Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

January 1, 2005

by V

Catching up on 2004

Happy New Year! Been a while. To help me catch up, I'll start by grabbing a number of posts from other sites. First, Pandagon:

Nov 29: Compare and Contrast
On most issues where Democrats enjoy an advantage, Republicans have grabbed enough rhetorical turf to force an electoral draw. If you listened to the debates, both candidates wanted to balance the budget, insure those without health care, make college education more affordable, preserve the environment, blah blah blah. That domestic policy static, combined with the traditional Republican advantage on security and "values", was enough to win Bush the election.

What's needed now isn't a reevaluation of what we stand for. We know what we stand for, and the American people, if polls don't lie, agree with us. And what we need to do isn't speak our minds more clearly, the Republicans will just lay their own distortion on thicker. The task now is to draw contrasts, either by espousing policies the Republicans simply can't support or forcing the the true nature of the Republican agenda to the fore. We need not explain what we stand for, but convince Americans that the Republicans disagree. To anyone reading deep into the papers, watching the policies and examining the issues, the differences are clear. What we need to understand is that they're completely fogged for those who just tune in during the nightly news. The problem is not, as some suggest, that Democrats have become Republican-lite. It's that Republicans have become Democrats-lite, but with none of the policy moderation that would usually entail.

Now -- how do we expose them?
I would argue this is only true for specific domestic issues (health care, budget, environment), not for most (gay rights, Iraq war, abortion), but the point does stand for those specific fights -- the Republicans work to sound centrist or even liberal but they govern from Neptune.

Also, a keen insight from commenter 'Elemeno P.':
...you are saying that the republicans 'don't deliver'. yes they do.

they give their supporters what their supporters want: a story to tell.

the story is that they are 'pro life' (nevermind the death penalty, war, support of policies that lead to more unwanted pregnancies and therefore more abortions, celebrating their cousins' in-vitro treatments that will lead to the destruction of numerous embryos, etc.), they are the 'heartland', that they are patriotic because they wave the flag and 'support our troops', etc. that the reason why many people disagree with them is that those people are duped by the 'liberal media'.

that the 'liberal elite' look down their noses at the 'red states' while sipping on a shiraz and reading marx and either collecting checks from welfare (somehow, the elites and the welfare-collectors are in cahoots...probably because they're all commies) or from royalties from the smut they created and are trying to forcefeed to the children.

and, oh yeah, america is obviously close to perfect or as close as you're going to get so if a country has a problem with us, it is either evil or jealous or some combination of the two.
This sounds right to me, and is borne out from personal experience with enthusiastic Bush-voting relations.

It's a comforting bedtime story to hear you are virtuous, we are strong, we will prevail, and at the same time no sacrifices, hard choices, or even doubts or criticisms are necessary.

Yesterday I visited the Lincoln Memorial, re-read Lincoln's Second Inaugural on the north wall of the statue chamber, and reflected again how honest and mature, how acknowledging of imperfection and accepting of responsibility Lincoln was.

How far we have come.
Posted by V at January 1, 2005 06:26 PM

Recommended Reading:

The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir
The Politics of Truth... A Diplomat's Memoir

Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush

Against All Enemies by Richard Clarke
Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror

LIES by Al Franken
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right

The Great Unraveling
The Great Unraveling

The Great Big Book of Tomorrow
The Great Big Book of Tomorrow

Clinton Wars
The Clinton Wars

Blinded by the Right
Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative

Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat

Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture

Living History

The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton

John Adams

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace

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