How to: Run for office without an agenda
In case you have been under an apolitical rock for the past year, here is a brief synopsis of the Democratic platform and the media focus for upcoming 2006 and 2008 election cycles: First, Bush is Richard Nixon. Second, Iraq is Vietnam. And last, austerely issueless politics have replaced the need for compelling policy initiatives. After all, no need for substance when scandal abounds.
Directly addressing the reader is not a tactic I habitually use in my pieces. However, if any readers were disturbed by the truths found within the pieces on Sheehan, Katrina, or Islamic fundamentalism, they might want to turn away and huddle with the rest of the commune for warmth. Today we are going to do a little housekeeping and myth-busting while we examine the phases of running for office without true policy initiatives.
Phase 1: Turn the Bush White House into the Nixon White House. One need only read the front page of any newspaper to hear cries of ?The White House is falling! The White House is falling!? The recent indictment of Lewis ?Scooter? Libby for ?lying? about something that was not a crime is the latest example of the Bush headhunt that has been going on since 2000. Even with the Libby assassination blown apart by recent Bob Woodward comments, the endless attempts at defining the Bush White House as corrupt continue.
Lest we forget, liberals view the 2000 Presidential election as a ?stolen? election. The headhunt began during the campaign and broadened after the swearing-in ceremonies. There was a brief period of feigned civility after the 9/11 attacks. These terrorist attacks, later described by liberal golden child John Kerry as ?nuisances,? briefly silenced the drumbeat of negativity.
However, it did not take the liberals long to mount a new offensive on a wartime president. Remember Enron? How about Abu Ghraib? These ?scandals? were twisted and contorted into White House connections for purposes of fitting into the respective period?s media cycle. The media party and prominent, but irresponsible, liberals have attempted to draw parallels between the Bush White House and the Nixon White House.
Phase 2: Turn Iraq into Vietnam. As soon as the term ?quagmire? was unleashed into the mainstream vernacular through CNN, the focus became apparent. Vietnam, arguably America?s most unpopular war, immediately provokes an emotional response. The network media fondly remembers bringing down a war effort through mischaracterization and demonification of our armed forces. This is not to say that Vietnam was a well-principled war; rather, it was a show of how selective reporting can lead to the disintegration of public opinion. This unsound comparison of Iraq to Vietnam has motivated Vietnam-era hippie leftovers back into the streets in protest.
Unfortunately for some, Vietnam and Iraq are quite dissimilar. First, by the numbers alone, these conflicts aren?t alike. Through the first two and a half years of committed U.S. troop actions in Vietnam, there were around 13,000 Americans killed. By comparison, 2100 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq in the same period of time. Iraq has also had two severely underreported votes and one extremely underreported constitutional convention and adoption.
In addition, there are philosophical differences between Iraq and Vietnam. In Vietnam the United States was engaged in part of their containment strategy. The U.S. was attempting to contain the spread of Communism, but without directly challenging the Communist giant, the Soviet Union. In Iraq, the United States is engaging in the ideological struggle against Islamic fundamentalism head-on. The tactics include a military-led effort in the spread of democracy and elimination of enemy forces within the responsible region. This is truly where Iraq and Vietnam part ways. This is also the reasoning that makes the efforts in Iraq clearly more valuable to the national interest than the efforts in Vietnam.
The Last Phase: Respond to a lack of values and palpable issues with divisive rhetoric and character attacks. With elections around the corner, and the party?s values not clearly defined, liberals have turned to the polls to find their positions on issues of the day. Not surprisingly, this has necessitated attacks and blind opposition. Imagine if Republicans completely vacated their original position on an issue as central as, say, a war. This fact would not be overlooked, and conservatives would be forced to explain their complete, and spineless, reversal.
However, when one applies these same principles of logic to the other side, the importance of accountability seems to subside. Lacking policy initiatives such as a constitutionally responsible judicial branch, Social Security reform, or tax code revision, the prescribed strategy has been to run for office on a negative agenda. Admittedly, Republicans have been off on issues, especially spending, but at least the average American can figure out where the party stands.
Our liberal friends? Well...
In response to Tim Russert?s question concerning what Democrats stand for, Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, remarked, ?We have plenty of time to show Americans what our agenda is, and we will, long before the ?06 elections.? That?s right: Who needs a real agenda when running on the Hate Bush agenda has worked so well?