Monday :: May 12, 2003

Can Bush Be Challenged from the Center-Left?: Your Ideas


by Steve

Reading the comments in response to my thread of last night, it is clear that many thought I was targeting Howard Dean’s candidacy with my analysis. Although I wrote this with Dean in mind, my aversion is not to Dean, but to losing forty states by running a candidate who cannot compete effectively in the environment that Karl Rove has created for 2004. Those of you critical of my analysis justifiably so rejected the proposition that we must fight the 2004 campaign on Karl Rove’s terms and on his field. I would like nothing more than to fight the campaign on our terms, our issues, and with our bulldog, whether than be Dean or John Edwards, or one of the candidates I said last night would be better positioned to go at Bush’s strengths. I just think that at this time, eighteen months out, we are not positioned to do so effectively and prevent a forty-state blowout.

Having said that, and in the interest of giving even those who disagree with me frequently the opportunity to play out how the fight can be taken to Bush on terms they would prefer, let’s simplify the campaign next year to the only two major themes and issues it appears Rove plans to run on. According to various media reports over the last several days, Bush’s whole agenda and reason for re-election will be boiled down to the fight against terrorism and the need for annual tax cuts to ostensibly create jobs. We know that both of these agenda items are disingenuous. The fight against terror is nothing more than an ongoing diversionary maneuver away from having to address real domestic problems and international challenges. And a sole domestic agenda of annual tax cuts is nothing more than a transparent attempt to drain the federal treasury of revenues wanted by Democrats to address the unmet needs of the nonwealthy, reflecting a basic craven choice of the GOP to pander to their interest groups and engage in class warfare to the detriment of the poor and working class Americans. Such an annual looting of the federal treasury to benefit the few will be spun by Rove each year as a necessary tonic to create more jobs. Yet he will hope that the public doesn’t notice that the previous tax cuts do nothing but line the pockets of the few at the expense of our children.

Knowing that Bush and Rove’s whole agenda and plan for the 2004 campaign center on the war on terror and tax cuts/jobs, how can the Democrats and their candidates create the environment where a “Domestic Needs First” campaign can gain traction? Those of you who downplayed my concerns of last night that a Democratic candidate must cross the threshold of credibility on national security first in order to attack Bush on his weaknesses are invited to lay out a scenario over the next six months where a center-left candidate can do so effectively without sounding like Bush-lite on war and terrorism.

I have an idea for how to go at Bush’s strength from a center-left position, but it is risky and requires a very credible approach. I will explore it further later this week, but I want to hear from Dean supporters and possible Green voters in 2004 a center-left plan for going at Bush over the next several months and on which issues you would focus. I want to know how you would specifically deal with the media to gain traction and overcome the mighty Wurlitzer. And while doing this, how would you deal with your fellow Democrats?

Steve :: 9:59 PM :: Comments (34) :: Digg It!