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February 01, 2006

Dems Duck Defense Dilemma

You can't beat something with nothing:

The audience was supposed to be a gracious one.

But Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the leader of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, found himself fielding spirited questions at a breakfast meeting late last week as he laid out his ideas on how Democrats could seize control of Congress from the Republicans. When the Illinois congressman didn't include national security in his top five talking points, a man raised his hand and his voice.

"Can I give you a piece of advice?" said Ford Huffman, a Columbus attorney. "They obviously believe it's their winning issue. Why can't we get out in front with it and say there's not an issue about security? Every American believes in securing America."

Emanuel tried to answer the question, asserting his eagerness to challenge the White House, but said he does not believe national security should be a political issue. As Emanuel spoke, Huffman turned his head and told those sitting around him: "It sounds like we are trying to dodge the issue. People are going to say the Democrats are being wussies."


"We need to keep control of that conversation," Hughes said, "not be controlled by it."

Bill Goldman, a Columbus attorney, nodded in agreement. And before Emanuel could respond, he weighed in with his own set of ideas.

"What the Democratic Party needs today is the ability to articulate within each of those issues exactly what we are proposing, to give us the changes we want, and exactly what we are proposing that will give us the security that we want," Goldman said. "We believe in everything that you've said, but I think all of us are getting tired of both parties having platitudes without road maps for success. We can't just criticize Bush because it won't work."

The Democrats have a problem. Half of their "agenda" is based on paranoia -- "Bush knew," "Dick Cheney is reading my emails" -- and the other half is based on partisanship. It hardly needs saying that the Democrats would support President John Kerry's warrantless intercept program.

The other other half of the problem is a deep split in the party. A minority want to win the war on terror, and the entire party needs to send that message to convince Security Moms to vote for them; but the majority believes that war is itself a failure, and should be abandoned immediately or as soon as practicable.

And then we will fight bin Ladin with bike paths.

None of these problems are soluble. This is not a split that can be finessed or fudged, and so the only "plan" they have is to continue carping against Bush.

Democrats deride difference-drawing with them as a "campaign of fear." With a sneer. But that merely serves to show how unserious they are on this issue. This "fear" is not fictitious. There are maniacs who wish to murder us, and destroy one or three of our cities with nuclear weapons if they should happen to get their hands on them. Many blithely dismiss this possibility because it's so unthinkable -- it's so horrible a thought it barely registers. And thus the "fictitious threat" rhetoric.

But it's a real threat, and as much such devastation strains the imagination, serious men are compelled to imagine it and plan against it. Until the Democrats can imagine the world as a dangerous place in which military solutins are, sometimes and sadly, the only solution, they will continue losing elections.

Thanks to JSU.

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posted by Ace at 01:51 PM

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