Code Words

There has been a lot of talk lately about how many conservative grassroots activists are angry with Bush because they were waiting for what they see as the all-important Supreme Court nominations and because Bush's use of "code" had them convinced he was "one of them" when it came to the courts. From what I have read and discussed with some conservatives, this pretty much seems to be an accurate narrative. However, instead of what I would like to discuss in this post is not conservative code, but instead Democratic hawk code. This is a code that is starting to rise to the surface more and more as the country turns in favor of withdrawal, against the Iraq war, and all the dreams of Democratic hawks are crashing down around them.

For example, look at this code-laden excerpt from Amy Sullivan (emphasis mine):

The conclusion in many liberal circles seems to be: We just need to talk about those issues more. Voters don't seem to realize what our positions are. No, voters know damn well what you stand for. They simply aren't listening to you because you haven't satisfied their initial conditions: credibility on national security and on culture. It doesn't matter that you'd prefer to talk about domestic issues. If you can't pass the threshold of convincing them that you can be trusted on those other two fronts, they're not going to listen to a word you say about the other stuff.

This doesn't mean Democrats have to make their campaigns all about national security and culture. Far from it. But they do need to suck it up and accept something Republicans realized a long time ago: You can't tell Americans they must care about what you want to discuss; you must discuss what they care about.

This is an amazing excerpt. It contains what strikes me as the ultimate piece of Democratic hawk code in the first quoted paragraph: "credibility on national security." If you don't believe that this is Democratic hawk code, just plug "credibility on national security" into Google and here is what you get, in order:
  • 1. Evan Bayh on Fox stating that Democrats lack "credibility on national security.
  • 2. The "Progressive" Policy Institute (aka the DLC) arguing that Democrats need to re-establish "credibility on national security."
  • 3. Democracy Corps arguing that Democrats must cross the threshold of "credibility on national security."
  • 4. A post from the Left Coaster about a New Yorker piece that quotes Democrats with the most "credibility on national security," but actually only seems to be about Kerry and Lieberman railing against "blogger types."
  • 5. A Washington Monthly blog post about Howard Dean lacking "credibility on national security."
  • 6. An article from the National Review discussing how the Bush campaign successfully raised questions about Kerry's "credibility on national security."
  • 7. A piece from Mathew Yglesias about how Democrats have never had "credibility on national security" since he Vietnam era.
And on and on and on. The pattern here is obvious. The vast majority of uses of the term "credibility on national security" come from people who fit all of the following characteristics:
  • They are self-identified Democrats.
  • They have strong ties to center-right Democratic organizations.
  • They were openly in favor of invading Iraq.
  • They are vehemently opposed to withdrawal from Iraq.
"Credibility on national security" is actually DLC-type code for "continue neo-con military policies, especially in Iraq." The majority of people who seem to be trumpeting that Democrats are lacking "credibility on national security" are Democrats. They are, without fail, Iraq hawks.

Moving on in the excerpt from Sullivan, we find what I find to be the most mind-blowing and frustrating contradictions of the Democratic hawk position revealed. That basic argument of the "credibility on national security" code is that Democrats are losing elections because they hold unpopular positions on the use of military force. This is evidenced by Sullivan simply telling liberals to "suck it up and accept" that they hold unpopular positions, because "you can't tell Americans they care most about what you want to discuss," because, presumably, America is against Democrats when it comes to the use of military force in general and what to do in Iraq in particular. However, the fact of the matter is that right now, Democrats in general and Democratic hawks in particular are the ones who need to do the sucking up and accepting. Look at these poll numbers:

NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted by the polling organizations of Peter Hart (D) and Bill McInturff (R). Oct. 8-10, 2005. N=807 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.4.

"Do you think that the United States should maintain its current troop level in Iraq to help secure peace and stability, or should the United States reduce its number of troops once new elections have been held?"

Maintain Level	  Reduce Level
     34 		       58
If liberals need to suck up and accept anything, it is that withdrawal is the overwhelming majority position in this country. In June, Harris found a 63-33 pro-withdrawal majority. In August, they did the same thing, and found a 61-36 pro-withdrawal majority (source for Harris numbers). In the middle of September, in a poll that included the gradual withdrawal option, Gallup found a 63-36 majority in favor of withdrawal. In early September, CBS actually asked the gradual withdrawal question, and found a pro-withdrawal majority of 58-34.

