"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

Friday, February 03, 2006

A Real State of the Union Response

President Bush's State of the Union Address was actually not so bad as Bush speeches go. He was as patronizing as ever on foreign policy, yet fairly blunt and visionary on domestic initiatives. The overall flavor was definitely conciliatory, designed specifically to appeal to voters who have switched off this administration as an ideological bully, out of control.

Democrats need to blunt this instrument of moderation, quickly. It's not enough to simply follow the polls and say "hey, the speech really didn't give him a significant bump," and just move on. The speech needs to be debunked, point by point, over and over. Why? Because Democrats need to nationalize the 2006 elections if you have any chance of winning back majority status.

On being isolationists:

"The only thing that is isolated here is the President of the United States. He has isolated America in our war on terror because of his Iraq Mistake."
On Iraq:
"Republicans have somehow turned the War on Terror into a Civil War in Iraq. Can we really trust this party to lead us to victory, when they have not yet caught Bin Laden, and instead are getting our men and women killed in an insurgency in Iraq? Iraqi insurgents can't attack America -- but we know Bin Laden can."
On Iran:

"This administration has let the real dangers -- Iran and North Korea -- get out of hand, while getting caught up in a Civil War in Iraq, which had no ability to harm us. This administration is responsible for the priorities they set, and they are to be held to account for their wrong-headed decisions."
On Russia:

"This administration has let Iraq distract America from serious security concerns, including nuclear weapons in Russia, combined with allowing Russia to turn their backs on democracy. How can this President talk about democracy around the world and let one of our allies fall back into a dictatorship?"
On the economy:

"The President talks about all the great jobs he's created. Have you seen them? The only jobs I see growing are low paying jobs. Republicans have let China invade our economy and strengthened our reliance on China for our economy."
On American innovation:
"We completely agree with the President on innovation being the cornerstone of the American economy and American dream. The difference here is that Democrats have a history of strategically using tax dollars to foster new ideas and innovations that have led to economic breakthroughs over the past century. The Republicans on the other hand, are more focused on sending the nation into debt so that we end up spending our money on interest payments instead of the Next Big Thing that will keep America's economy strong."
On oil:

"Democrats have seen the so-called oil addiction problem decades ago, and we have consistently implemented policies to reduce our reliance on foreign energy. Put Democrats back in the majority, and you can be assured that this promise is not just lip-service, but acted on."
On Social Security:

"We applauded the President's failure to destroy Social Security because it's clear that Americans want Social Security. You know and trust that Democrats will fix Social Security and not destroy it. We like personal accounts, but we like them like we like 401ks. 401ks didn't destroy Social Security, and neither should personal spending accounts."

On marriage:
"As you know, Democrats differ from Republicans in that we want to maximize individual freedoms. Republicans seem interested in limiting all kinds of freedoms, including who you can marry, and even when Terri Schiavo could die. We believe that Americans are moral, good people, and we see no need to legislate personal freedoms."
On spreading democracy abroad:

"We agree with the President that democracy and freedom is a human right that all people deserve. Where we don't agree with the President is how to attain and grow democracies. We just don't agree that bombing and killing thousands of innocent Iraqi bystanders is the right way to sway them into a democracy. We do not believe that telling all moderate Iranians to stay home on election day is the right way grow democracies. And we do not believe that watching Russia shut down its democratic systems is a way of growing democracies. So, while we agree with the President that democracy is good, all we see is failures in his ability to execute on this worthwhile goal."

7 comments:

Gothamimage said...

While agreeing with many of your points, it seems they are still couched within Dubya's terms of reference. One thing that Bush did in his speech, aside from some clever positioning on issues, was to put forward various cartoonish phrases never retreating and how no one ever retreats and wins, etc. This is false, of course, as the President knows. Gen. Washington retreated from all the coatal cities during the revolution. Many other retreats have led to victory. Why does the WH choose to say something that they know is wrong about such a large theme. There are many theories. Anyway, just stopping by. Stop by when you get a chance.

Jon said...

Gothamimage,

Generally on OKR, we are very cognizant of not playing on the same field the administration defines. If one defines the issue, they have the home field advantage in that argument.

However, the title of this post is "SotU Response" and therefore a responsive tone and approach was taken specifically to talk back to each issue has layed out in the SotU. My opinion is that if you are going to respond to an SotU and not battle point-for-point, people will point out that you're not responding, but rather preaching. Democrats are not in power right now, so the very least they can do is provide an alternative perspective (spin) on how the President of the United States has decided to set his agenda.

Jon
OKR

Anonymous said...

IRAQ MISTAKE is a good phrase.

Dennis Schroader said...

My blog somehow popped a link up to this site and I must say that I find it interesting. I am an ardent Republican and disagree with just about everything you say, but I give you credit for creativity.

Let me just say that the real Karl Rove would remind you that you're not running against President Bush in '08. Defining your entire line of political attack against this administration is folly since it's going away anyway!

