Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Problem Isn't Bush

I realize that coming from a die-hard, unapologetic liberal blogger, the above title may sound strange, but hear me out.

There's a passage or passages in the excellent David Herbert Donald biography of Abraham Lincoln where the President is listening to general McClellan time after time recite his various and always delayed plans to lauch attacks against cities in the South to which Lincoln increasingly and with ever more frustration responds by trying to get McClellan to recognize that he needs to direct his attacks against the real threat, the Confederate army.

As with McClellan's unwillingness to focus on the source of the Union's main threat from the South, I'm afraid that a lot of what has been passed off as Democratic Party strategy by its operatives and even by some Democratic leaning blogs has been I believe an inordinate focus on the words and actions of President Bush himself, and time staking analysis of current events, as opposed to the more serious and pervasive threat demonstrated by the conservative movement turned establishment itself.

There's lots of analysis on what's going wrong in Iraq from day to day, considerable parsing of the president's inaugural address, and so on. In the most recent presidential campaign, and underlying the Democrats' approach to campaigns generally, seems to be a haphard and uncertain preoccupation with opposing the president based on events as they develop rather than a more thorough and purposely communicated message to the public as to the problem with conservative policies and intentions themselves. This can be seen in the constant references, mostly by media observers, but accepted by some Democratic leaning bloggers as well, for the Democrats to come across "stronger" on national security and so-called "values" issues, to move to the center of the political arena, etc.

The problem isn't primarily the president, who I think we all realize by now isn't terribly interested in the affairs of government, but exists only to recite speeches prepared for him by zeolous staffers, to stuff the bureaucracy and court systems with conservative operatives (which is the same as would be carried out by any Republican president) and to carry on his family's name. The conservative establishment, it's authoritarian and undemocratic ambitions, and its malicious character sleezing and fear mongering appetite should be the most constant target of our (and hopefully the soon to be new Democratic Party heads as well) analysis, strategy, and communication.

Contrary to the chatter among the media that Democrats need to get more conservative, it is the conservative establishment itself that is the problem, and which must be opposed. This is why the Democrats cannot "move towards the center".

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