Sullivan is right that "you can't tell Americans they must care about what you want to discuss; you must discuss what they care about," but right now people doing the avoiding are the Democratic hawks. What the country wants to talk about is withdrawal. What the country is overwhelmingly in favor of is withdrawal. However, the Democratic leadership isn't talking about it at all. This is because, as their code tells us, they are petrified of losing "credibility on national security." However, it strikes me that one sure way to never achieve "credibility on national security" is to stare failure in its face, and argue that we must stay the course. It strikes me that another way to lose "credibility on national security," is to side with the current governing party and its very minority position on Iraq, when by nearly 2-1 margins the country is calling for a change. The Iraq war is fast becoming as unpopular as gay marriage, but while Democratic hawks happily aruge that we need to throw the GLBT commuity overboard in order to achieve electoral victory, they strangely seem unable to ever realize just how extremely unpopular their own hawksih positions have become.

If you are unable to realize that the current way the military is being used in Iraq is mistaken and destructive, like the vast majority of the nation already has, you have no credibility on national security. And if you can't realize that simply avoiding the issue will compound this problem even further, then whatever credibility on national security you once had will erode away entirely. If national security is one of the two thresholds that political parties must meet before voters will even listen to them, then right now the only group of people meeting the national security threshold are those in favor of withdrawal. And if you can't recognize that by now, then, at long last, it is time that you just suck it up and accept it.

Tags: Democrats (all tags)

Comments

42 Comments

Arrest is code word for evil..
Check this out. Tom Delay is getting Arrested.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/10/19/delay.indictment.ap/index.html

How much you want to make a bet he'll try to spin it that he's just "showing up at the courthouse"

tee hee... I love code..

by turnerbroadcasting 2005-10-19 11:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Arrest is code word for evil..
Too bad he will get out on bail... I so want him to be Bubba's bitch... even for a night.
by yitbos96bb 2005-10-19 02:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Arrest is code word for evil..
here's a joke:

A republican congressman gets arrested, and goes to jail. They put him in a cell with this huge black guy, all covered with tattoos and an earing.

Hey BOY. Says the black dude. You wanna be the MAN or the WIFE.

The congressman thinks... let me tell you in the morning he says.. so he stays up all night trying to frame the question. Finally he comes up with the right answer. Morning comes, and the black dude wakes up with a raging hard-on.

"Hey BOY. What is it? You gonna be the HUSBAND or the WIFE".

The congressman says: "Husband".

So the dude goes. "Thats Good. Now get over here and come suck you're Wife's dick!"

>:)

by turnerbroadcasting 2005-10-20 07:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Arrest is code word for evil..
Two words: Perp walk.
by wayward 2005-10-19 05:49PM | 0 recs
PS - regarding your coded message here
This post is a coded message to the dems to make sure the GLBT keeps their status as a special interest group despite having had a big role to play in having the pary have their hat handed to them in 2004.

You know, after an entire decade of activism GLBT'ers are probably ready for breathing room.
The 90's saw such huge advances for them you'd think they'd want to stop. I guess not having any kids makes it easier...

At any rate, my thinking is: libertarian democrats rule. We wouldn't have been in the war, and believe me pal, I certainly don't want to be in your bedroom. Your wifes, maybe... if she's hot..

by turnerbroadcasting 2005-10-19 11:26AM | 0 recs
Re: PS - regarding your coded message here
PS. Chris sorry, just noticed it was you. I meant your girlfriend. .. . er... ok.. if your roomie has a sister... I know you're not married yet..
by turnerbroadcasting 2005-10-19 11:28AM | 0 recs
Re: PS - regarding your coded message here
Another homophobic comment from turner.

First off, this comment:

I guess not having any kids makes it easier...

Is just plain wrong.  There are at least 250,000 children being raised in two-parent, same-sex homes.
http://www.urban.org/template.cfm?Template=/TaggedContent/ViewPublication.cfm&PublicationID=8417 &NavMenuID=95

Second, the post isn't code for Dems to make sure the GLBT community "keep their status as a special interest group."  We are FUCKING HUMAN BEINGS you jackass!

You are content to have us sit at the back of the bus because you have obviously never been the victim of discrimination.  

Actually, the Amy Sullivan article has code for "Drop the gays" - the code is "culture".  

Third, gays arent the reason Dems "had their asses handed to them", Kerry is the reason.  Maybe if Dems weren't so gutless and they actually stood to defend the GLBT community they would have won more votes for having conviction.  

