"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

Monday, March 05, 2007

Democrats: Are you our Mommy or our CFO?


You are still missing the mark in the opposition on the War in Iraq. You appear to be trapped in the mindset that it's your job to fix Bush's mistakes, and that America is looking to you to right all of Bush's wrongs. While this is certainly understandable, it's not working.

You are trapped in this mindset because you think of yourselves the wrong way. You have to shift your focus and rethink your persona: Are you the Mommy that wields the power of the purse and cares solely about the well-being of each soldier? Or are you the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) that invests funds to support the appropriate winning strategies?

As political leaders in charge of the budget, Americans want a CFO.

As CFO, you will shift your focus from the troops, troop levels, and troop deployments to America's approach to foreign policy. And as CFO, you also need to think of your budget as the tool that advances America's strategies that you decide are worth investing in.

As you rethink your role as CFO, you will start to see that your attempt at getting directly involved in the Iraq War planning is a losing proposition. Since you're not in the direct line of military command, you simply cannot know what troop levels, caps, or deployments are needed. In business terms, you should be a strategic executive, yet you are acting like an operations analyst. That's why the term "micro-manager" keeps cropping up.

Worse, getting involved in the details entangles you in Bush's disastrous strategy: If you get your way, then anything bad that may happen moving forward can -- and will -- be blamed squarely on you and your troop management policies. If you don't get your way, then you're just an ineffective body trying -- but failing -- to micromanage the President.

Hello? Aren't any of your staffers and strategists telling you this?

Moving forward, you have to do two things: Get unraveled from the war execution details, and then re-assert your role as the Chief Financial Officer.

First, some talking tips to help re-separate Democrats from the failed Republican foreign policy strategy:

  • The fate of our troops remains in the Commander-In-Chief's hands -- not Congress'.
  • The President should be listening more closely to Congress, but he won't until Republican congressmen support us.
  • Our troops risk their lives every day, and we want the President to think about how to best deploy our military every single day.
  • Because the administration is still solely responsible for the war effort, every loss America takes is a result of a failed Republican foreign policy strategy.
  • Stop talking about getting our troops "out of harm's way." Our armed forces volunteered to be trained to be in harm's way. That's their job. It's the Generals' job to ensure their troops are safe, not the Congress. You sound like the Mommy Party when the country really needs strategic leadership.
As the Mommy, you're missing the opportunity to influence America's real foreign policy challenges and hold the President and your Republican colleagues accountable for mismanaging the Iraq War and the greater War on Terror.

From the CFO persona, think through these ideas and embed them into your messaging:

  • Bush's pet project in Iraq is a very dangerous experiment. The Taliban and Al Q'aida are regrouping in Afghanistan, where the President took his eye off the ball.
  • This is not about Iraq and troop surges. This is about a failed Middle East engagement.
  • Bush's foreign policy is not how you stop terrorism. This is how you create more terrorism aimed at America.

And if you're looking for a cute soundbite to cut through the news clutter:

"Just like Vice President Cheney, President Bush misfired and shot Iraq in the face when he should have been aiming at Afghanistan."

These are broader strokes, and exactly what the Congress should be talking about. You should be cutting Bush's foreign policy strategy off at the knees, and not at the toes.

One of the advantages of talking strategically is that you can gain broad consensual agreement when there are no details. In addition, you will reset the context of the debate from tactics to strategy, which is exactly what the budget should be tied to. Since you have the "power of the purse" (which evokes motherly images), rethink your persona and be the equivalent of a CFO -- and invest dollars against a strategic plan.

Americans will be more impressed with a CFO's investment decisions than where Mommy decided to spend the money in her purse.


Anonymous said...

Where the hell did Karl go?


Anonymous said...

I hope you've sent this to every Democrat in the House and Senate!

Anonymous said...

Funny how the "first president with an MBA" needs to look to us Dems for a CFO. So be it. You're right. This tack will work.
This post is why SoonerThought.com links here. Intelligent Kung Fu to use fighting the Ridiculous Right.

Anonymous said...

OKR has been a staple in the Congressional race I was involved in. I hope the column keeps on giving good insight. Karl Rove is a tactition and terror is a tactic. Yellow Cake from the SOU is still in the news. The pulling of 3 sky scrapers into their basements because 2 airplanes were crashed into 2 of them cannot be explained away. Keep yor eye on the yellow cake and sell the hot scrap over seas and build the USS New York out of the demolished World Trade Center. Who cares who leaked a name. Why are we in Iraq?