"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

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Democrats: Stronger, More Honest Language is Needed


With your newly regained power in full throttle in congress, it's admittedly more difficult to provide useful political messaging advice on a regular basis. Compared to the days of John Kerry and Al Gore leading the party, the Democrats are much more in-step with how America likes to be spoken to. For instance, Jim Webb is the perfect "voice of the Democratic Party" to give the response to the State of the Union address. In fact, it might be the first time in decades where the response is stronger than the address.

However, there continues to be a serious problem. With the Iraq debacle, while you have come out strongly against the administration's "surge" strategy, there are two major problems with your approach that need to be addressed now:

  1. You aren't being honest with yourselves or with the American people (even though you might think you are): You are not really against a "surge." How can you be? How can you really be against adding reinforcements that our troops so desperately need if they're going to be stuck in Iraq like the President demands? To repeat: if the President is determined to keep our troops in Iraq, then they do need additional support.

    What you actually are -- and should be -- against, however, is the President's leadership and judgment as Commander-in-Chief. So, it's not that you don't support additional troop support, it's that you don't respect the Commander-in-Chief's judgment any longer. This is direct, to the point, politically expedient, and imminently accurate.

    Think about it: If we actually trusted this administration's ability to execute a war strategy effectively, then a majority of people would support this surge. In fact, weren't most Democrats and Generals in support of adding more troops back in 2004? Of course, but that was before we had the unmistakable evidence in hand that this was a confident-not-competent administration.

  2. You are letting Senator Hagel be the mouthpiece of reason to lead the bi-partisan offensive against this administration's war strategy. This is a mistake in the context of rebuilding and recasting the Democratic Party brand with the American people.

    Sure, you burnish your bi-partisanship credentials by walking side-by-side with Hagel, but if you ever want to be in the executive branch again, the idea of a Democrat has got to be more than being decent and reasonable -- Democrats also need to have the strength and conviction to make the tough decisions and stand by them even when they're not bi-partisan.

Here are some talking points to support these ideas:

"Democrats and Americans have had a lot of patience with this administration's ability to conduct the Iraq war. Unfortunately, we have no choice but to express our loss of confidence in their ability to lead our troops to victory. So, for as long as this administration remains in office, we have no choice but to push for withdraw and redeployment. Due to the failed policies of this administration and the failed Republican congress of the past four years, we are unfortunately left with no better options for our brave men and women."

"Most Democrats and Americans would prefer that their government conduct itself in a bi-partisan, pro-American manner. And to show this commitment, Democrats have quickly established bi-partisan partnership in our campaign against this President's Iraq strategy. Let's be clear, though: The Democratic-led congress will not be bullied or threatened by an administration that has lost support both here and abroad. Not since Nixon has an administration's credibility been so tarnished by getting so many things so wrong, and all the while abusing the trust and power we, the people, entrust with this great office."


Anonymous said...

The absurdity of people calling the presiden's plan a surge, an escalation or, in dear Condi's words, an augmentation is amazing to me. This is just "Stay the Course" with fancied up flim flam. And the flim flam isn't really new: haven't we heard beforge that we are going really, really cleanout the bad guys, then hold the area the bring services and rehabilitation.

We 'surged' in troops to a total of over 160,00 for the elections so this 'surge' is less than we 'surged' for a short term activity, And for that we also had a complete lockdown of all motor vehicles.

Dems should say to the President "If you get the urge to surge, look to Afghanistan where the danger is increasing and the Taliban are getting stronger. A 'surge' there of 21000 troops would do some real good.

But why the hell are we trying to shore up the establishment of a theocracy in Iraq? The PM, al Maliki was driven out right around Saddam's rise to power because he, al Maliki was a member of a radical Muslim group who wanted to turn Iraq into a n Islamic theocratic state. He spent most of his exile in Syria where he helped establish the group Hezb'ala. He was also a member of the Iraqi whatever group that lobbied US to get into this war. Prior to becoming PM he was in charge of the deBathification program which caused so much harm.

Actually what this mess is about is NOT Sh'ia vs Sunni as much as it is Sr'ia religous theocrats vs.. seculars. (plus a whole lot of old grudges being settled and rampant, uncontrolled crimminal gangs that flourish the whole world over where there is chaos.) The Sunnis mainly want Americans to get out and feel that those who cooperate with US, whether sh'ia or sunni, are prolonging our stay.