Finally, being gay is MORE than just who you fuck.  I dont care if you prefer vaginal to oral.  Of if you like missionary or doggy-style - that shit is private and stays in the bedroom.  But, RIGHTS, EQUALITY, ACCEPTANCE, KNOWLEDGE, and FREEDOM are of public discourse.  Saying shit should stay in the bedroom effectively puts us all back in the closet.  Why is it okay for a boyfriend and girlfriend to hold hands while walking down a street, but not okay for two gays or lesbians?  That's not, "In the bedroom".  

So you tell me, why is it you always rail against the gays with no factual basis for any argument?  Do you enjoy flaunting your ignorance and bigotry or are you really, deep-down conflicted because you just really want to suck some cock?  That comment about being in the wife's bedroom smacks of sexual insecurity.   And research does show that the most homophobic tend to be self-hating gays.  

I'm starting to think you are the latter.

by dayspring 2005-10-19 01:44PM | 0 recs
Re: PS - regarding your coded message here
It might not be homophobic. I just assume that a lot of liberals feel that gay and lesbian advocates were responsible for the election outcome in 2004. I am hugely suspicious of how the whole issue arose out of the actions of a few conservative judges at precisely the time when it could most harm the liberal candidates. That is very, very fishy. I knew the country was nowhere near "ready" for such a thing, and I was proved right. How many states have this thing now? I am convinced the whole thing was a Rovian conspiracy.

I would fault turnerbroadcating far more for this libertarian gibberish. It should be obvious now that the only concrete policy of libertarianism, aside from a few quirky nods in favor of things like marijuana legality and gay and lesbian rights, is endless tax reduction.

I think it is very, very wrong that some people gave his comment 0s just because he fell out of line on a few points. Do we want to take that hatchet to everyone who is basically on our side, but expresses a few bad ideas now and then? Should we all just suck it up and try to be as perfect as, say, the Democrats who voted for the resolution to allow the use of force in Iraq? Do we all have to walk on tip-toes to avoid any hint of political deviance? I hope not. We are human beings, not Stepford wives.

by blues 2005-10-19 03:54PM | 0 recs
Re: PS - regarding your coded message here
This isnt the first time turner has made disparaging comments about gays.  He's not a Liberal either.  

I think your suspicion is unfounded and I dont buy the "the country wasn't 'ready' for it" line.  Was the country ready for miscegenation?  Was the country ready for Rosa Parks?  Was the country ready for desegregation?  

Civil rights cannot wait until people are "ready" for them?  People will always be uncomfortable.  It's not until change happens that people adapt.  Look at Mass.  Conservative state legislatures who voted for the anti-gay state marriage amendment in the first round have changed their minds because people are married, no one was harmed, some families were made stronger and "the sky did not fall".  

It's nothing but fear.  Plain and simple.

by dayspring 2005-10-19 05:39PM | 0 recs
Re: PS - regarding your coded message here
dayspring:

This isn't the first time turner has made disparaging comments about gays.  He's not a Liberal either..

Well turner is basically liberal about most things. I can handle a certain amount of wrongheaded bias, which he probably has. For example, I once attended a Black Panther Party lecture in which the black speaker, a good friend of mine, thundered down this message that the white man is the source of all evil. I am white, but it did not trouble me.

dayspring:

I think your suspicion is unfounded and I dont buy the "the country wasn't 'ready' for it" line.

It's not a line. I meant "not ready for it" in the sense that many people voted for George W. Bush because of it. I live in Massachusetts, and from where is am, it looked like the most obvious Rovian conspiracy in the world.

I hope that the gay and lesbian marriage movement does some good for gays and lesbians. Frankly, if it were up to me, I would ban all marriage. I am a survivor of a marriage.

Let's just say that the business of labeling people as "liberal," "conservative," etc. has serious limits. turner claims to be "libertarian." I do not know how turner actually feels about gay or lesbian people. I do know that some people who have been in jails have an almost incurable aversion to them. People are never perfect. We all have to make allowances, so long as we are dealing with folks who are reasonably honest and considerate.

by blues 2005-10-19 07:27PM | 0 recs
yes
The primary sin of the centrist hawks isn't that they attempt to speak clearly using code words; the primary sin is that's all they've got on Iraq. Policy wise it's unconscionable--either come up with a real world strategy for making chicken salad out of the ingredients we have on hand (and maybe it's my Krusty-Buddy #102 mentality, but I still hold out hope there's some way to turn this misadventure in to a net positive--so far though, neither political party is the author or sustainer of this hope) or face reality, get out, and ensure the blame for the criminal disaster rests where it should, on the Bush Administration, not on those of us who "refuse to suck it up" or whatever. Politically it's stupid for the reasons Chris cites.

Now, I'm one of the biggest Amy Sullivan bashers out there, but I  think the piece linked is actually ok in a narrow sense. It's true, Democrats need a meaningful foreign policy predicated on achieving American interests. BUT...the Democrats who really threaten our  progressive future with shortcomings in this area are the centrist hawks, as Chris makes clear. They have more power and are more numerous than benchmark/timetable posse, which is something else again from the straw person fund-the-airforce-with-a-bakesale bunch who can probably be counted on one hand in Democratic circles.

So is it messaging, a conspiracy, or fecklessness which keeps us from achieving the threshold of "credibility on national security?"

by KevStar 2005-10-19 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: yes
So is it messaging, a conspiracy, or fecklessness which keeps us from achieving the threshold of "credibility on national security?"

My short answer:

The entire issue is that our wonderful corporate controlled media system keeps injecting our consciousness with toxic nonsense such as "credibility on national security."

by blues 2005-10-19 04:23PM | 0 recs
Re: yes
The point of Chris's diary is that Democrats need to stop playing the neo-con game right along with the neo-cons and the M$M. Paul Hackett has demonstrated very clearly how to win elections by being strong on defense and oppose Bush's Iraq war at the same time.

Opposition to Bush's Iraq war = Strong on National Defense.

Simple.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-10-19 07:38PM | 0 recs
it's more central than that
dem hawks have to decide whether they will be neo-cons or democrats. they are not just playing the game, they are batting for the same team.
by wu ming 2005-10-19 08:33PM | 0 recs
Re: it's more central than that
actually you can be for winning a war, without being for starting a war. its called being a soldier.
Democrats should define themselves by their ability to begin the impeachment and removal of Bush and everyone associated with him. America cannot take any more damage from these people.  Not by whether or not the troops will get bullets..
by turnerbroadcasting 2005-10-20 07:07AM | 0 recs
asdf
I dunno, but "credibility on national security" seems pretty literal to me.

Anyway, I don't think this is what you meant to do, but on my first read of this it sounds like you're accusing Evan Bayh and Matt Yglesias of being anti-gay Neo-cons.

by blueflorida 2005-10-19 12:18PM | 0 recs
Re: asdf
This is a completely narrow and misguided reading of what the post is about.  

Rather, the post points out how, when politically expedient, Democratic Hawks are willing to "compromise"/cave on certain issues (i.e., GLBT issues) because of lack of popular public support for those issues.  However, Democratic Hawks are unwilling to "compromise"/cave on other issues that they support (i.e., the Iraq war), using the same politically expedient criteria: sinking public support for the issue at hand.

The post does not at all suggest the motivation behind the Democratic Hawk's position on one issue versus the other.  The post merely points out the political calculus that Democratic Hawks are willing to make on one issue (i.e., GLBT), yet are unwilling to apply the same formula/criteria on equally unpopular issues -- according to public support polls.

Here's the crux and only point of the post:

"[Y]ou can't tell Americans they must care about what you want to discuss; you must discuss what they care about," but right now people doing the avoiding are the Democratic hawks. What the country wants to talk about is withdrawal. What the country is overwhelmingly in favor of is withdrawal. However, the Democratic leadership isn't talking about it at all. This is because, as their code tells us, they are petrified of losing "credibility on national security." However, it strikes me that one sure way to never achieve "credibility on national security" is to stare failure in its face, and argue that we must stay the course. It strikes me that another way to lose "credibility on national security," is to side with the current governing party and its very minority position on Iraq, when by nearly 2-1 margins the country is calling for a change.
by bedobe 2005-10-19 02:28PM | 0 recs
Re: asdf
Narrow perhaps, but misguided? Excuse me, but Chris B.'s post does - in fact - include the following statements:

"Credibility on national security" is actually DLC-type code for "continue neo-con military policies, especially in Iraq."

...and
The Iraq war is fast becoming as unpopular as gay marriage, but while Democratic hawks happily aruge that we need to throw the GLBT commuity overboard in order to achieve electoral victory, they strangely seem unable to ever realize just how extremely unpopular their own hawksih positions have become.

