difficult environment. He hopes to make the election a choice between the philosophies of the two parties, especially on national security, rather than a referendum on Bush's performance." Don't you hate sitting back looking at the local news and finding that sham resolutions brought up by Republicans make Democrats look bad? For example, I was sitting back this morning preparing for work, watching the local morning news. The issue of the Senate debating a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq was brought up. The way the news piece was framed made it seem that those opposed to withdrawing troops were against defending America. They didn't use polemical words such as you find on FoxNews, but the way it was framed gave that impression to the ignorant (i.e. not familiar to what is going on in Washington D.C.) viewer, i.e. the local viewer who doesn't read blogs or pay attention to anything but local news. What this does is make Democrats be on the defensive with each Republican maneuver. It's pure Rovian tactics, and much as we hate Rove, this works. Proof is how it is being portrayed in local news. Perhaps it is different in other parts, but here in Pennsylvania, where many troops just arrived home for Father's Day, talk of removal of troops "fighting for our freedom" (as it was worded), does not play well for Democratic support. Karl Rove knows exactly what he is doing, and now that he is free from being prosecuted (and free from the wimpy White House press corps, failing to pounce on the question of lying), he's putting all his efforts into making sure the November election is a referendum (as quoted above), "a choice between the philosophies of the two parties, especially on national security, rather than a referendum on Bush's performance." If Democrats cannot stay ahead of Karl Rove, they will most likely find defeat again in November. Here is the problem. Nation-wide polls say people want change, that they would trust a Democratic Congress over a Republican Congress today. Yet, when asked about their own representative, people tend to stick with their man. There is a reason change is slow, and such revolts as the 1994 switch are rare. Rove knows this. So he does two things both tied to the issue of national security. He orders the Republicans in the House and Senate to set up sham votes, (such as last year's Republican attempt to take Murtha's call for a withdrawal of troops to trap Democrats into being against national security where it mattered: the Congressional vote), which would then be a public record, usable in TV and radio ads in the Congressman's district, targeting specific districts that might have, say, more troops in Iraq than another, or had been gerrymandered enough to make it competitive for the Democrat. Democrats lost in 2002 and 2004 because of this. They were on the defensive in regards to the war. It was crafted well enough that if you voted against a Republican resolution, you were painted as against national security. So what can Democrats do? Turn the tables on the Republicans! Force votes on issues regarding the war. Take for example the fact that there are too few troops in Iraq to get the job done. We all know this. But what is being done about it? Why not force a vote on a resolution to increase troop capacity in order to squelch the insurgency. It won't mean anything, just like the Republican votes on timetables do not mean a thing (Republicans want the troops home sooner rather than later because it will play well back home for votes, but they are not going to say that publicly, because they want to paint Democrats as the ones "cutting and running."), but it will create a public record. It will force Republicans to make a choice. Will they be perceived as too light on the insurgency or will they actually stand for it? Take the issue of soldiers not getting the right armor they need. Force a vote on it. Take the issue of North Korea about to test-launch a missile that can reach California. Force a vote on it. Be ahead of the Republicans on the issue of national security. These votes won't mean a thing realistically, but neither are the Republicans's votes right now. But they will play nicely back home in the "real" battleground, for the hearts and minds of the American people. I'm sure we all can think of many other issues that Democrats can use as votes to push the Republicans against the wall on national security issues that will play well in the districts back home. But it is definitely time for Democrats to take the initiative and be ahead of the Republicans. Don't let them keep us on our toes. Force it back on them. What do you all think?

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