We know that we are at the hour when there is no choice to engage fully in the battle. The recent set of attacks intended to demonize liberals and Democrats cannot be allowed to stand. Our strength is that on issue after issue, the public in general is inclined toward our side. The trouble that Dems and progressives get into when they try to steer people back to issues is that it turns into a laundry list, and people tune out. There needs to be a unifying theme and a clear target for the message to sink in.
There's a single unifying them that I suggested repeatedly back during 2004, that of course was never picked up, but it remains one that ties together the entire critique: The irresponsibility of Dubya Bush and his right-wing cronies...
Irresponsible tax cuts that squandered our surplus into record deficits.
Irresponsible failure to act on the warnings about al-Qaeda intentions to strike America.
Irresponsible "fixing of the facts" in the rush to war in Iraq.
Irresponsible inadquate plans for reconstruction of Iraq and for an exit strategy.
Irresponsible failure to properly supply and equip our serivce people in Iraq.
Irresponsible failure to serve the needs of our veterans.
Irresponsible political diversions from serious criticism of the war in Iraq and the War on Terra.
Irresponsible scheme to turn America's Social Security over to his Wall Street buddies.
Irresponsible failure to fund their own education initiative.
Irresponsible economic policies allowing America to hemorrhage not just jobs but entire industries.
Irresponsible pandering to religious extremists in matters of science.
Irresponsible suppression of stem-cell research that could aid millions of Americans and others around the world, irresponsibly undermining American competitiveness on the leading edge of biomedical science.
Irresponsible failure of stewardhsip of our environment.
Any tactic works best if you can personalize the issue in an individual target; it is useful if the target is understood to fit the image well. Reaction ahs worked long and hard for 35 years creating the stereotypes Rove played on.
Every American knows at some level that Dubya is irresponsible. Everyone knows he was an irresponsible party boy; many, even among his supporters, aren't particularly thrilled with the irresponsible way he walked off from military service. Many know he ran his business operations into the ground by irresponsible carelessness and inattention. Even the one business he cared about, he irresponsibly traded away Sammy Sosa.
It is a theme that works because it fits the target, is supported by the facts, and unifies the critique. If the Democrats ever figured out that they need to fight with a disciplined message, IMO irresponsiblity is the gold mine.