"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

Saturday, April 07, 2007

This Just In: Purse Strings Have Strings Attached

Congressional Democrats,

A defining moment for the Democratic brand is upon you: how you handle the showdown with the President over Iraq War funding will be inevitably tied to the Democratic Party's ability to lead this country.

I can appreciate what you're doing -- fulfilling your political mission to challenge the current war policy because you were voted into the majority to do just that. While passing bills that attempt to handcuff the Commander-in-Chief in his ability to set war policy certainly smacks of chutzpah, you can do much better in positioning your actions and rationale with the American people.

The bill you recently sent to the President has timetables attached to the money he needs to continue his war policy. Yet Bush is effortlessly brushing aside your advances. It turns out, he's not interested in the dance (look, if he was interested in mingling with a spunky dance partner, do you think he would have married Laura?)

I understand that it is very hard to see the forest for the trees when you live and work in the forest. This is precisely why Our Karl Rove exists -- so take heed of Your Karl Rove's advice to make sure that what makes sense for the country also makes sense to the country.

"We're not giving you a spending bill. We're giving you an accountability bill."

"We're your CFO. And as CFO, we have not been at all pleased with how you're spending the people's tax dollars on this war. As a result, moving forward, you will only get money from us with strings attached."

"Our troops deserve our support, but your leadership does not. As a result, we will be providing funds for our troops to succeed, and providing you with deadlines because you do not seem to be able to set your own."

"Mr. President, the very fact that you require more supplemental spending four years into this war is a sign of failure, not leadership."

These talking points set the context that you are not political guns, but hired representatives trying to do your job responsibly. You were voted into the majority to keep this administration in check. These talking points help ensure that your actions are seen as constructive and positive, versus political and negative.

The President no doubt will continue attempting to portray you as hollow, shameless partisans trying to manipulate public opinion for political gain. You'll want to privately remind him to look in the mirror, while publicly remind him and the public that you're just doing your constitutional duty.

And, depending on how much chutzpah you have left after a few rounds of this verbal sparring, you might want to add that you have political capital, and that you plan on spending it to help move this country back in the right direction.

Postscript: A quick note regarding gun laws in the wake of the Virginia Tech Massacre: There is no one unified belief system in this country around gun control -- opinions vary greatly from state to state. As a result, it would be the most politically advantageous for Democrats to take the position of letting each state decide what's best for its citizens, but the federal government should subsidize states that choose to adopt and enforce gun control.