Taking the Bull by the Horns

Yesterday I put on display two early anti-McCain ads, and yes, they’re both quite well done. But I’m hoping to see some follow ups, both from David Brock and from the Democrats, very soon. And if and when they come, I hope they address the flaws from these two ads.

While I think both ads are effective in their own ways, they fall far short of what is actually needed as we begin the campaign to win back the White House. In the first, John McCain is tied irrevocably to George W. Bush, and in the second McCain’s assertions on policy are directly refuted.

This is fine, except for the fact that it’s all centered on economic policy.

What’s wrong with economic policy? Glad you asked. The problem with economics is that Democrats are already doing well against McCain on economics. In fact, in recent years, Democrats have consistently been rated higher than Republicans on the economy, even back in 2004 when John Kerry ran for president.

The fact of the matter is, the economy is too much in our wheelhouse, and no one is expecting John McCain to win on the economy. Bigger picture; the ads are too safe.

I keep hammering on this fact, and I’m going to keep hammering on this fact; we need to stop playing safe if we really want to effect a significant change in this country. That’s not to say that we have to start ignoring political realities, but the very fact that John McCain might win the General Election when he’s following in the footsteps, both by party and policy, of one of the most disliked presidents in our history tells us we’re doing something wrong over here.

Now, I would never advocate engaging in Rovian politics, but on one single issue, and one single issue alone, he had it dead right; you don’t go after your opponent’s weaknesses, you go after his or her strengths. You take out their strengths, and all they have left to fall back on is their weaknesses.

I may not endorse the way Rove went after an opponent’s strength, but going after McCain’s strength is exactly what needs to be our focus, and not just the blogosphere, but everyone from us lowly bloggers to the national party, the Democratic nominee, and the media folks who put together the ads.

We have to hit McCain on his foreign policy, and we have to hit him hard. And we don’t stop at Iraq either, but we need to hit him on how little he understands about Iraq, how little he seems to understand of al Qaeda, and we need to really ramp up on his warmongering attitude towards Iran. We need to hit him on the lack of focus on diplomacy, and we need to hit him on his ideology.

And we’re not going to get anywhere if we try to pretend that foreign policy doesn’t exist, or that if it does exist, we’ll be just as tough as the Republicans. It’s not going to work, and if it does work, if we do manage to win the White House, we’re still not going to manage to change a damn thing about how this country feels about foreign policy.

So we need to discredit McCain thoroughly on National Security, and we need to do it by pointing out the flaws of the past (Iraq, al Qaeda, GWOT), and then we need to do it by showing that he’s going to make the same mistakes in the future (Iran).

Then we need to offer up an alternative. The “dignity promotion” plan offered up by Obama’s foreign policy team is a great place to start. While it may not necessarily please everyone on the left, I happen to like the premise, and it provides an excellent means to package and build a narrative on a saner, more progressive foreign policy that will actually reduce the threat of terrorism worldwide, reduce the stress on our armed forces and ultimately allow them to maintain a higher level of combat readiness when a real threat does come to our shores, and it will result in the loss of fewer lives, and less treasure.

Yes, the economy ads are great, I love them. But when it gets to be about mid to late October, McCain’s going to run another “wolves” commercial, or “bear” commercial, or “red phone” commercial, and we’re going to be up a creek because we refused to face him head on on the issue we already know he’s going into this election with an advantage on.

This is the single lesson I hope Democrats learn in this election cycle; quit being such cowards. We like our ideas, obviously, because we have them. Quit running away from them during election season, and instead, grab that bull by the horns and wrestle it down now or else four years, eight years, twelve years from now we’ll be sitting in the same place, thinking, “Well, we should really be able to swoop into office this time,” and when November comes, we sit in stunned silence as the other guy is announced the winner.

(edited by DrGail)

One Response to “Taking the Bull by the Horns”

  1. To ellect McCain,I say you deserve the G.W. Bush you’ll surely get for another 4 years! because,,while he may not advocate that he and Bush think alike,he’s dead wrong,he’ll fall right in and be a continuation of Bush himself,and that being the case America will once again deserve the shit it ellects as its leader ,and send a message to the world that we love being bastards and could care less about anyone’s feelings on the matter ,because we have bigger guns!!…..don

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