Both of these are a far cry from the simple point that Iraq withdrawal is good politics. One can quite easily say that "Fewer US troops in Iraq=More Votes for Dems in Nov. '06" without slamming any and every Dem who supported the Iraq invasion as anti-gay. Or accusing them of being PNACers without a membership card.

As to the larger point of the post, Chris has a decent point about the truth of where American public opinion lies RE: Iraq. Both parties, to the degree to which they are not talking about withdrawing American troops from Iraq, are seriously losing credibility with the American people. At this point, that is a basic, literal fact.

However, it is also basic literal fact, that Democrats suffer from a "credibility" gap on national security with the Republicans. And Chris,
by using the word "code," seems to want to ascribe a conspiratorial, Machiavellian motive to Democratic IWR supporters. Maybe he's right. I have no way of knowing, and I suspect neither does he.

The irony is that Chris's refusal to grant fellow Democrats the slightest benefit of the doubt, his unwillingness to acknowledge that Dem IWR supporters might have had (and may continue to have) honest, non-cynical, non-spineless, and principled reasons for "voting for war" as well as not immediately clamoring for Iraq withdrawal, provides fuel for the one consistent GOP meme of the last half century: that the Democrats are too weak to fight commies/put criminals in jail/kill terrorists/defend America/blah blah blah.

by blueflorida 2005-10-19 03:26PM | 0 recs
Demonstrating Chris's point
You have made Chris's point for him. You have so obviously accepted the neo-con frame that you are incapable of understanding the point Chris is making. Democrats suffer from a "credibility gap" because they are playing by neo-con rules and language.

When Democrats accept the neo-con frame of "credibility on national security" they lose the argument and the American people. Democrats should be attacking Bush's war, not trying to explain how they would implement it more effectively.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-10-19 07:27PM | 0 recs
Bayh and Yglesias ARE Neo-cons
For all practical purposes, any Democrat or public figure who discusses Iraq in terms of either the War On Terror or "credibility on national security" is a neo-con.

Bush's Iraq War has absolutely nothing to do with the War On Terror or National Security. Democrats should be explaining how Bush's War weakens the WOT and weakens our national security.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-10-19 07:31PM | 0 recs
Not quite
Despite what you claim, several of the quotes came from people openly and loudly asking for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.  Your generalization is wrong.

You are correct about the code words, though.  "Credibility on national security" does mean taking a more hawkish approach.

There are a large chunk of us that supported the first Gulf War, Kosovo, Afghanistan and wish we acted in Rwanda and Dufar, but were completely against the insanity of invading Iraq without just cause.  We just don't fall nicely into anyone's categories.

Despite Iraq, the US won't vote for a true dove because doves look weak to the typical voter.  The problem with an insane war like Iraq is it makes every sane person look like a dove, particularly a Democrat since the doves are mostly in our camp.  It isn't an easy puzzle to solve.

by Mark Matson 2005-10-19 12:45PM | 0 recs
Real credibility on national security
American voters don't want the defense budget cut, but they are more than ready for an intelligent candidate to explain that stationing US troops around the world, and invading and occupying a nation without provocation actually increase the threat of terrorism, rather than reducing it.

Where Democrats lose credibility on national security is in deferring to the UN or the "international community" regarding the use of military force.  This was perhaps Kerry's biggest mistake.

Democrats need to reassure voters that they won't need to get a UN permission slip to defend America's vital interests.  Then they need to point out what most people already accept, that invading and occupying Iraq was an unjustified mistake, and it's time to bring the troops home.  

by Lex 2005-10-19 01:07PM | 0 recs
This "permission slip" thing bugs me...
Why did we go to the UN?  (Or at least, why would a sane administration have gone to the UN?)  To get permission?  No.  To get troops.

Keeping control after the war was predicted to require 300,000-400,000 troops.  500,000 would have been even better.

We don't have that many troops.  Nowhere close.  We've got the damn National Guard in Iraq and still only have 150,000.

If this war could have been won, it would have been by getting 300,000 Russian, Indian, Pakistani, Indonesian, Nigerian, Brazilian, etc troops to go alongside us, stay out of the real fighting, and help keep the peace and maintain order.  The UN's authorization and a multinational force provides legitimacy, and it provides troops.  This might have been winnable if we'd had a lot more of both.

