I've said it again and again and again -- and I guess I'll have to keep saying it: the Democrats will never become the majority party until they can convince the American people that they can keep the country safer than the Republicans. All together now: It's the national security, stupid! And if I sound like a broken record, so should the Democrats.
Of course, many Democratic leaders do grasp this basic concept, but, according to the Times, have "not yet figured out how to counter the White House's long assault on their national security credentials."
Again, at the risk of turning blue in the face, let me help them out: they should follow Jack Murtha's lead and, as he's done in letters to Congress and to the president, how how Bush's imperial adventure in Iraq has had devastating consequences on the real battle at hand -- keeping us safe and secure.
The evidence is everywhere: neglected ports and railways. Underfunded first responders. A tripling of terror attacks worldwide. Poor and failing grades from the 9/11 Commission. Osama still on the loose. Iraq as a breeding ground for a new generation of terrorists. Al-Qaeda making a comeback in Afghanistan. Depleted troops. Shaky allies. Emboldened enemies.
How to counter the Bush-as-protector myth? Aggressively and unrelentingly. Go after his supposed strength (indeed, his only remaining strength) and show it's actually his greatest vulnerability. The Democratic strategy must follow the old sports truism: the best defense against attacks that they are soft on terror is a great offense against the architects of the bungled response to the war on terror.
You know, this stuff is so obvious. The Republicans won (okay, I know they stole the election but it was close enough for them to steal) by going after Kerry's strength. We know that's how they do it. So why don't we do the same? Once more, it's obvious.
UPDATE: On this subject, I really have to let you know what Ken Mehlman is up to. The article is entitled, "GOP chairman questions Democrats' ability to protect Americans" and here's the pertinent excerpt:
WASHINGTON - Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, declared Friday that Democrats who have condemned the Bush administration's controversial eavesdropping program may not be suited to safeguard Americans against terror attacks.
"We do not and we never should question these Democrat leaders' patriotism, but we do question their judgment and we do question their ability to keep the American people safe," he said. "These are people we know love their country, the question is: Can they protect it?"
We need to answer this and answer it forcefully. Why oh why are the Democrats taking this stuff lying down?????