Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Non-Solution Solution

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Kevin Drum tries desperately to make sense of the donk position on the mideast and crashes:

Here's the proposition: after several years of vacillation and uncertainty over Iraq and national security, Democrats have recently achieved a fairly considerable consensus on how to move forward. I don't want to overstate this: obviously there are still plenty of differences among major players in the party. But if you take out, say, the Chomsky wing on the left and the Lieberman wing on the right, there's a surprising amount that the rest of us agree on.

What Drum fails to grasp is that the "Chomsky wing" of his party is growing daily. The "Chomsky wing" could just as well be called the "Dean wing" or the "Kennedy wing" or the "Lamont wing." The anti-war left is now the norm and not the exception. The so-called centrists are a minority and still have no clear-cut answers as Drum shows later in the post.

Domestically, we nearly all agree that we should spend more on things like port security and chemical plant security. We mostly agree on strengthening cooperation between the FBI and the CIA, but we oppose large-scale infringements of civil liberties like the NSA program as both wrong and unnecessary.

Incredible sums of money are already being spent on port and plant security. I know about the plants because I work at them. As for the FBI/CIA issue, there is inherent animosity between the two agencies that is not going to disappear any time soon, regardless of who the president is.
On the civil liberties issue, most Americans disagree whole-heartedly with Drums position. They realize that the donks are completely overreacting in their opposition. Drum falls into the trap that ensnares many on the left, they believe the spin. Notice also that he does not propose anything to replace the NSA programs.

We oppose torture and we oppose rendition. We support a far more serious energy policy for both environmental and national security reasons.

Most do oppose torture as policy and realize as something that the dems don't, Abu Ghraib was perpetrated by a handful of soldiers and is not a policy implemented by Rumsfeld or anyone else. The soldiers involved were court martialed and sent to prison. Rendition is needed at times no matter how distasteful it seems. The very threat of rendition has probably been a boon to intel gathering.

As for the energy policy angle, would Drum support drilling in ANWR and the newly discovered deposits in the Gulf of Mexico as a short-term solution while a diligent alternative fuel development program is instituted? Again, Drum doesn't elaborate on what energy or environmental policies he'd like implemented. One last thing on this topic, the US releases fewer toxic emissions than Canada by nearly half. This is because of the revisions made to the Clean Air Act by the Bush administration.

On the overseas front, we largely agree that, in the long term, we can only eliminate militant jihadism if we eliminate support for jihadists among the vast majority of Muslims in the Middle East. This requires genuine support for democracy, serious economic and trade programs aimed at the Middle East, and a public diplomacy program vastly superior to the laughable efforts currently underway.

This is of course easier said then done. Militant Islam has cowed the region and the moderate factions are afraid to make themselves known. To institute trade and economic programs, you must have the support of the various governments. These governemnts will neither support economic improvement programs nor democratic reforms.

As for the diplomacy efforts, Drum labels them as "laughable," yet all the peace overtures made by President Clinton amounted to nothing. North Korea built nuclear weapons under our noses in direct violation of a Clinton/Albright treaty and Arafat strung Clinton along and then threw him under the bus when it was no longer politically expedient to be seen with him.

I ask you Kevin, what would you do different with NoKo and Iran?

We support a far more active role for the United States in negotiating a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. We support a hardnosed dedication to diplomacy and negotiation, Richard Holbrooke style. We recognize that the moral high ground isn't just a nice thing to have, it's crucial to winning support for our policies — and that means a renewed dedication to taking seriously international institutions such as arms control regimes and the United Nations. Military action, when absolutely necessary, should be as sharp and pointed as possible, oriented toward counterinsurgency, not invasion and regime change.

Again, what more could be done to stop the violence between Israel and Palestine? Ehud Barak, at great poltical peril, conceded everything to the Palestinians and they just walked away. They want one thing and one thing only--the complete elimination of the Jewish state. So, what exactly dod Richard Holbrooke accomplish? The Dayton or Bosnia Accords stand out but have all come to naught. We are still in Bosnia. Beside, Holbrooke is a known hawk as is more akin to Lieberman than any so-called centrist.

As for the moral high ground, we did not cede it. The media ceded it for us. By overplaying an isolated incident like Abu Ghraib or continuing a fictitiuos story such as the Koran/toilet incident, they've destroyed our credibility as they did in Vietnam. Our soldiers are serving valiantly and are disgusted by the way they are betrayed and portrayed in the media.

Lastly, Drum show his complete lack of knowledge on things military. We had zero option but regime change in Iraq and Afghanistan. We did indeed strike sharply--in spite of the naysayers on the left--and devastated a standing army within days. Is Drum honestly saying that we should've left the Taliban or Saddam in power? It sounds like it.

...So here's my proposition: At this point, it strikes me that our problem is less about agreeing on policy than it is about agreeing on marketing.

Typical donk thinking. It can't possibly be the message, it's the delivery and marketing of said message that needs work. The nation knows what your message is. While the "centrist message" may make a bit of sense, it is being overshadowed by the anti-war left carrying signs that equate Bush and Hitler or are downright anti-Semitic. Unfortunately for your party Kevin, those people are the visual people think of when they think of the Democratic party.

We have enough consensus on policy that we can move forward if we only have the courage of our convictions about this stuff.

Consensus on what? I've read only the identification of problems and things you may agree on but not one single concrete solution.

We need to talk about our approach out loud, we need to believe that people aren't too scared or stupid to make sense of it, and we need to be clear that we think Republicans are taking a hysterical approach to national security that's both partisan and foolish.

Your message has been heard loud and clear and has been discarded. What you label as an hysterical approach by Republicans seems sensible to the average American. Again, Drum doesn't note what he considers hysterical.

For some reason, though, most Democrats seem unwilling to risk saying this with any serious conviction, relying instead mostly on generic attacks on George Bush. Or so it appears to me.

That is the most truthful sentence of the entire post. Democrats are unwilling espouse their views because their views are out of the mainstream. They indeed attack Bush and it is to the point that their attacks ring hollow. Attacking the presidents policies is politics. Attacking him personally by equating him with murderous dictators or regimes makes Drums party sound petty and unserious.

What the donks need is a strong voice that will show toughness to the world yet stand up for the core Democrat principles. As a matter of fact they have such a man and he was just voted out in Connecticut and is being villified by his party.

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