We all remember how the 2004 election was won by Repuglicans because they made the war on terror the central front in their war on Democrats. To be sure, the Iraq war and the economy were reasons enough to get them soundly kicked to the curb, but they shamelessly exploited 9/11, continued their lie about Iraq and, despite John Kerry's five Vietnam medals, successfully branded Democrats as the party of limp-wristed, weak-kneed, Birkenstock-wearing pansies who cannot protect America. Their mantra? Be afraid people, be very afraid. And it worked. Over 62-million voters--more than any in election history--sent the great macho warriors Bush & Cheney, Mr. Awol & Mr. Deferment, back to the White House to valiantly battle evil for another four years.
But now it's time to turn the tables on the Repugs and make fighting the war on terror a Democratic strength, not a weakness. There's several ways to accomplish this goal. First, the DNC, DSCC and DCCC, along with groups like MoveOn.org, should wage a nationwide PR/ad campaign to promote the unparalleled military expertise of Democrats, and at the same time highlight the lack of military service in the GOP. Let's hit 'em in the gut with aggressive advertising:
"John Kerry. John Murtha. Charlie Rangel. Ted Kennedy. Jack Reed. Wesley Clark. These are just some of the members of the Democratic Party who wish to bring an end to the Iraq war and bring our troops home. What they also have in common is that they've all served honorably and courageously in America's military. Their guys, George Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Bill Frist, Denny Hastert, Roy Blunt, Mitch McConnell, Trent Lott, Rick Santorum, want to keep sending our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, to die in Iraq as we indefinitely "stay the course" without a clear plan. What they also have in common is that none of them served in the U.S. military. Who would you rather have finding a solution for ending the war and protecting America, those who know what it feels like to put on a uniform and fight for their country, or those who did everything in their power to avoid it?" Vote Democrat. Make the right choice in 2006.
Damn, I get goosebumps just thinking about seeing this on the airwaves during primetime.
The next thing Democrats need to do, as Sen. Kerry called for this week, is to take ownership, politically, of the CIA's "Alec Station" unit which, for the past ten years, existed solely to hunt and capture/kill Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants. It was just shut down by the Bush administration, which intends to "reallocate" assets to other counter-terrorism agencies. In essence, the Busheviks have given up on trying to find the murderous animal who vaporized 3000 Americans. Democrats should be all over this issue, hammering home the message that the Repugs may talk a good story, but their actions say something else. That they have failed in their promise to hunt and bring to justice the masterminds behind the 9/11 attacks and do everything possible to protect Americans. That they are closing the very spy unit designed to do just that.
"This unit should be reconstituted immediately and given all resources necessary to finish the job of holding bin Laden accountable and preventing him from organizing or inspiring future attacks against the United States and our allies," Kerry, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, wrote in a letter to John Negroponte, the director of national intelligence. Kerry said the agency's reorganization of assets "is not a compelling rationale for curtailing efforts to bring this mass murderer to justice....Moreover, disbanding the bin Laden unit sends the message to the terrorists that they can kill thousands of Americans without being held to account."
How about another commercial:
"(tape plays Bush's 9/13/01 quote "The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him.")
(tape plays Bush's quote from March 2003 "So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him...I am truly not that concerned about him.")
(voiceover) George Bush and the Republicans promised you almost five years ago that they would do everything in their power to find Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants and bring them to justice for the horrific attacks of September 11. But while bin Laden keeps making audio and videotaped threats against America, Bush and the Republican leadership has shut down the CIA's "Alec Station" unit, the only U.S. counter-terrorism unit dedicated exclusively to hunting, capturing or killing bin Laden and Al Qaeda's leaders. After almost five years of tough talk and broken promises, they've simply given up.
(Tape plays Bush quote again..."The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him.")
(Voiceover) George W. Bush has thrown in the towel on bin Laden. But he's still the number-one priority of Democrats. If we regain control of Congress, we'll re-open the critical CIA bin Laden unit and bring this brutal murderer to justice. Vote Democrat, and vote for leadership that will keep its promise to truly keep America safe from terrorists."
Lastly, Democrats must remind voters how the Busheviks have failed in the war on terror by diverting valuable financial, political and military resources away from Afghanistan--the country that housed, harbored and trained the 9/11 terrorists--and into Iraq. How they've let that country fall back into the hands of warlords, drug barons and the reconstituted Taliban as the fragile Democratic government of Hamid Karzai struggles to survive.
As Jamie Rubin, former Clinton State Department official and Sky News TV anchor, wrote in the New York Times Friday, Democrats need to overcome the image as "quitters, unwilling to hang tough in the fight against terrorism. Next time, the Democrats should try a different strategy. Instead of calling for troop cuts in Iraq, they should call for transferring forces and resources from Iraq to Afghanistan.
"By forcing a debate on transferring American forces back to Afghanistan," Rubin writes, "the Democrats can avoid the trap of allowing Republicans to claim they are weak. They can argue that their proposal is not a withdrawal from the front, but rather a deployment to an equally important front where American leadership can make the difference in securing a long-term victory. Democrats can justifiably argue their goal is to reverse the Bush administration's premature diversion to Iraq. If nothing else, such a debate would focus attention on the Bush administration's failure to finish the job in Afghanistan."
Our last commercial:
"When it comes to Iraq, the war on terror, and keeping America safe, Republicans say Democrats don't have a plan. To the contrary, we have a very good plan. It's the same plan we had almost five years ago when we voted to invade Afghanistan and wipe out Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the Taliban government that harbored them. But as soon as Republicans took control of Congress the following year, they, and President Bush, took their eye off these vicious terrorists and chose to divert our much-needed political, financial and military resources to an unnecessary war with Iraq, which did not attack us, did not possess weapons of mass destruction as the Bush administration warned, and posed no threat to us whatsoever. And as a result, Osama bin Laden and his top henchmen remain free as they continue plotting their next murderous attack on U.S. soil. If Democrats can regain control of Congress, we'll put the fight against the 9/11 terrorists back where it belongs, in Afghanistan, and the focus back where it belongs, on Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. We'll go after the enemy that attacked us, not the one that didn't. Vote for Democrats this November. We'll get America back on track in the war on terror.
C'mon, Democrats, get tough. It's time to out-Rove Rove. George Soros, are you listening?