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Friday, February 19, 2010

Democrats' Nonexistent Security Message

Finger to lipsI wrote Monday that Democrats suck at messaging. My evidence was a poll showing that 88% of respondents believed that President Obama had raised their taxes, when in truth taxes had been cut for 95% of Americans. My conclusion; Democrats never talk about those tax cuts.

How could so many people be so wrong? Because no one ever tells them otherwise. In a similar situation in the Bush White House, the answer to almost every question would've begun, "As you know, we cut taxes for 95% of Americans..." It wouldn't make any difference what the question was. The administration that began every other sentence with "On 9/11..." would never have allowed 88% of Americans to believe they didn't get a tax cut.

I'm not sure what it is about Democrats -- it's like they refuse to educate. Maybe they think it's beneath them or something. So Republicans go out and fill the void by telling outrageous lies, leaving Democrats wasting their time on crap like "death panels" and arguments over whether or not Obama's a citizen. By failing -- or refusing -- to get out in front and trumpet their achievements, Democrats wind up cleaning up the trivial crap Republicans drop all over our national dialogue and no one is the better for it.

The reason I bring all of this back up again is that Greg Sargent has found yet another area where Democrats suck at explaining how good they are -- terrorism.

...Republicans are framing the debate on these issues, and more and more Congressional Dems are breaking with the White House on them. In other words, the Dems are following the GOP script.

Worse, this is happening even as the White House is, in fact, mounting a major effort to engage the GOP on these issues. Obama counter-terror chief John Brennan and Joe Biden have aggressively engaged Dick Cheney and other Republicans in recent days, arguing that Obama’s counter-terror policies are succeeding and are superior to GOP policies.

But on this message, the White House has no meaningful support from Congressional Dems to speak of, and it’s waging this fight virtually alone.

What's especially aggravating is that Republicans are awful on security. 9/11 happened on Bush's watch and Iraq, torture, Gitmo, and warrantless wiretapping have done absolutely nothing to make us any safer. But somehow, the face of this record of failure -- Dick Cheney -- has become a thorn in the White House's side. Democrats, cowed by Republicans empty "tough talk," have given up on a fight the Obama administration is actually winning.

At the risk of being accused of cutting and pasting a lot of this post, here's Spencer Ackerman on the Obama administration's record on national security and terrorism:

So over the past several weeks the Obama administration has successfully interrogated Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab without torturing him — something Dick Cheney simply can’t contemplate — and will try him in a federal court, where he’s sure to be convicted. Then it continued to launch missile strikes in Yemen (not that that’s such a good thing!) on Abdulmutallab’s overlords in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula that caused a former Bushie to whine that there was too much terrorist-killing and not enough terrorist-capturing. So then the administration worked with Pakistan to capture the deputy commander of the Taliban and that was just for starters. Obama’s approval rating on national security has increased since Abdulmutallab.

Yet congressional Democrats are running scared from any discussion of national security. It's maddening. All Republicans have are empty-headed talking points and failed policies. They're as wrong on terrorism as they have been on the economy. In fact, Barack Obama won big after taking on those very hollow talking points and policies -- yet Democrats are acting as if the Republicans won in 2008.



[Insert especially foul curse word here]

No wonder Democrats are in trouble in this cycle -- they refuse to defend themselves. They're so afraid of losing that they won't fight any fight at all -- even when it's a gimme. Which, in turn makes every fight a gimme... For the GOP, anyway.

"The Republican leadership even sent House GOPers back to their districts this week with a very specific set of talking points, sent over by a source, telling them precisely what to say to constituents about [national security and terrorism]," Sargent writes. "There’s no sign whatsoever that Congressional Dems were given anything similar, or even that Dem leaders have spent any time developing a strategy of their own. Are you hearing any concerted pushback, or any message at all, on these issues from Dems?"

No, I haven't. Democrats have conceded ground there was absolutely no reason to concede. Just as they've conceded taxes, healthcare, and are in the process of conceding the economy. If Democrats even come close to losing either chamber in November, it's because they didn't care enough about their ideas to fight for them.

Which kind of makes you wonder why the hell they thought they should run for office in the first place.


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Anonymous said...

I agree, I agree, I agree.
That is why the world needs people like you to post reality.

I get so tired of hearing Republicans and supporters talking shit, just repeating it over and over until the sheep start repeating it too.

Where are the Democrats and why don't they defend themselves?
Do they not want to stoop to that (bottom of the barrel) level? Okay, understandable, but come on! At least have some snazzy comebacks!
Love your blog.
You are awesome.

Wisco said...