Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Regular readers will recall that after the election, I started a series of posts on what the Democratic platform for 2008 should look like. It's time--past-time, actually--to return to the subject.

In the past few months, as frustration and opposition to the war has grown, the political situation has changed as dramatically as at any time in memory. Political support for the war has declined much more sharply than it did during any comparable period during Vietnam, including the months immediately after the Tet offensive. Although that development has resulted in some additional scrutiny and criticism of the entire strategy (if you can call it that) behind the GWOT (Global War on Terror for those not big on acronyms), there has not been nearly enough.

Now it's my view that, no matter how low the President's approval ratings, no matter how little support the war has in 2008, the Republics' strategy will be to paint Democrats as weak on national security. (The only exception might--just might--be if Chuck Hagel or another anti-war Republic is the nominee. Which is highly unlikely.) Bad as the Republics' record has been, given their position and their Rovian habit of attacking Democrats' perceived strength, they will attempt more of the same in 2008. Oh, and it's hard to see what other approach to national security policy they could take. (If you have an idea for such another possible Republic approach, please let me know!)

What should Democrats do? Bypass the Iraq-war issue, avoid getting drawn into an argument over who's tougher on terror. Change the debate to this: What is the American ideology? What ideas do we put into the field to counter those who oppose us, whether Islamist extremists, Hugo Chavez and his allies or even our friends, the French? This would not only be a wise tactical approach, it might actually help the nation--if Democrats can express such an ideology cogently and show how to make it real.

The first step is to define what the American ideology is, or should be. More about that in a later post or, more likely, several of them. If you want to get a head start, feel free to tell us your ideas.

No comments: