" Bush is incredibly unpopular and has proven himself one of the most ineffective and incompetent presidents in American history"
I know it will be an unpopular opinion in this forum, but if you measure effectiveness by how much of a president's agenda is enacted, then this presidency (and administration) has ben incredibly (and disastrously) effective in implementing their agenda. Tax cuts no matter what. A war in Iraq. Energy plan for their buddies (take a look at oil company profits). Executive, Legislative and increasingly Judicial hegemony.
Incompetent if measured in terms of compassion or 'general welfare' or 'common defense' or 'securing the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity', but they are the most politically competent administration since Richard J Daley in Chicago or the Teapot Dome boys.
I used to think that one administration could not do too much damage to the country, but I've been proved wrong... twice now. Reagan and now Bush 2.
We all make good fun of this president and his speech patterns and his lack of engagement, but in doing so we are missing the effectiveness of the administration which has changed significantly the principles on which this nation was founded.
If you want to change the direction of this country, you cannot rely on the incompetnce or corruption or mistakes of the opposition. I believe that until a leader steps up with the vision and balls to lead, then we will be left with faux leadership that can strut and posture better than any and leaves the direction and leadership to the shadows of Cheney, Rumsfield, Dobson, Reed, Norquist, Abramoff, et al.
Michael Moore is only a target because we let them (the right) attack the messenger and duck the content.
Michael Moor makes documentaries/movies/screeds/whatever and he clearly and openly has a point of view which he supports in his work. Rather than address the content, they attack the messenger and we let them shift the conversation. They think it's terrible to suggest that the administration is too cozy with th e Saudi's and that the Saudis are not behaving like friends. That's not wrong and it's not scandalous.
As my mother used to say "Consider the source."... but you have to also consider the content. If we let them villify people who have the balls to speak truth to power (Moore, Dean, Wilson, Clarke, O'Neil, etc...) then we are lost.
As bad as the Rove issue is, I am reluctantly asking the question "Is this is really what they want us focused on, what else is really happening?" Yes, that is very cynical, but this administration has proved itself to be shrewd and very politically savvy. I find it hard to believe that Rove would a) put himself in this position and b) not have some way out that is politically advantageous to his side.
Let's keep the heat on Rove, but keep our eye on the landscape in general because I don't want to be looking at Rove and then be hit in the back of the head with something else (like Roves evil twin who has been in an undisclosed location consorting with Cheney)
I agree that people need to speak plainly about the lies, deceit and damage done by this administration. The fact that it is almost beyond belief makes that somewhat more difficult, but it should be possible.
The larger task, though, is giving people someone who they want to follow. Think of this as an opportunity to win the way we would like to win. Winning by trashing your opponent is not the way we want to do this. I know some people would say that any win is a good win, but if we take a moment now to make sure that we are worthy of leading, make our plans (values) clear, make the environment clear (the other guys are boneheadded liars and you've always done better when we are in charge), then we can win and evolve the process/society at the same time.
Perhaps it is time for some real change instead of just shuffling the chairs on the same old crap.
Lead. Lead. Lead. Part of that is making your position clear in the context of your opponent but that is not the only thing (or even a majority strategy.
I see your point about nominating a 'hawk' but I have a fundamental disagreement about this in that responding to fear (manufactured or real) is not leading but following and it presents an inherent contradiction.
While I don't think Lakoff is a messiah, I do think that, especially with respect to the 'hawkishness' of candidates, framing and fear-mongering was critical in painting the pseudo-service of GWB with the in-country service of John Kerry.
This is not a one cycle or two cycle turn around. The right-wing message machine has been working for more than twenty years to hone the channels and leadership of the debate.
We should lead and not be (only) sucked into the debate by defining who we are through responding to who we are not.
Any group that values sincere debate and a plural society will never be able to compete with a group that has blind fealty as a core value.
It is, by definition, much more difficult to persuade someone to your point than it is to bludgeon them into submission with fear. Democrats will never be as 'organized' as Republicans because our core values are not served by ignorance and fear, but by knowledge and courage.
A number of years ago my wife forbade me from reading the WSJ because she would often come down in the morning and I'd have the paper in front of me and be fuming. My area of expertise is technology (computers and networks) and I would often find articles that were little more than press releases under a different title. My problem was that if WSJ wanted to report on technology, they should spend the time reporting and investigating rather than just reprinting press releases. I began to wonder what other sloppy or self serving reporting was going on in areas where I had less direct knowledge. Since then, I read WSJ with a huge bag of salt and apply the principle of 'follow the money'
Here are some other daily reads that may be interesting
"...need for the Democrats to stand on principle and that conservative success has been founded on standing on principle. And there is much to this..."
I have a somewhat more modest (yet not trivial) proposal here and the heart of it is that I disagree with the statement above... at least somewhat.
Conservatives are winning by asserting that they stand on priciple, while behaving contrary to those articulated principles in easily demonstrable ways.
Liberals need to (continue to) stand on principle and rather than just quietly doing the right thing, make it part of your message and don't be so timid in pointing out the wealth of irony between what conservatives say they believe and how they behave.
I heard a sermon a few years ago by a pastor of a church in NY and the theme of the sermon was "follow the feet." That has specific religious symbolism, but her point about noting where sombody stands rather than where they say they stand and following where someone leads with their feet rather than where they tell you to go was very compelling. "...people will be watching your feet...where you walk, where you visit, where you lead and where you allow yourself to be led."
I am obviously not doing justice to her message, so without proselytizing, I encourage you to take a look at it and see how real leadership might be able to trump hollow politics. It can. It has to.
It doesn't matter to me that the source here is religious. If you pressed me on it, I would admit that I don't belong to the ELCA, but I have many friends in that community. Take this message as the call for true, sincere and worthy leadership that our country needs. Not liberal or conservative, but honest.
I spoke too soon, it seems there is a legal issue here. (also from the Sinclair Code of Ethics page)
"Additionally, Section 509(A) of the Communications Act requires any director or employee of a radio or television station who accepts or agrees to accept from any person (other than the Corporation) any money, service, or other valuable consideration in return for, or in connection with, the broadcast of any matter over a station, to disclose to the Corporation the fact of acceptance or agreement to accept. Section 509(A) also requires that this disclosure be made in advance of the broadcast in question. The purpose of this disclosure requirement is to enable the Corporation to determine whether a sponsorship identification announcement pursuant to Section 317 of the Communications Act is required to be broadcast as the consequence of an director's or employee's acceptance or agreement to accept consideration for or in connection with the broadcast of any matter over the station."