Bush is not the issue
by bruh21, Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 03:59:24 AM EST
Cross posted at Daily Kos
I am up early this morning, and I continue to see a ton of diaries about the subject of President Bush. Bush this. Bush that. This maybe controversial, but it needs to be said: Bush is losing relevancy, and will become irrelevant in the next two years.
I understand the need and desire to want to personify issues with Republicans into being about one person, namely, President Bush. But, frankly, I think that will incresely become a strategic mistake.
Yesterday, we were subject to a bit of brilliance by former Senator, now Presidential candidate, John Edwards. Edwards smartly focused on someone who was actually up for an election in 2008.
One of the central problems with fixating on President Bush rather than the rest of the GOP at this point is branding. We need to make all of this about the GOP rather than Bush. We just had a very good election in which the Democrats were able to brand according to Bush, and using him more broadly to brand the GOP.
Now, progressives must segue in our language to press the battle and ultimately win the fight of branding for 2008. Over at mydd, one of the front pagers said that 2008 will be a referendum on Bush. I find this a flawed argument. If we go in thinking bush, bush, bush- we will lose. It will be about who can brand the GOP nominee as more of the same from the GOP, not Bush (because he won't be running).
I make this statements based on an assumption: the American people need time to digest concepts. That you can't expect them to pick on an idea or two in this case without some clear set up time. It takes time for ideals to diffuse into the general electorate. I think that is one of the flaws we have had in messaging in the past. That people sort of thought well I explained it once- now they should get it. But, in fact, ideals to sink in need to be repeated. That's the lesson from 2004 to 2006. By 2006, it sunk in.
Here, there is a logical two step. The first is that Bush's policies are bad. The second is that Bush's policies are bad because they are GOP basic philosophy in general, and that's bad. It's the later we need to hammer home, not the former. It's the GOP beliefs which are bankrupt. That must be the point upon which people have conversation because that poisons the well for them even before they have started to consider a particular GOP candidate de jour.
Indeed, the right wingnuts are already trying to excise the legacy of Bush from their conciousness. You even see some here claiming Bush is an abberation to the Republicans. That may or may not be true. I don't care, and nor should you. What we do know is that they were complicit. The American people should not be allowed to forget the GOP complicity. Nor should you. There complicity has to do with their basic philosophy. Let's hammer that home in diaries.
I know we want the Democrats to govern, and I am hopeful that they will, but the reality of modern politics is that one must simultaneously campaign while governing. You do not have the luxury, it seems to me, of governing then campaigning. That's the innovation of the Republicans. Since they lived by that sword, I think we should stick them with it.
In plain terms, while folks think about this policy, or that policy, they need to frame this in terms of branding the GOP. Rather than saying "Bush's War" we need to reinforce the frame of "The Republican's War." It's the later that is crucial to winning. Rather than Bush's Doctrine, we need to frame it as McCain's Doctrine or somehow attach it to any of the other nominees running or even thinking about it like Huckbee. Someone should ask him now- whether he supports McCain's Doctrine, and if so why not? We get them with their own base by challenging them to answer politically difficult questions.
Some of you will quibble that this isn't true because there are exceptions. But, that's not the point. The exceptions aren't the norm. I hope we start to use language that reflects the norm.
Like Edwards has shown, this needs to happen earlier (as in now) rather than later, and need to be relentlessly reinforced until Nov 2008. Remember, the early bird catches the worm. Get out in front o the narrative, and define it.