"If only we would speak more carefully, we wouldn't get attacked," is the lesson far too many of us seem to draw.
The lesson we aren't learning is that defense does not win politics.
John Kerry is the king of playing it safe. He lost.
The lesson we should learn from Dean's gaffes is not that he shouldn't speak the truth. It's that we need to attack the GOP for their lies. We need a coordinated media strategy. We need Dems out there every day with talking points and issues to drive home.
The next time a Howard Dean, or a Rep Murtha or whoever stands up and says an inconvenient truth we need to repeat those truths straight up - with no waffle.
The next time a Republican says something outrageous (say one of them admits to breaking the law in a nationally broadcast speech - crazy I know, but let's pretend) we need to attack. Every talking head needs to hammer points home attacking those positions from the morning shows to the late night talk shows.
Quit playing defense. Defense loses. Give up on the idea of safe phrases. No phrase is safe. Give up on thinking that any Democrat will get a free pass from the GOP. Every Democrat will be attacked.
Our beliefs must be fought for. They need people to fight for them.