I may not agree with Democrats, but I can at least respect them when they put forth a positive agenda. You're not losing because we've somehow brainwashed the masses; you're losing because you only talk about what you stand against. Republicans win, and will keep winning, because we talk about what we stand FOR.

Frankly, I would welcome a national debate based on what your party stands for because I also don't think you can win in that arena either.

Again, interesting blog. Keep it up. We on the Right could use more folks like you. :)

Best Regards,

Dennis Schroader
Candidate
WA House of Representatives
27th District, Pos 1
www.Voters4Schroader.com
redwa.blogspot.com

Jon said...

Mr. Schroader,

Your comments are compelling and worth responding to.

You say:
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Let me just say that the real Karl Rove would remind you that you're not running against President Bush in '08. Defining your entire line of political attack against this administration is folly since it's going away anyway!
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And I say the real Karl Rove would identify a weakness in the opposition, and exploit it using innuendo, reframing of issues, and top it off with mistruths that point to gutteral - yet entirely untrue - urban legends.

I also say that Democrats in cogress have every right to make this an issue about this administration. Why? Because this congress has been complicit with every single policy decision of this administration. There has been precious little independence from the executive branch (with Specter and McCain as exceptions). Plus, with Bush's numbers in the 30s, it would be downright stupid not to link candidates like you to the current leadership of your party - President George W. Bush.

You say:
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You're not losing because we've somehow brainwashed the masses; you're losing because you only talk about what you stand against. Republicans win, and will keep winning, because we talk about what we stand FOR.
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If that were only true. This "fact" above is actually part of the brainwashing process. How many republicans run on reducing social services like college tuition grants, reduced healthcare benefits, lower benefits for war veterans, and the pure "market-driven" solutions to things like energy independence, our ecology, and global warming?

How many of you run on "laying down with your hands up, letting the executive branch run amuck in scandal after scandal, ensuring that the people's business are run by Republican lobbyists and special interest groups with no represntation of the 48% of Americans who voted for Kerry"?

How do you run on your pro-life and pro-death platform?

How do you run on your $3 trillion deficit strategy?

How do you run on your position of the government telling a husband when his wife (Terri Sciavo) can be taken off life support?

Please. You mislead like every other politician unless you're hitting the zietgiest of the public. Only then can you afford to be honest.

What it boils down to is that you guys have figured out that marketing your agenda like any modern business does is an effective way of winning at retail politics. You're right, and ahead of the Dems here.

This blog is about getting Dems into the marketing game, which will at least even the playing field of the crooks and liars so you can all stop each other from further mucking up what used to be a nation that I was so proud of.

Jon

Dennis Schroader said...

Jon,

Again, very provocative. I will agree that this congress has been complicit in out of control spending, but I am pleased to see progress moving in the Right direction. To answer some of your more direct challenges though:

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How many of you run on "laying down with your hands up, letting the executive branch run amuck in scandal after scandal, ensuring that the people's business are run by Republican lobbyists and special interest groups with no represntation of the 48% of Americans who voted for Kerry"?
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The 48% who voted for Kerry are represented by their Representatives and Senators in the US Congress, and locally by their State Legislators, Governors, City Councils, etc. In states like mine (WA) we also elect our judiciary. It is hardly accurate to say that this group goes unrepresented.

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How do you run on your pro-life and pro-death platform?

How do you run on your $3 trillion deficit strategy?
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I don't run on them at all. These are federal issues and I am running for a state level office. Again I say, confusing the issue doesn't help your cause and only serves to further cloud the issues at hand. Campaigning against candidates like me by using anti-Bush slogans is ridiculous. Debate the issues at hand.

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This blog is about getting Dems into the marketing game, which will at least even the playing field of the crooks and liars so you can all stop each other from further mucking up what used to be a nation that I was so proud of.
-----------

I would say that the Dems are excellent at marketing their ideas when they have any. The DNC is using the same old, tired tactics from a decades old playbook. The people are, for the most part, tired of politics-as-usual mudslinging. Tell us what you stand for! If it's socialized medicine, then say so, show us where it's worked in the past and lets have a debate on it. If it's subordinating our international interests to the will of the UN, say so and then let's debate it!

Rather than dodging questions, as the Left is so adept at doing, by saying "well the Republicans did it at such and such a time" or "we're against Bush for such and such a reason" why not say "I don't like the tax cuts because they haven't resulted in an increased economic growth or higher tax revenue for the government and they never do." THAT'S an affirmative position. Then provide evidence to back it up. You may have noticed, if you read any of my articles, that any time I attack the Left, I always provide examples of why they are wrong for my district and my state.

I'm not saying that all (or even most) Republican candidates practice what I'm preaching, but I do and they ought to! The party itself has set forth an affirmative agenda and it's hard to argue with results. The polls show that people prefer any solution over anything that is just anti-whatever. We've seen it even with Republican supported measures.

