Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Democrat Armageddon, Part Deux

Matt Yglesias:

A well-executed campaign of fear-mongering on national security beats even the best domestic social policy message imaginable. Democrats can't put their heads in the sand about the NSA and Iran and expect better health care policy to save the day.

E.J. Dionne

By not engaging the national security debate, Democrats cede to Rove the power to frame it. Consider that clever line about Democrats having a pre-Sept. 11 view of the world. The typical Democratic response would be defensive: "No, no, of course 9/11 changed the world." More specifically, there's a lot of private talk among Democrats that the party should let go of the issue of warrantless spying on Americans because the polls show that a majority values security and safety.

What Democrats should have learned is that they cannot evade the security debate. They must challenge the terms under which Rove and Bush would conduct it. Imagine, for example, directly taking on that line about Sept. 11. Does having a "post-9/11 worldview" mean allowing Bush to do absolutely anything he wants, any time he wants, without having to answer to the courts, Congress or the public? Most Americans -- including a lot of libertarian-leaning Republicans -- reject such an anti-constitutional view of presidential power. If Democrats aren't willing to take on this issue, what's the point of being an opposition party?

Both of them are dead right. A lot of Democrats continue to rejoice over the possible corruption schemes against the GOP, but expecting the other team to screw the pooch isn't going to result in wins in 2006. Democrats STILL have failed to deal with National Security issues in any constructive way. Every time something happens in Iraq we get defeatists who want immediate withdrawal (who are correctly painted as people who want to "cut and run") or some sort of dissembling Kerryesque straddle about failed management of the war effort. That won't win. Focusing on domestic policy alone, won't win. Believe it or not, there are major Security Threats taking place right now when it comes to Iran, not to mention a lot of other simmering pots on the backburner like Sudan, Israel/Palestine, and North Korea. Democrats have no answers to these problems, nor even a coherent way to talk about them without resorting to Vietnam analogies and snarkiness in regard to Iraq.