"Our Karl Rove is the blog you should be glad that Democratic strategists don't seem to listen to"
-- what they're saying on Republican blogs

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Democrats: Film This Scene in Black and White

This CIA leak investigation must really be terrifying the Republicans, because the fear of indictments has scared them into seeing nuances and color where there was once only black and white.

Republicans from across the spectrum of their broad-yet-weakening coalition are already priming the pump on the thinking that any indictments related to perjury or obstruction of justice to the Grand Jury are mere technicalities. They believe that it would escalate the "criminalization of politics" to see the great Rove and Libby indicted for so-called "technicalities" like lying under oath or obstructing justice.

Even though we all collectively shake our heads in disbelief over the same group of unconscionable hypocrites that just six years ago saw fit to impeach a sitting President over the same so-called "technicalities," you simply cannot let this blatant hypocrisy go unchallenged.

This is your opportunity to establish moral leadership without needing to go biblical. This is your opportunity (once again) to tie in the morality of misleading a Grand Jury with the misleading of America about the real reasons to go to war with Iraq:

"Intentionally misleading people seems to be a pattern throughout this administration. Whether it's misleading a Grand Jury or misleading Americans on just about every initiative they've pushed through, Republicans have proven to us that they can no longer be trusted with the public's business. Indictments are simply a legal response to what has been a moral problem for years."

"Morality means telling the truth to Grand Juries. Morality means being honest with Americans. Morality is a matter of character. What we now know is that the very same administration that asked you to trust them has now proven that they are not to be trusted. We can no longer trust this administration with the public's business."

"If Democrats ran Congress, you can bet that many of these alleged crimes and misdemeanors would have stopped before they hurt America. Remember this when you vote for your Senator next year."

"We don't even need indictments to prove that this administration lies and has abused the trust of the American people. We already know that Rove and Libby lied to the Press Secretary. We already know that Cheney in all likelihood lied about not knowing who Joe Wilson is. We already know that the President had to retract words from his State of the Union address. Holding a bible in one's hand does not make a person moral."

"When Americans vote in one party to run all branches of government, they should not be surprised when they find rampant abuse of power, and the decline of morality and values in the process."
Whether you use these specific talking points or not, the overall feeling of your attacks should be visceral contempt for the lack of morality and integrity in this administration. It doesn't really matter who is indicted for what, or why. It's a simple black and white issue: If they lie and mislead to push their agenda, then they cannot be trusted to push their agenda. Period.

Therefore, for the duration of this presidency, Democrats are needed in congressional leadership to bring trust back to American governance. Take this message to the streets in each state and start using morality to win back the Senate in 2006.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Democrats: Bush Administration Insurgency in Last Throes

Democratic Leadership,

As noted in a prior post, the Bush administration -- what with its seemingly bipolar attraction to an evangelical pro-life agenda at home while killing thousands of people in the name of secular freedom abroad -- is somewhat of an insurgency in our own government.

So many people (neo-conservatives, televangelists, media haters, and other extremists), with so many radical ideas, just knew that there was just no way they'd get another chance to push their fringe agendas through the American political system like they could with George W. Bush. They knew that this modern American Prince (who was already drunk with hubris) would be the ideal vessel for their policies, because - face it - he really never had to live in reality. And with no basis in reality, almost any idea floated by his desk could appear to be rational, sane, and just -- especially coming from the people the President knows and trusts the most.

As you know, both Bush Junior and Senior share many of the same policy makers and administrators in their inner circles. But Bush Senior had a little thing called experience. He ran the CIA. He was the Vice President. He was also sober. He knew all too well the ramifications that accompanied the various "visions" that the neo-cons and evangelicals espoused. This experience and sober judgment proved frustrating to the radical conservatives. The radicals found Bush Senior weak and wobbly, and later created organizations like the Project for a New American Century in the 1990's, where neo-cons fantasized about American military might toppling Saddam, creating a department of Homeland Security, and taking aim at an axis of evil.

With no opportunity to, shall we say, explore their ideological fantasies in Bush Senior's administration, you can only imagine how their pent up frustration transformed into elation when George W. Bush became President. Finally, a guy who won't hold us back like his dad did. Finally, a guy who will let us implement all the post-cold-war and cultural ideas we've been dreaming about for over a decade. A guy who not only won't understand our philosophical underpinnings (and therefore can't possibly undermine the rationale), but a guy who is also stubborn enough to not back down when times get tough. Perfect.

Which brings us back to the idea of an insurgency, where the pent up desires of radicals who finally have a way to make a difference typically make that difference in ghastly, explosive ways. This quite disturbingly describes Iraqi radicals as much as it describes some of the American radicals in George W. Bush's circle of influence.

Like all insurgencies, they eventually overreach, go a step too far, and lose their ideological credibility by completely ignoring the means they use to pursue their very ideological and unwavering ends.

Such is the story of this administration. And, as Vice President Cheney noted earlier this year, the insurgency is "in the last throes." A prescient comment, no doubt...just directed at the wrong insurgency.

It may be in its last throes, but insurgencies die hard. If you think of this administration - and the recently radicalized Republican Party leadership - as an insurgency, then you need to deal with them like one. Start reading military strategy books like Resisting Rebellion: The History And Politics Of Counterinsurgency; start thinking like national defense strategists; start separating yourselves from the insurgency by speaking out against it. Divorce yourselves from the Iraq War because of what the war really represented: a neo-conservative fantasy devised in the 1990's.

Before you critique this administration for losing the war in Iraq to insurgents, think about how you're doing against the insurgency here at home.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Democratic Leadership: Start Revving Up the Moral Indignation

Democratic Leadership,

As we approach the precipice of the outcome in the CIA identity leak investigation, it's time to start planning around positioning your party around the fallout.

No matter what the outcome of the investigation, don't get sucked into the details. You must broaden the picture for Americans, otherwise this hearing could end up deflecting the real problems onto a few White House staffers. As you know, this problem is much deeper and problematic than Scooter Libby and Karl Rove.

This is about an administration that would do just about anything - including terrorize Americans with false information about a Saddam nuclear threat - to go to war with Iraq.

As details of the CIA leak investigation continue to be reported, Americans have started hearing that this administration was hell-bent in finding evidence to support their already-determined mission to unseat Saddam Hussein. This could be seen as an insurgency within our own government. This administration acted like an insurgency when it "went to war" with the CIA, ignored terror experts like Richard Clarke, did not heed the expert advice of then Secretary of State Colin Powell, and worse, intentionally fed Powell bad information to reveal at the U.N. hearings about justifying the war.

This approach to running our government is abhorrent and immoral. It is this morally-guided belief that should be the context for all discussions around the CIA leak investigation.

Don't let any indictments drag you into a legalistic or process debate with Republicans. Stay above the fray, and use any indictments -- and the suspicious acts they allege -- as supporting the case for a larger moral indignation that should be igniting across this country around how this administration has conducted itself at our expense.

Lead in the charge that we need to bring morality back to Washington D.C.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Democratic Leadership: Their Lack of Karl Rove Proves the Need for Our Karl Rove

Democratic Leadership,

As you revel in the current apparent meltdown in the Republican Party, take some time out from the celebration and think through why this is happening at a systemic level:

Their Karl Rove is Out To Lunch.

Between health issues (he was in the hospital leading up to the Katrina disaster) and legal issues (his attention required to represent himself in the CIA leak investigation), their Karl Rove has not been acting as the "brain" of the administration full-time. And it shows.

Case in point: The Harriet Miers nomination was picked by Chief of Staff Andrew Card. Not Karl Rove.

Case in point: The first time Bush was made aware of the tragedy unfolding in New Orleans was days later, when Counselor Dan Bartlett finally got up the nerve to create a DVD compilation of the coverage of the disaster.

Case in point: Bush's latest press conference on the War on Terror was promoted poorly, received poorly, and did not advance his agenda. Shockingly, he suddenly refocused on Osama Bin Laden as our key nemesis -- the very Public Enemy #1 that he has notably not brought to justice.

Case in point: The Department of Homeland Security actually downplayed the terror warning sent to NYC regarding their subway system. Since when does the White House downplay any terror threat? Since Rove has been out to lunch.

Case in point: Bush's elementary school-quality theater production of "The President Keeping it Real with Our Soldiers," where the President conducted a little "ad hoc" Q&A with our troops in Iraq. This performance was about as real as the existence of Saddam's WMD program.

Is it troubling that the entire competence of an administration revolves around the brain of one individual? Yes. But, there is also an inherent advantage to a "top-down" strategy setting, as the prior four years have displayed. Despite the problems that this particular Karl Rove is having, the fact that having a Karl Rove did work so effectively should not be lost on Democrats.

Our Karl Rove will continue to provide Rovian advice to the Democratic Leadership until a small group of talented strategists is developed whose sole purpose is to design a single, unifying vision and plan for the Democratic party. This group should be positioned as the Democratic Senior Advisory Council, and its work products need to be consumed and reused by the Democrats of all stripes in a consistent, diligent manner.

See the Our Karl Rove post directly below to help think through how this Senior Advisory Council should strive to create a broad coalition platform designed to attract more mainstream Americans back into the party.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Democratic Leadership: Rebuild a Coalition Party

Democratic Leadership,

Bush has been one of those unique figureheads that is just vague enough in his style to allow Republicans of all stripes to project their own values upon him. As a result, each leg of the Republican party got their own idealized version of Bush. He was a social conservative. He was a fiscal conservative. He was a moderate, compassionate conservative. He was a neoconservative. He was for business. He was for the middle class. He was for women. Heck, he was even for illegal Mexican immigrants.

This, my friends, is how you build a coalition party -- and why Bush eked out something even close to 50% of the votes in two elections, despite the fact that his actual policies are either unrealistic (democracy in Iraq through military occupation) or unpopular (stem-cell research ban).

This coalition paradigm is coming into focus because, well, it's easier to see a failure than a success. And Bush's coalition party is unraveling right in front of our eyes. Failures in Iraq, Katrina, Supreme Court nominee Miers, and a host of scandals under investigation have exposed rifts in the party that were always there, but nascent because Bush promised everything to everyone. Republicans of all types held their breath... until now.

To be a majority party in a two-party system, Democrats need to rebuild a coalition, just like the Republicans did, and just like politicians do in multi-party systems across the world.

Coalition building is not easy, especially if you're used to listening only to special interests with specific points of view (hint). Coalitions worthy of majorities in this country require more than just the ability to placate and patronize (another hint)... they require deep research into understanding what each segment in the coalition wants, and remaining open to a broad set of desires. The key is then to employ deft communication and negotiation skills to prioritize these wants without giving that nasty disenfranchising aftertaste.

Coalitions are transient. And this is a good thing, because a viable party needs to continually disassemble and restructure its constituents to effectively lead a nation through the ever-evolving problems and opportunities facing us.

As you watch the Republican coalition disassemble right in front of you, seize this opportunity to hone in on this political paradigm, and go build your own.