Peter Hentges (jbru) wrote,
Peter Hentges
jbru

What say we don't fight?

Bunch of folks on my friends list are linking to an essay on dailykos. One theme of the essay is that in order to progress the Democratic party needs to fight misconceptions of the opposition. Prime example of this is the "morality" issue. The author forwards the idea that, "During the 20th century, the Right took Christianity away from us." Where "us" is the liberal portion of the political spectrum. In order to regain what was lost, he suggests fighting on the same ground and moving Christianity back to the left.

The question of my subject approaches this subject in a different fashion. It is a tactic that the Republicans, actually, used to good effect in this last campaign. How about we simply ignore the main point of the opposition's attack?

When, for example, Dick Cheney's position on same-sex marriages and his lesbian daughter were brought up, they were dismissed quickly by Cheney himself. In the Vice-Presidential debate, with the opportunity to rebut John Edwards who had just brought up his daughter, the Vice President simply said thank you for the kind words about my family.

He didn't engage in a fight that would not benefit him.

So what if we don't fight?

Or, more specifically, what if we don't let them decide which fights to fight? The problem I see with the list that dailykos has come up with is that most of them are still reactionary. They propose fighting the fights that the Republicans chose. Worse yet, they propose preparing to fight in 2008 the fights that the Republicans chose in 2004!

Rather, I think the Democrats need to come up with two, maybe three issues on which to focus their campaign in 2008. Prepare those issues. Put them to the best intellectual and emotional challenges they can devise in order to hone their presentation. Then lead with those issues at every stage of the campaign.

I'm not saying totally ignore the opposition. Some of the points from kos's essay are good here; know the opposition's strengths as well or better than they do and be sure to have a message showing your own strength on that issue when confronted with them. When given an opportunity (especially when making opportunities) to speak, however, the opposition's issues should not be mentioned. What they think is important is not important. What we think is important are the issues that need discussion.

Most importantly, the Democratic party needs to be acting, not reacting. They can't wait for the Republicans to define the issues and their issues should not be ones that are primarily negating Republican views.
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