Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Spitting mad

This post reminds me of when Mary Gross was on Saturday Night Live. She’d do commentaries on the news segment and talk about being spitting mad. Well after the last day I’m spitting mad too.

Once again the Democrats are on track to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. What was Kerry thinking? Who on his staff thought those lines in the speech (whatever they were supposed to be) were a good idea. And instead of owing up that it was the wrong thing to say and he’s sorry, Kerry is trying to spin it. Finally at the end of the day the apology.

I’m beginning to think the Democrats won’t be able to with either house of Congress.

In six years and especially since 9/11, the Democrats have allowed the Republicans to define the Democrats to the voting public. The Democrats in their vast ineptness have been unable to respond.

Over and over and over when I was in New Zealand people asked how Americans could support Bush. The answer is there has been no real alternative offered. The Democrats are unable and incapable to frame issues that reflect on them positively.

What has come through to the public is the ineptness of the Republicans concering Katrina and Iraq.

But the Democrats can’t just point out how inept the Republicans are. The Democrats have to show the pubolic they stand for something. That the policies they support, far from making America less secure, will make it more secure. But Democrats on issue after issue have failed to do this.

The war in Iraq is of course the most obvious issue. The Democrats got identified with cut and run. That worked for the Republicans for awhile. That fell apart when Iraq fell apart or better put fell apart further not from anything the Democrats did.

The Patriot Act and similar legislation is another issue. As our president gleefully guts the Bill of Rights, the Democrats seem powerless to counter the president and the Republicans. The Republicans have been able have been able to brand the Democrats soft on terrorists because Democrats support the Constitution. The Democrats have been incapable of mounting any sort of defense.

This is an issue the Democrats could have made their own. And in doing so show the ineptness of the Bush administration. While at the same time showing themselves hard on terrorists. What they needed to do on this issue (and oh so many others) is frame it properly.

Here’s my idea. Rather than talking solely about the constitutionality of these measures (which I’m not marginalizing at all), they should have hammered away about the need for oversight. Someone not directly involved and who could see all the dots and connect them correctly. A phrase used over and over again after 9/11 about missing the big picture. Tie the big picture idea to the fact the Bush Administration misses it over and over and over again. Bring in the bungling in Iraq and the failures of Katrina and missing the clues to 9/11.

So the Democrats should have said we need someone to look things over. The bottom line is you have oversight, not only protect people’s rights, but to make rights sure the FBI, Homeland Security or whoever is going after the terrorist go after the right people. So the FBI etc don’t go after the wrong people and say they are the right people even when they know these people aren’t terrorist. (The guy out west who was arrested after the Madrid bombing comes to mind. The Spanish police said he wasn’t a suspect but the FBI said he was. Finally after many weeks the FBI let the guy go). You have oversight so the bad guys don’t get away!!

I have to go and wipe my mouth now.

1 comment:

Arthur Schenck said...

I agree with most of what you say, but the trouble with American politicians is that no one controls them. Yes, Kerry was a jackass, but who could have stopped him? Howard Dean?

Kerry does what Kerry wants, just like all the others do. There's no such thing as "party discipline" in America, which is how this happens, and how you get Republicans calling for Rumsfeld to go though Bush says no way.

The larger issue, though, is the utter failure of Democrats to frame the issues correctly. The conservatives understand framing perfectly and employ it like masters. But for Democrats to frame an issue, they first need to know what their alternative visions is, and as far as I can tell, they don't have one.

If the Democrats don't get their act together, or if a real alternative party of the centre doesn't emerge, free elections may be the next human right the Republicans abolish.