Their Karl Rove is staking his reputation on entrapping Democrats using "cut and run" rhetoric. Despite the fact that way too many Democrats have given him the ability to pounce like this, it still sounds to me that Their Karl Rove is turning out to be a one-trick pony who just goes back to what used to work, despite the evolving political environment (a telltale sign of a Conservative Mind). This is good news for you.
While Rove's original trick was really effective, it won't match your new set of strategies. Yes, Democrats, you need political strategies, too. No, not policy alternatives... political strategies. I know it's revolting to the Liberal Mind to think of debasing the concept of public service by polluting your message with turns of phrases designed to manipulate. But, campaigns are not public service -- campaigns are public relations drives. So, worry about doing the right thing after you get elected, OK?
In the past months, it's clear that you've avoided the Wrath of Rove by having nuanced, complex, and varied solutions to the problem in Iraq... all just to avoid the "cut and run" label. This is weak, and the polls support this assessment. Oh sure -- ducking the issue might just work if everything continues to get worse, but what if things moderate or even get slightly better in the next 10 weeks? What then?
For the midterms this fall, follow this recipe to help ensure that your current leads are sustainable, even if things stop getting worse....
Your New Set of Strategies
Deflect the "cut and run" rhetoric by proposing a philosophy -- not a policy -- that resonates with Democratic values as well as voters' sensibilities toward the war. This is the antidote to "cut and run." Deploy it at will, wherever possible. If pressed for details, see Strategy #2 below.
"I [Democrats] believe it's time for a change of course for the War in Iraq: It's time to propose and plan for a phase out of American occupation and phase in a support and rebuild effort. While it is our responsibility to help Iraq as much as we can, our 3-year occupation is hurting Iraq and hurting us - it's hurting everybody. When we're done phasing out our occupation, a new American initiative will be part of a coalition of countries who have an interest in supporting and rebuilding Iraq."Notes about Strategy #1: This strategy calls the war what it is: an occupation. Americans hate that term, and so we need to stick it in everyone's face, and link it with the Republican policy. This messaging also carefully balances our responsibility to Iraq with our need to end the occupation. Support & Rebuild is a positive phrase to be associated with. While it might be implausible to implement, it's a great philosophy to campaign on. And, if nothing else, Democrats need a philosophy to run on.
Do not get sucked into solving the problem in Iraq. You can't solve the problem, because you don't have access to the information you need to make a solid policy proposal. Only the Republican Party has full access to this information. And only the American people can give you the keys to access this critical information by voting you into the majority in Congress this fall. Only then can you come up with an alternative plan. Let your constituents know that if you gain majority status, you will instantly be chairing all of the committees, and finally restoring the balance of powers in Washington that should have been serving us all along.
"If Americans vote Democrats back into the majority this fall, Democrats will have the power to stop the spin and spend policy of Republicans and will institute a change of course."-------
Make Republicans look like the hyper-empathetic, bleeding-heart liberals on the War in Iraq that they are. Seriously, Democrats, you've completely missed this dynamic... on the War in Iraq, Bush and the Pubs sound like flaming liberals... caring all about the freedom and happiness of Iraqis more than anything budgetary or fiscal, and just presuming there is universal belief in the implicit value of this agenda. As a result, Bush and the Pubs are putting Iraq's needs above America's in terms of investment, cost, lives, and going after Al Q'aida.
"Democrats believe in completing the War in Iraq on our terms, not Iraq's terms. Democrats don't believe that Iraqis should be determining for us when we're done. When Democrats gain majority status, we will finally be able to tell President Bush and the Republicans when we're done, and why we're done."
Make Republicans look lost and confused on the War in Iraq and the so-called War on Terror. If you're thinking to yourself "how?", then you have already bought into a fallacy that the very people who envisioned and executed on these initiatives have no accountability for the results of said initiatives. It's time to wake up to the fact that it's inexcusable for Bush and the Pubs
to have a shred of credibility left on foreign policy.
"Let me break it down for the voters: You can either take a chance and trust me [Democrats] to provide leadership on how we phase out of Iraq, or you can continue to trust the very people who created this disaster in the first place."-------
Key Phrases to Recite Throughout All Campaigns:
- Republican policy of Spin and Spend in Iraq
- Democrats believe in completing the war in Iraq on America's terms, not Iraq's terms
- Democrats believe in a change of course in our Iraq strategy
- Democrats believe we need to plan for a phase out of American occupation
- Democrats believe in phasing in a Support & Rebuild effort in Iraq
- Voters have a choice: Trust us for change, or continue to trust the Republicans who got us into this mess, and can't seem to clean it up on their own.
These strategies and messages will help crystallize your philosophy, and formulate an approach to counter and neutralize the "cut and run" attack.