We are now into the vicious segment of the campaign, with Republicans accelerating their reckless attacks in hopes of luring Democrats into constant demurrers and pleas of innocence. To their detriment, Democrats take the bait all the time, obediently responding to the wrong question. Like, “Well, isn’t the surge working? Wasn’t McCain smart and tough to recommend it?” Backpedalling, the Democrats concede that, oh, okay, so maybe it looks like it was the right thing to do after all.
Time to return to the KISS Principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Iraq You want credit for diminishing a disaster that you yourself created? That’s like a pyromaniac who commits arson wanting credit for later calling the fire department. Let me respond to your boast with a single question: Was it worth 4,000 American lives to remove one man, Saddam Hussein, a bully and a bluffer who neither had WMD nor was involved in 9/11? Just a simple “Yes” or “No” will suffice. Your answer, please? Worth 4,000 lives? Yes or no?
Osama bin Laden The man who murdered 3,000 Americans on 9/11 is still at large, and his organization al Qaeda is stronger than ever. You want credit for “No new attacks on American soil since 9/11”? Well, of course. Why would al Qaeda waste the price of a plane ticket to America when you set up a shooting gallery of American soldiers and support personnel right next door in Iraq for them to kill? Would al Qaeda be cowed and bin Laden be dead today if we had put half the effort of the Iraq war into finding and killing him? Again, just a simple “Yes” or “No” will suffice.
Supreme Court You say you would appoint more Supreme Court justices like the very ones who ordered the state of Florida to stop counting votes in the presidential election of 2000. Stop counting votes? In America? In the world’s foremost democracy? Would you please point out where in the Constitution of the United States of America, which your supposedly strict-constructionist justices are appointed to uphold, this suspension of democracy is permitted? Just the Article and Section numbers will suffice, thank you. It’s either there, or it isn’t. And your choices are either faithful justices, or they are politically motivated opportunists.
Economic policy You favor continuation of the Bush policies of extending tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. But this policy has been accompanied by the lousiest job growth and wage stagnation in decades for everybody else. Either a policy works, or it doesn’t. Either it is good for America, or only for a favored few. When an economic policy is clearly not working to strengthen the nation and the majority of its citizens, why would you not be eager to change it?
National debt Congress passed a Pay-As-You-Go law in the 1990s requiring a balance in the federal budget between income and expense. Yet the same disastrous tax policies that you support have taken us from a surplus in the treasury to a $10,000,000,000,000 debt, in blatant violation of the “PayGo” law. Republicans didn’t even have sufficient courage of their convictions to ask America to pay for the Iraq war. Worst of all, this cowardly avoidance of “PayGo” has resulted in an immoral shifting of fiscal responsibility from our generation to that of our children and grandchildren. How do you justify continuing this “Charge it to our children” policy which refuses to accept responsibility for paying our own way? (Please don’t insult us by saying that you’re just going to cut spending and reduce the size of government. We know that’s baloney.) Will you honor PayGo or not? Yes or no?
Abortion Those who would deny the possibility of abortion to Americans claim that life is sacred from the moment of conception. Let’s agree to this. It is profoundly true. All life is sacred. The life of a tiny fetus is sacred. And so is the life of an elderly person on life-support. And that of a comatose accident victim in a permanently vegetative state. Families make decisions every day, in holy fear and trembling, to terminate the lives of adults whose future is bleak and burdensome. These are considered acts of mercy toward all concerned. If you can countenance or even support these acts of mercy that terminate a sacred adult life, why not yet another at the other earliest instant of the life cycle done with equal reverence?
Gay marriage To deny another the joys and blessings that we ourselves enjoy is simply wrong. Wrong. There is no other word for it. In the absence of any evidence whatsoever of adverse consequences for anyone, how do you justify withholding from any citizen the protections and privileges the state confers on others by recognizing their marriages? (Please don’t invoke religious criteria or promote “civil unions”. We are not a theocracy, and we renounced “separate but equal” decades ago.)
Democrats will not win merely by countering the illogic and hypocrisy of Republicans’ relentless claims and charges. They must also portray a fresh vision of America that appeals to the heart. But unless they reverse the instinct to defensively answer every wrong question, by reframing the issue and shifting the burden back to the Republicans instead, they’ll find that November has come and gone without their ever having had a chance to convey that vision and lead America back to its senses.