Jonathan Alter points something out in "How To Beat 'Cut And Run'"that most Democratic strategists haven't figured out as of yet- Rove goes after Democratic strong points and makes them look like weaknesses. With all this "cut and run" hooha going on, will the Democrats change their focus? Alter posits that if the Democrats drop the Iraq fiasco from their political agenda because of the labels put on them by Rove and the Republicans, then the Republicans have won. By name calling, the Republicans continuously bully the Democrats into retreating on the most pressing issue of the day. Right now, the Iraq quagmire is the most important issue on people's minds. Will the Democrats seize the moment?
Alter says it's not that hard to do either. They don't have to state every detail of their plan- just that they had one. (Most Democrats will tell you that they do have a plan and that the media is not reporting it. I say, then keep the message simple.) Nixon claimed to have a "secret plan" for getting out of Vietnam and the voters bought it. Democrats need to drive home the fact that Iraq is a distaster and it's all because of the Republican's failed policy. Alter writes: "Unless things improve dramatically on the ground in Iraq, Democrats have a powerful argument: If you believe the Iraq war is a success, vote Republican. If you believe it is a failure, vote Democratic."
He's right about that. It's NOT unpatriotic to criticize a president or a war. In fact, it's only under Bush that war critics have been labeled 'unpatriotic'. Remember when Clinton took military action, you couldn't hear enough anti-war criticism from the right (and the left too). No one was called "unpatriotic". We know that there is nothing unpatriotic about criticizing our government. In fact criticism is good for the republic. We can keep the fascists at bay.
So what can we do? Keep the heat on the Democrats to do the right thing and keep their focus on the war. Call them, write them, bug them. What the hell, bug the Republicans too. If they want to keep their jobs, they better focus on the important things- like pointing out all the policy failures and sticking to it.