Bits and Pieces

Saturday, February 21, 2004

How The Democrats Can Beat Bush

Forgive me. I know little of politics. I have never held office, never chosen to vote, and don't even live in the US. However, it seems to me that the Democratic Party have lost their way. In fact they lost their way at some point before my birth, but it's as bad today as I have ever seen.

Even during this make-or-break time, as America chooses the man who will lead the fight against George Bush, I fail to see any coherent message, any solid strategy for the Democrats. I hear nothing but Republican bashing. Let me tell you, in the few years since Bush came to power he's proved remarkably adept at wriggling out of bad press. Asleep at the wheel on 9/11; the shocking handling of the economy; unnecessary wars (two of 'em) - Teflon George has wriggled out of harm's way. He's managed to turn the voting public into clones of the British public during WWII, when we were more than willing to suffer any hardship and make any sacrifice, including sending our sons off to die on foreign soil, in order to beat the enemy. Bush has had this weapon for almost three years, and he and his administration have employed it masterfully. In the upcoming months they will turn it on the Democrats.

If the Democrats are to have any hopes of winning in November they must change their tack. They won't win by bad-mouthing Bush, saying he's been doing it all wrong. They need to let the public know they can do it better. I'm reminded of a scene in an episode of the West Wing in which Leo McGarry is concerned that the President has been keeping away from controversial issues so as not to ruin his chance at re-election:-

McGarry: Listen up. Our ground game isn't working. We're gonna put the ball in the air. If we're gonna walk into walls I want us running into them at full speed.

Lyman: What are you saying?

McGarry: We're gonna lose some of these battles. We might even lose the White House. But we're not gonna be threatened by issues. We're gonna put them front and centre. We're going to raise the level of public debate in this country... And let that be our legacy.

My message to the Democrats is this: find a destination. Find a destination, and don't stop until you get there. Forget about all the negative politics, forget about Bush's service record and all the other non-issues. Republicans can play the negative game just as well. Be strong on issues that matter. Don't sugar coat it to appease the majority. If the majority don't agree with your policies then you can spend the next four years in opposition trying to change their minds.

If they lose in November after following my advice, at least they'll lose with dignity. If they lose with their current strategy, they'll lose more than an election.
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