I think we can both agree that the overall tone of political debate has suffered over the last few administrations due to the actions of BOTH parties. If we ever want to get back to civil discourse and debate and return our government to its rightful role of handling the people's business, we need to focus more on the issues and less on "Bush lied" or "Kerry's a fraud." A political atmosphere in which we all conduct ourselves as Ladies and Gentlemen is all I'm seeking.

Once again, thank you for a thought provoking response. I do hope to continue our discussion. And please, feel free to just call me Dennis.

Best Regards,

Dennis Schroader

Jon said...

Dennis,

It appears that you are running as a state representative, so a site like OKR really is not aimed at you or how you generally use the party apparatus.

The point of Our Karl Rove is to help the Democracts blunt the historic effectiveness of Karl Rove at a national level. Karl Rove has proven through the last mid-term congressional election that nationalizing issues does help party members when there are memes that the average American care about and believe affect their lives.

It's likely that the Washington State Republican Party does not resemble the national party that much. Washington is generally a liberal state -- and Tacoma even more of a liberal area than the rural Eastern sections of the state -- which means that you're probably a centrist to be a viable Republican in your state.

And you're young, so you just haven't yet been exposed to the cynical game the national parties play. They are playing for power, not to better the good of Americans. There is too much power centralized in Washington as it is, and when one party dominates all branches, it is downright scary how much power is weildable.

There is so much power that the President was able to hypnotise the American people to believe that he's tough, even though he procecuted the war in the most inept way imaginable. It was only after Katrina did Americans figure out that there was a competence problem in this administration. The bluster was so strong that people just believed that competence was behind the confidence. Katrina showed America -- and the rest of the world -- that there is severe ineptitude in the White House, and that maybe this ineptitude is why we haven't gotten Bin Laden yet, instead of the prevailing belief that it's just "hard to do."

The fight we're fighting here on OKR is arming national Democratic leadership with effective sound bites, messaging, and strategy to make some noise in the national agenda. Democrats -- having no leadership position in Washington -- have less time at the mic to make an impact. So, they must use their time wisely. They are so used to being a majority in Washington that they've just forgotten how to be crisp and compelling. They've gotten bloated in their messaging.

Democrats do have ideas, but they have no idea how to express them anymore. This, in my opinion, is a marketing problem, not an idea problem.

Democrats are also browbeaten by the Republican Revolutionaries, and have been convinced that Americans wouldn't accept their ideas and beliefs.

Yes, Democrats want to defer to the UN for many international dilemmas. What they forget to say is that the United States created the UN (and all other global institutions) to ensure that our values and goals were represented to the world in such a way that the world thought they, too, were participating. Democrats forget to mention that the World Health Organization is part of the UN, and has been incredibly effective in managing world health and keeping Americans safe from diseases. They forget that the UN has been an ally to the US because it was setup to be one from the get-go. They forget that the UN is a way to help ensure that we are not resented as being the only superpower.

They also forgot why they are pro-choice and pro Roe v. Wade: they forgot that the framers of our Constitution were escaping state-sponsored intrusions on personal lives. They forget that women are life, too, and that one can be pro-life and still be pro-choice. They forget that while it is questionable when an embryo becomes a fetus, it is not questionable when a pregnant woman is alive and responsible for her own body and decisions. They also forget that abortion is a horrible thing and that sex education should explain how horrible it is, so that if a young mother has to make a choice, she can make an informed one.

Democrats believe in universal healthcare, because they believe -- like George W. Bush -- that it's the government's job to protect its citizens. There's just a difference of opinion of where the money should be spent to keep all Americans safe: spent in Iraq or spent on keeping Americans healthy. Military spending is analogous to healthcare spending because both are spending to ensure that Americans remain alive. Healthcare is national defense, and national defense is a form of healthcare.

Democrats believe in a strong legislature, and a limited executive branch. They believe that the more people involved in a decision, the less likely something will go horrible wrong. They understand that this will take more time and be more inefficient, but they still think it's worth it.

Democrats believe that paying debt with interest is just another form of taxation, and that lowering taxes in an era where we're increasing our debt is a fool's choice. Our taxes are not going down, just our beleif that taxes are going done. If we do not have a "rainy day fund" (something you support in your candidacy) then we will not be able to survive a rainy day. We borrow billions from China every week -- a communist country. This is the fiscal policy of this administration, and it is a national security risk.

I think if Democrats told Americans that if their taxes stay low that the Chinese might be able to destroy us by choking off our money line, Americans might have a different opinion about their tax relief.

Democrats believe in critising and challenging every decision, in an effort to make America stronger and more robust. Republicans seem to think that any challenging of government decision to be unpatriotic. Democrats believe that challenging decisions is patriotic.

I could go on, but I need to save something for my future posts to the blog...

Jon