But what lends credence to the idea that it is a secular vs theocracy brawl underlying the situation in Iraq are the facts that by summer 2004 over 200 of Baghdad (and across the land) of the university professors and MDs were assinated; most of the rest fled. The second fact is that the secular professionals, who were moslems but did not want a theocratic government, who were being successful, such as the enginner who was put in place at the ministry for electricity were killed (the woman in charge women's affairs), imprisoned (the engineer forgot his name), run out of Iraq (the chief Archeologist, formerly head of the Iraqi Museum).

They recognize what is happening and have said you can't run a government by the relious for that read the fundamentalists.

Fundies can't run a government. We should know that from here - the incompetence is staggering. The "reframing" of facts to fit the religious viewpoint is pre-eminent And if you are a fundie, who knows the one right truth, you only want your own kind around you. That beats making things work. So what is wrecking things in Iraq is exactly the same as what is wrecking things here.

But that is George W's aim. Wreck the pinata that he see the US as so he and his buddys can get all the goodies and the heck with other people or the future. As for Iraq, King George doesn't intend to leave (to whit the Vatican sized Green Zone-American Embassy); he cannot comprehend that the Republican won't continue in the White House and they won't "reclaim" congress. (John McCain has already been annointed & the scummiest of bush's campaign workers have already been signed on.)

Anonymous said...

I'm a first-time visitor to your blog. Very impressed.

REFORM seems to be all the rage right now in DC and state capitols. Obviously, because people voted for "change." How would you phrase and frame the debate over reform so it resonates with voters?

Anonymous said...

Great comments, folks.

Sam -- we hear your frustrations, and be assured that we'll be transforming these thoughts and ideas into digestible nuggets for the masses.

Anonymous -- thanks for the kind words. You're right, REFORM (or CHANGE) is the tide in the nation right now. This is less about personalities and parties, and more about which personalities reflect results-based management vs. idea-based theories.

The idea-based theories of the Bush administration seduced this nation for 4-6 years. But, just like in business, when the idea guys can't implement their ideas effectively, they're eventually pushed out and the more straight-shooters who "get things done" roll in and solve problems.

We'll be using this blog to capture these trends and transform them into messages that the party can use to help capture the cultural zeitgeist.

Our Karl Rove,

Anonymous said...

You're wonderful. Please tell me that you are in contact with Pelosi and Reid's people, and with all the major '08 campaings.

Any Democrat that does not cinsider your advice does not deserve the privilege of elected office.

Anonymous said...

When are you going to post again? I have recommended your blog to all the important Dems.

Jon a.k.a. "Our Karl Rove" said...

Will be posting soon. Thanks for the great feedback. One of the important things to remember about this blog is that there will only be a post when there is something substantive to share. Sometimes, that happens every other day... other times, about once a month.

Stay tuned...

Anonymous said...

I got so much from the post these comments are attached to, I will keep checking. But irregular posting virtually guarantees something important you have to say will be missed. Add to that that there is so much going on now that would seem to be worthy of responses/advice from 'Our Karl Rove,' - please weigh in again as soon, and as often, as possible.

Jon a.k.a. "Our Karl Rove" said...


I highly recommend "subscribing" to OKR using the subscribe tool on the top-right of the page. This will assure you that you will get every new post delivered to your inbox. You can always unsubscribe any time you want.

If there are specific topics you would like to be commented on here at OKR, then please post them in the comments section.

Many posts are a result of seeing a dire need for direction where there doesn't appear to be any.


Dave said...

Touching on your earlier post about strong language about the war, why is it that de-funding the war always has to be an argument hinged on the process and how it relates to the troops?

The Framers gave Congress, and only Congress, the power to start A War. They also gave them one unequivocal way of ending a war: cutting funds.
The power of the purse is a vehicle to implement policy, not an actual policy choice. Yet, that implementation is always the focus of the debate, because it's become attached to the notion of soldiers in the field being unprotected, and is part of the larger "Support the troops" narrative.

Is there any way for Congress in general, and Democrats specifically, reclaim the process of cutting funds and detach it from the policy choice of ending the war?