That's what the UN was all about.  No one said anything about a damn permission slip.

by texas dem 2005-10-19 02:23PM | 0 recs
Re: This "permission slip" thing bugs
With all due respects, this argument from texas dem is completely ridiculous. Bush did not give a rat's ass about having sufficient troops, and his tool, Rumsfeld, even insisted that more troops were not necessary. We went to the UN for approval because Bush was already feeling the heat from people like Scott Ritter.
by blues 2005-10-19 04:13PM | 0 recs
Re: This "permission slip" thing bugs
I was referring to the attacks Bush made on Kerry: Kerry would have gone to the UN for a "permission slip."

Bush indeed went to the UN for completely different reasons.

by texas dem 2005-11-07 12:45PM | 0 recs
Redefine security
The problem is the Democrats have allowed the Republicans to define national security as the Iraq War.

The Dems need to get it out that the Iraq War has damaged our national security severely.

We should be going after terrorists and WMD worldwide in concert with our allies, not engaging in a neocon wet dream in Iraq.

by Mister Go 2005-10-19 01:12PM | 0 recs
it's up to us to turn this around
we have to force the hawk Democrats to listen.  i think the DFA Iraq pledge is a good way to start, and I'm hoping it gets followed up with a pro-withdrawal Act Blue page soon.
by myddaholic 2005-10-19 01:20PM | 0 recs
Please Post This on DailyKos
This deserves to be read by a wider audience -- Great analysis.
by bedobe 2005-10-19 02:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Please Post This on DailyKos
Agreed.  Nice work and brilliant post.
by Winston Smith 2005-10-19 03:32PM | 0 recs
Reading TNR
I have come to the conclusion that liberal hawks are just not in the real world anymore. Anyone read TNR's Noam Schiebers's latest on "National Greatness Liberalism"
by Dameocrat 2005-10-19 02:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Reading TNR
On foreign policy TNR is a DLC version of The Weekly Standard. They are more neo-con than the neo-cons.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-10-19 07:36PM | 0 recs
The DLC is pathetic
They demand Democratic nominees follow their platform. Then when the Democrat loses, they claim it was because they were "too liberal and too weak on national security" even though they followed the DLC line. Kerry adopted a moderate DLC economic platform, talked about increasing the size of the army, and staying in Iraq until it was stable. And now the DLC says he's weak on security? Give me a break. Kerry lost because he ran a campaign without any focus, had no personality, and had horrible rapid response. When they say Democrats have "no credibility on national security" they just reinforce Republican talking points. Their idea of "getting tough" is to be more like the Republicans. The Republicans are imploding on everything and all the DLC can say is "Democrats have no credibility on national security and are out of touch with the nation's values." If they want to promote their ideas, fine. But they go too far when they bash the Democratic party.
by dole4pineapple 2005-10-19 03:41PM | 0 recs
Re: The DLC is pathetic
Not pathetic, just neocon (which is, of course, ultimately totally pathetic). The core members of the DLC are simply Democratic neocons.
by blues 2005-10-19 04:31PM | 0 recs
good work Jerome
Yes. Read her article about Hillary Clinton.

She lost me forever with this passage:

"She has quietly, but firmly, assumed a leadership role in her own caucus. And she has shown vision and backbone in a party that is accused of having none."

One sentence later:

"She voted for the Iraq war when that wasn't a popular position for a Democrat to take, and has been willing to speak uncomfortable truths in difficult venues. In January, she told a crowd of over 1,000 assembled pro-choice activists that the way they have been talking about abortion is wrong, that many Americans won't even listen to them until they admit that it would be better if most women didn't have to face the "sad, even tragic choice" of having one. More recently, she cosponsored the "Workplace Religious Freedom Act" after intense lobbying from women's groups that oppose the legislation."

Mhmmm. This is a political child at work here.

by janfrel 2005-10-19 04:49PM | 0 recs
Hillary is JFK in drag.
Or Scoop Jackson, if you want a more modern example.

Remember that JFK ran from the [i]right[/i] of Eisenhower on defense.

by Davis X Machina 2005-10-19 08:24PM | 0 recs
Repubs bad does not = Dems good
The Republicans may have proven to the country that they are horrible at handling national security, but that does not mean people think the Democrats are much better.

Because of the Iraq Debacle, Americans may feel Democrats are better at keeping us out of unncessary wars -- but who do Americans feel will stand up and face future threats? Republicans may be war hawks, but how much of the country views the Democrats as wimps? Many, and many others are at least uncertain.

