Dear Mr. Kaus,
I perused your latest prescription for the Democratic party today. Let me see if I can give a quick summary of each and the problems therein:
1) Let the American people believe that they are now *safe* and that the war on terror can be 'regularized' *just* like the Cold War.
The Cold War was a struggle against a nation that had the strange idea that Communism would be a really great idea for everyone, if they could only force it down their throats at the point of a gun. The nuclear standoff played into the diplomatic arena and allowed both sides of the struggle to keep things at a status quo so that the bulk of the world's northern hemisphere did not become a radioactive cinder. Even the worst of the Democrats believed in keeping that tension going so that they could then pass their domestic agenda.
Well there are a few stumbling blocks in this. First, and foremost, is that the foe in this struggle is not contained within a Nation state and, indeed, crosses international boundaries and does not respect them. Secondly, there is a sub-set of transnational terrorists that would be more than happy to leave most of the world a radioactive cinder if enough of their believers survived to take over what remains. Third, and finally, terrorists do not respect the rules and codes of war nor of Nation states nor of morality or ethics beyond their own. They cannot be bribed, subborned or conquered. What can be done is killing them before they strap on a bomb and kill themselves and more innocent people.
So perhaps you could ask the Democrats to Square the Circle, Trisect an angle and then Find a Cure for the Common Cold as each of these are just as likely to them coming up with a coherent response to transnational terrorism.
2) Change focus from foreign policy (where you don't have one) to domestic policy (where you don't have one).
So while the Democrats have the votes of those who believe that fighting terrorism is 'completely wrongheaded', I believe that you will find that those numbers are not growing and that, as Afghanistan and Iraq stand up as States trying to embrace democracy, that there will be fewer in the 'wrongheaded' camp and more in the 'if they don't like us, then we will kill them' camp. The Democrats had 8 long years to put together a coherent foreign policy that made the US and the world safer under Bill Clinton. That got us the 1993 WTC bombing, the African Embassy bombings, the USS Cole bombing, and an attempt to handle transnational terrorism via law enforcement and diplomacy.
Further, the Democrats attempted to bribe North Korea into not putting an industry together to create nuclear device and dissuade Pakistan from exporting their nuclear technology. That worked oh, so well, didn't it? We are living with that 'be nice or else nothing' approach and it got us: 9/11, flipping the Pakistani President, the uncovering of the Khan supply of plans and devices to foreign states, North Korea producing Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles and deciding to restart their nuclear industry before it became apparent that they were doing so through the Khan network, the Taliban harboring al Qaeda, and an intransigent Iraq that had Saddam Hussein trying to convince absolutely everyone that he had WMDs as a threat against them once sanctions were lifted.
What the Democrats have not done is demonstrated that they actually care or even know about transnational terrorism and have a program to effectively take the fight to them. And on that latter part, I also fault the Republicans. By reading in the MultiCulti, Transworld First, America is a Backwards Nation, Politically Correct crowd and reading out the Jacksonians the effect is that they are losing grip on the Southern and Western States and limiting their appeal to urban centers. They are becoming marginilized islands of blue in a sea of red. To gain back any sense of trust in that Red Sea that is America the Democratic party will actually have to stand up *for* being American FIRST. That party is apparently running out of people who actually believe in the country that they are being elected in.
3) Give the American people soothing words and keep on repeating "We were safe at 9/10. We were safe at 9/10." You are also suggesting that they give a fairly severe critique of the Bush Presidency.
Second note first here: They are doing that daily and show that they are not serious about understanding the Constitution, the Division of Power and the Balance of Power within the Constitution. Congressmen and Senators complain of not having warmaking powers when, in fact, they are present in Article I Section 8. No one can help it if they do not have the guts to actually *read* the document that they are sworn to protect.
And on the first note, please try to convince the American people that everything was just A-OK and hunky-dorey on 9/10 and that another 9/11 will *never* happen so long as we take the exact same approach as we did to get us to 9/10. For the Democrats to let the American People know "that Dems are the wacky, fringe, cultural boundary-pushing party of drugs, gay marriage, euthanasia, etc." is mistaken the Democratic party will actually need to have a 'Sister Souljah' year and read them all out of the party and convince people that they actually *do* stand for something besides handouts.
Unfortunately the Democratic party has gotten so fixated on being the opposite of anything that the Republicans or the Bush Administration stand for and do, that they are now marginalizing themselves completely from the rest of red state America.
I would enjoy it *very* much if the Democrats would not keep undercutting the spread of democracy in the Middle East. And I would love to have a Democratic party that actually realized that 'open borders' and 'sanctuary cities' are asking to have one of those 'sanctuary cities' suddenly become a ghost town, irradiated or a glassy bowl. And I would personally enjoy anyone within the Democratic party that would just come out and say 'It doesn't matter if you are Democrat or Republican, this nation's politics stops at its shores. We stand united in this struggle to protect the country and eliminate transnational terrorism from the globe.'
So far, I don't see anyone within that party that has the backbone to come to terms with any of that, save Joe Lieberman and Zell Miller. Unfortunately the only Jacksonians left in the party are those that follow Jesse, not Andy or Scoop. And Jesse just doesn't seem to like American red in his rainbow, only the Communist kind.
I would, personally, like a two party system. We seem to be heading to a ZERO party system these days.
So, perhaps you should ask the Democrats to join us in the same space-time continuum, first and then to adjust to the real 'reality' instead of what they would love it to be.
15 February 2006
Dear Mr. Kaus,