Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Iraq: still a political winner for the Republicans? Part 2

Continued from the previous post: So where did Kerry and Bush differ on Iraq? Well, for one, Kerry didn't lie to the American people about there being nuclear weapons in Iraq. Like many sensible Americans (including, um, Framebot), Kerry was fooled by Bush's various lies and misrepresentations and supported the war because he thought Saddam had WMD's. Instead of attacking Bush for the actual bad things he did (lying about the reasons for going to war, going to war against Saddam instead of Osama) he attacked Bush for not being friendly enough with the French and the UN, whom most swing voters hate! These attacks rang so hollow because most Americans weren't mad at Bush for failing to respect the UN or failing to institute a draft but for starting a mostly counterproductive war on false premises. Kerry did float a "I was fooled by Bush" meme trial balloon around March of 2004, but, relying on the worthless focus group data of the win-phobic Bob Shrum, he eventually dropped it and resumed bitching endlessly about how he would have been nicer to our allies. Perhaps he was spooked by the ridiculous arguments of Iraq War defenders, exemplified by that unlikely president of the Iraq War Fanclub, Christopher Hitchens, in his June 2004 Slate article (I believe the Slate date is a year off) The Gullible Mr. Kerry. Hitchens, drunk perhaps on the heady rush of our initial success in toppling Saddam, parrots the frail talking point deployed by Bush's loyal soliders at NRO and other places: Would you rather vote for the brave leader with the boldness to fudge the truth about a disastrous war or for the naive schmuck whom he fooled? The obvious answer here is the naive schmuck, but for some reason Kerry and Shrum never quite saw that, and yet another brick was added to the wall of Kerry's horrible, failed campaign. Tomorrow: How the Democrats can (and probably will) make the same mistake and lose again on the Iraq issue in 2006.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Iraq's New Draft Constitution

I know what you're thinking: Sure Iraq's new Draft Constitution may plunge that country into a vicious civil war that will kill hundreds of thousands - but what are the implications for the 2006 US congressional elections? I'm glad you asked.

The Constitution referendum is on Oct. 15th, and one of two things will happen that day: 1) the constitution will be approved, leading to a Shia-Kurd federalist government and a strong possibility of a long-lasting civil war between the Sunnis and everyone else, or 2) The Sunnis muster enough votes (66.6% in 3 of Iraq's 18 provinces) to block the constiution, at which point a new interim government will have to be elected by December 15, and they will then have at least a year to write a new draft constitution.

President Bush is firmly behind the first option and the new Draft even though just last week he was desperate to see it go down in flames (from above WaPo article):

The United States, in hopes of producing a constitution with widespread support that would take the steam out of the violent Sunni-led insurgency, worked furiously to avert this result to no avail. Bush even intervened personally earlier in the week.

So why is Bush so strong is his support of the potentially disastrous (subscription) Draft Constitution? Because option 2), while probably the better option for the long term stability of Iraq, won't produce a permanent government until well after the 2006 midterm elections, and Bush, despite his recent smokescreen of comments about staying the course, is almost certainly desperate to cut and run well before then. Democrats should support a Sunni rejection of the Draft Constitution not only because it would give the Sunnis an motive for politcal participation rather than simply more insurgent attacks but also because an ongoing Iraq occupation in 2006 might spell disaster for the Republicans in the Midterms. Much more on this in the coming days.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Iraq: still a political winner for the Republicans? Part 1

The situation in Iraq provides a beautiful case study in how the Bush Republicans seem to be able to win elections and dominate political discourse despite having some profoundly terrible policies. John Kerry continually wounded himself (you know, just like in Vietnam) with his political strategies vis a vis Iraq. And not just by voting against the famous $87 billion in the primaries.
His general approach to questions about Iraq was to spout off about the UN and involving more allies, which polled well in the abstract (people like it more than the other choice, going it completely alone and suffering more US losses) but sounded weak and vaguely French when employed as Kerry's #1 talking point about an ongoing war. When asked what his strategy was for winning the Iraq conflict, he said roughly the same things Bush was saying (train more Iraqis, don't withdraw before it's stable, etc.) They agreed on basically staying the course, and rightly so: a complete pullout would have been a political disaster and would have reduced Iraq's chances of a stable future from slim to none, while significantly boosting troop levels (say, via a draft) and trying to fix Iraq properly would have been political suicide for either candidate. It also likely would have been too little too late at that point. So where did Kerry and Bush differ on Iraq?
I think I'll leave it here as a cliffhanger, both to generate excitement and anticipation among my many readers (sound of crickets chirping) and to keep my post lengths nice and short. Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Welcome to the Beta Version of Framebot

Framebot is a political blog offering free talking points and priceless politically commentary. It will serve as a source and clearinghouse for coherent talking points and framing strategy for Democrats, as their party sorely lacks either. It will hopefully also be a repository of unconventional political commentary and occasional humor. It will frequently consider the following question: What would the Democratic Party do if it actually wanted to contest elections as effectively as the Republican Party?