Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Consistency is a wonderful thing... especially when appealing to the voters...
The good Captain picks up on E.J. Dionne's column about how the Democrats have been unable/unwilling to engage the GOP on national security...
Me thinks Dionne has it somewhat wrong. It's not that the Democrats aren't trying to engage the Republicans on the issue of national security, it is that their positions are so nonsensical that normal people (defined as outside the beltway non-partisan types) just can't make sense of whatever it is the Democrats are talking about.
It's possible that a majority of Americans might actually prefer some of what the Democrats are for... if we could ever figure out what it is they are for.
For example, the Democrats oppose the NSA monitoring programs but want to keep the country vigilent. They criticize the Administration for being mean to terrorist suspects but want the US to be tough against our enemies. They want the United States to act in unison with the 'international community' but don't want to appear as if they're holding the United States hostage to the whims of the corrupt and incompetent Kofi Annans of the world.... again, whatever that means. They complain about Bush acting unilaterally, except when they complain about Bush acting in unison with other countries. They complain when Bush takes the lead, but also complain when Bush takes a back seat and lets others take the lead. They complain they were lied to in order to gain their support for the war but they refuse to say they would have voted against the war. They justify increases in domestic spending by pointing out the money being spent to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan but don't want to appear cheap and unwilling to bear the costs of stabilizing those two countries. And they hate the war but support the troops... whatever that means.
Why should an unaligned voter ever vote Democratic when the voter would have no idea what he'd be getting in return?
That's why I think it is more important for the Democrats to eliminate the inconsistencies in their positions. It may matter far less what they propose than to make sure they're consistent.
Which makes me think that Joel Stein, with his comments about his not wanting to 'support the troops', might be on to something. Sure, he's getting taken to task by those on the right. But, as John Hawkins agrees, here is a liberal who has a position that isn't in conflict with itself; here's a guy who doesn't make the audience go "huh?". His argument is pretty straightforward: to support the troops, you must support what they're doing, you have to root for them to succeed. And if you're against the war and don't want to see more of the same in the future, you have to root against the soldiers who are over there.
We may not like his not supporting the troops just as we may not like his not supporting the war. But we no longer are confused about just what he is for... and against.
And, for all I know, it just may play in Peoria...