"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, July 29, 2007

Operation Iraqi Framework


We're already starting to hear tidbits of the impending Republican September Strategy -- showing statistical improvements in Iraq to put a halt on public pressure to get out. These 'improvements' include talking points around the decline in American deaths thanks to the surge, and the increase in peaceful areas in Baghdad.

You cannot allow this administration and Republicans to take back the framing of this war.

Democrats need to create an entire framework around the Iraq Debacle that is simple, honest, and impenetrable:

The Democratic Iraq War Framework

  • Re-brand the War in Iraq as the "Iraq Debacle." Looking at the situation on the ground, it does not resemble a situation that most Americans would classify a war -- therefore, it isn't. There aren't two sides, there isn't a clear sense of how one side can win, and it's not clear to anyone what we're fighting for. So, nix the term 'war' from your rhetoric so we all can get out of the Bush/Republican framework of 'war' -- a framework that gives them more implicit power.
  • America wins by avoiding debacles. One of the 'gotchas' that the Republicans have is that Dems look like "defeatists" when they say we've lost the war and it's time to bring the troops home. That's just playing into the Republican framework. Shift it so that Democrats are for successfully guiding America out of Bush's Iraq Debacle. You want to be on the side of winning, no matter what. In order to always win, you need to re-frame the debate so that you're on the winning side. Take a look at how Republicans politic -- they are naturals at this trick.
  • There are better ways to fight terrorism than keeping our soldiers in Iraq. This is a simple yet fundamentally key point that has not be effectively made by Democrats to-date. Unfortunately, the Democratic line has been "getting our troops out of harm's way" -- which acts to re-enforce the negative Democratic brand attribute of "cut and run" wusses. Getting out of Iraq (how we get out is a completely other topic) needs to be re-framed in positive, strategic, and tough terms. What are the "better ways"? This will be the subject of a future OKR post.
  • No more excuses. This is a simple frame up that will resonate with the masses. Americans are simply exhausted and have had enough of shifting rationales, new generals, new strategies, and new excuses. This doesn't mean that we lost in Iraq; rather, it means that Republican management of wars isn't what it used to be, and until there is a new Commander-in-Chief, it'd be foolish to continue prosecuting a war under such terrible management.
  • FearSpend vs. SmartSpend. Thus far, figures are upward of $1 trillion for the Iraq Debacle to-date. This is FearSpend. It hasn't stopped Bin Laden or Al Q'aida, and it has done nothing to reduce terror. It hasn't even stopped people from trying to attack us on our own soil. Democrats will introduce the idea of SmartSpend -- where we spend our money -- and utilize our troops -- in areas where there will be a payoff in national security.
These pillars of a new Democratic Framework for Iraq will help you redefine the current state, the future state, and crystallize the Democratic position on Iraq, terrorism, and convey a semblance of foreign policy leadership.

There is much more work to do. Democrats really do need a compelling foreign policy doctrine that goes head-to-head with the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war, over-there-vs.-over-here, and the belief that sovereign states are at the core of terrorist funding and ideology.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Republicans Don't Care About Americans


The subject of this post pretty much gets right to the point: All the evidence points to the unfortunate truth that the majority of Republicans don't much care what Americans think, because the majority of Republicans are loyal first to their party, not to the country.

This is certainly an attack position in party politics, which I know is not a normal position for you to take (in contrast, you've spent the last six years defending yourselves from Republican party attacks). But it's worth getting a spine and stepping up the rhetoric, if for no other reason than to help voters understand that when they vote Republican in this day in age, they're no longer voting for America's best interest, they're instead voting primarily for the best interests of the Republican party.

Voters need to chew on this for a while and see how it tastes as it settles in.

Like any good liberal/progressive, I understand that you'll want proof before you assert such strong positions. No problem. Read on...

The current political environment invites this conclusion. Do the math: count the heads and divide by the totals, and the results will show that the majority of Republicans in Congress (and Republican presidential candidates) stand for things that the majority of the country does not:

  • The vast majority of Republicans in the congress (and presidential candidates) continue to support the President's Iraq plan. They vote to fund it, they vote to stay the course, and they vote to stop any Democratic bills that would shift course. They stuck with the President despite the fact that the war has been failing for three years, and costing American taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.
  • The vast majority of today's Republican congressmen and presidential candidates are not calling for Attorney General Gonzales to resign, or for Bush to fire him.
  • The majority of Republicans running for President support the President's decision to commute Scooter Libby's sentence.
  • The majority of Republicans support the President's liberal use of executive privilege as a way to hide behind probable White House scandals.
  • The majority of Republicans stand behind Bush's overall approach to his War on Terror.
In all of these areas, the majority of Americans disagree with the majority of Republicans (yes, several Republicans are now re-considering their loyalty after years upon years of blind loyalty to a deafening ideology, yet a vast majority in the House still support almost all of the President's policies even today).

How and why did this happen? When Republicans are elected, they look up before they look around and down. In other words, Republicans have loyalty to their leaders first, then to their colleagues, and then to their constituents. It's just how many have found the Conservative Mind to operate. This fits into why conservatives tend to have more religious fervor than liberals (and seemingly less concerned about the poor and weak) -- they look up before looking around and down.

This is not necessarily a bad thing -- I'm not judging the Conservative Mind one way or another. But that doesn't mean that you can't use this conservative orientation as a way to besmirch the Republican brand.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but this is about concept generalization - which is a key approach to making a message stick with a general audience. And as we all know all too well, Republicans liberally use liberals' high regard for debate, discussion and equality to devalue the strength and integrity of the Democratic party brand in the minds of so many Americans, so it's only fair that Democrats use Republican traits to tarnish their party brand as well.

Some talking points to help drive this message into the voters' psyche:
"Republicans are following their party leadership like lemmings off a cliff."

"Republicans are so loyal to George Bush that they have become deaf and blind to what America stands for."

"Before you vote Republican, understand that they are not representing you -- they represent their inside-the-beltway party leadership first and foremost."

"The Republican party used to stand for justice, honor, small government, and smart foreign policy. That time has passed, and now Democrats are the party that represent true American values."

"By not supporting a vote of no confidence for Attorney General Gonzales, Republicans have shown the American people that they are more loyal to their party leadership (the President) than they are to America's rule of law, order, and justice."

"The Republicans' War on Terror has turned into a Terror of a War thanks to ignoring all facts and standing along side their reckless and dangerous Commander-in-Chief."

"Republicans have, through a series of poor decisions and bad judgment, wrecked all of the things Democrats put in place in the 1990s - because the Republican party's needs were more important to them than America's needs."

"Beware: Republicans will follow their leader before they'll follow the truth."