I'm not necessarily saying this is reality. I'm talking about perception. And I don't think Democrats still look that good on national security.

As for Amy Sullivan talking about culture, that's just her internalizing GOP talking points. "Culture" doesn't matter to anyone but the GOP base, and that base is a minority. Most Americans are pro-choice, and increasingly, pro-gay marriage.

Kerry didn't lose the election because of social issues. He lost because he seemed weak, and no one wants a weak leader when people are flying airplanes into our buildings.

by LiberalFromPA 2005-10-19 06:21PM | 0 recs
People vote from the gut, based on image and
various other hard-to-isolate psychological motives.

Iraq was basically about good ole' "fighting back" and "kicking ass" jingoism.

Now it's true that people are having serious buyer's remorse, but it still does not follow that they're going to vote for those they perceive as backbiting wimps .

Now, or in the future when 'national security' rears its head in a different form.

by Cyt 2005-10-19 11:53PM | 0 recs
Perhaps we just need to pop our heads
out from the dark uncomfortable place they have been for 22 years. Because when it comes down to it the wars we won: WWI, WWII and Bosnia were all won under Democratic Presidents, while the ones that ended or are ending up in stalemate and failure: Korea, Vietnam, Iraq in their last days were led by Republicans. Unfair? Not enough historical nuance? Open for counterexamples? Sure. But who cares, its not like the other side is playing fair.

"Democrats win our wars" "Republicans are Chickenhawks, Willing to Fight to the End, as long as they get to use your kids"

On the domestic side how is this for an agenda: social justice, economic justice, and by God progressive taxation. Democrats have been running in fear for 23 years for fear we would be tarred with the brush of "class warfare" only to be tarred with it anyway. Supply side economics doesn't work, its a joke and we need to start treating it that way.

The common theme of the DLC line is that on the fundamentals Republicans get it right and that FDR and classic liberals got it wrong. Well they can kiss my ass. The New Deal did not get everything right but it got a lot more right than wrong. Fair Deal same thing. Jack the top marginal rate back to 40% because if you look back the middle class did pretty damn good when rates were higher. Let the rich squeal, they have been selling us a worthless bowl of goods for a generation, cutting their taxes does NOT in fact put dollars in my pocket.

Howard Dean spoke for a lot of people in our Party when he said "I'm here to represent the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party" and most of the people who got their underwear in a twist at that are the same ones who are giving us Sullivan-esque advice today.

A lot of these folk had their entire world-view confirmed because somebody had a boom mike pointed in just the right direction at just the right time. "See!! We told you people wouldn't vote for an angry man!" Well if you weren't angry then it was because you weren't paying attention. And some of us are not going to set and be lectured by people who were too chickenshit to stand up to "a popular war time President".

by Bruce Webb 2005-10-20 02:25AM | 0 recs
Sort of...
Well, Korea was mostly fought under Truman.  Ike ran in part on the promise of getting us out of there.  He negotiated a ceasefire 6 months after taking office.
by Flynnieous 2005-10-20 10:50AM | 0 recs
Nevermind
Ok, you said you don't care about that.  Ignore the facts, we've got truth...
by Flynnieous 2005-10-20 10:51AM | 0 recs
Truman would have been crucified
This was the era of "Unleash Chiang Kai Shek". A negotiated cease fire would have been held up against Democrats for generations. Eisenhower got away with it, Nixon got away with it because the China Firsters had no where to go.

Chennault. Google it. While you're at it Google the phrase above: http://www.coldwar.org/articles/50s/taiwan_straits.php3

by Bruce Webb 2005-10-21 05:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Truman would have been crucified
Sorry, I was just contradicting your statement concerning Democrats winning wars while Repugs leading the wars that end up in stalemates.  Then I read the rest of your post.

I agree that it could have been a disaster politically if Truman had tried to whimp out on the war, whereas Ike got away with it because nobody but nobody could call General Eisenhower a whimp.  He was the guy who won WW2, you know ;-)

Ike is where the Republicans get their creds, too.  Between 1932 to 1968, he was the only Rep. president, and he was the 5 star general.  Doesn't matter that all the wars (except the excursions into the middle east) were fought under Democratic rule--the Republicans had Ike and McArthur.  

Somehow, that makes W credible on national security.

by Flynnieous 2005-10-26 06:32AM | 0 recs

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