First, I find the whole notion of trying to decipher where the Dems should be, on policy grounds at least, incredibly strange. I find it especially so when it is led by Beinart. Beinart and his publication have shown themselves to be singularly without insight, utterly wrong, and unusually pendantic, without the slightest morsel of recognition of their complete failing as analysts throughout the recent period. If introspection is to be launched, surely it should not be as a result of a TNR article.
More on the flip -
Well, perhaps it's image building - or framing if you like - that is their point. That Dems are still losing the image battle. Well we are of course. And we need to do better. But what is it they dwell on? What are their ideas? Repudiate Michael Moore and MoveOn.
Well, with due respect, this is zany. What the fuck? Who declared Michael Moore and MoveOn our foreign policy gurus? Where the hell was I? What are they talking about?
Ladies and Gentleman of the Mods, please understand that LGF, Instahack and whatever wacko Right Wing blog you guys follow do not hold the zeitgeist in their hands. For your information, the Dem problem on national security image is of longstanding - long before F911 (I would argue that strongly helped us in fact), long before MoveOn (btw, who besides a hardened political junkie even knows what MoveOn is) - the Dems have been killed on national security. There was even an asshole member here who wrote the same fucking diary day after day on this for the past 15 months.
Wake up, that's not the problem. The problem is, and was for a large part of the campaign, FEAR of the issue coupled with the existing brand problem.
Now I supported General Clark, for the 3 people who may not have known that, because Clark discussed national security with a fearlessness and confidence that one would expect from a 4 star General. He excoriated the Bush Buffoons at every turn. And he had the image - the 4 stars - who's gonna say a General is soft on national security? Well, in fact, no one ever did. The attacks on Clark, many from the Left, were on so called "character" issues - never on the issue of national security.
Clark's strength was buttressed by the emergence of dissident figures from the national security establishment - Zinni, Shinseki, McPeak, Shalikshivili and importantly, Richard Clarke, whose bravura performances so damaged BushCo last spring.
Who hurt us the most? Frankly, our politicians, Lieberman in ways we all understand. Our slow moving Senators, including Biden and others. And Kerry, who was told that he could win on the kitchen table issues, and believed it, until September.
So what can work for us? In my view, what we did from September to Election Day - confidently critiquing the disaster that is BushCo, clearly expressing what we would do differently. Giving no quarter.
What should we not do? Precisely what some ModBlogs want - make the issue Michael Moore. Frankly, for the very intelligent people who make this suggestion, I can only shake my head - this is truly a moment of monumental stupidity from some very bright folks. I can't imagine they will feel comfortable with this opinion even a week from now. It is ludicrous.
One final point. Not surprisingly, the ModBlogs are defensive on Iraq. I can understand that. They should be. But this defensiveness leads to more silly things. Move past Iraq they say. Iraq is not the War on Terror they now preach to US!!
Well, sorry, but no sale NOW! Iraq is important on policy and politics grounds. We can not form a coherent strategy on terror and ignore Iraq. That's just stupid. It is now surely a huge factor in the War on Terror, just as surely as it was not when the decision to invade was made.
On the politics, it is our calling card, it is our opportunity - we bang the Republicans over the head with Iraq - this is so obvious as to again, make you wonder how smart people could have written such silly things. Well they are wrong, again, on Iraq.