National Security Democrats

The new plan to firmly establish the Democratic Party as the party of National Security is up and out, and it’s our customary thick sheaf of well-researched, well-argued points about how we’re good and they suck and their Homeland Security sucks. There’s a couple of good points that are likely to get lost in this massive layout of every Republican argument ever and the refutation thereof, so I’d like to pull these points out:

Eliminate Osama Bin Laden, destroy terrorist networks like al Qaeda, finish the job in Afghanistan and end the threat posed by the Taliban.

Yes, yes, oh God baby yes. Listen, for too damn long we’ve been silent on the subject of bin Laden. Our “national security” energy has until now been spent picking at nits instead of asking the question designed to kick lazy, uninformed, gut-check voters right in the emotional solar plexus: Where in the world is Osama? Why haven’t we caught him, “dead or alive” like we promised? Osama’s a gut check. Don’t know a single person, doesn’t want him in jail and isn’t ready to knight whoever makes it happen. We’ve ignored that for too long and allowed them to ignore the fact that he’s still out there, making tapes, freaking people out, when they promised to get him taken care of by now.

There’s more …

Hold the Bush Administration accountable for its manipulated pre-war intelligence, poor planning and contracting abuses that have placed our troops at greater risk and wasted billions of taxpayer dollars.

May I politely suggest commercials that relate this directly to needs in your local community (yes, I know, different taxing bodies, whatever)? For the money we’re spending every day in Iraq, we could send a man back to the moon, cure cancer and build a school for every ten children in America. We spent an awful lot of money. Is spending more going to guarantee a better future for anybody, here or there? Out. Now.

Ensure 2006 is a year of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty, with the Iraqis assuming primary responsibility for securing and governing their country and with the responsible redeployment of U.S. forces.

In other words. Out. Now.

It’s a good plan, hard-hitting, exciting, pretty much exactly what we need to shut the Rovian attack machine up and turn up the volume on our own party’s attacks to eleven …

But. You knew there was a but.

If it sits there like a dead fish on the web where you and I and all the world’s Kossacks can crow over how pretty it is but the people who watch The View (and think that’s a “news show”) don’t ever hear it, it doesn’t mean shit.

My question is, how do we drive coverage of something like this? How does the party plan to make sure this is what people are talking about in the run-up to the midterms? It just enrages me that this AP story, cited by DailyKos and printed damn near everywhere, first of all is about 10 inches long and second of all frames the whole plan as simply an attempt to “change perceptions,” rather than as an actual plan for, you know, security. It’s a horse-race story before the horses are even on the track. Unbelievable. And it’s got this gem of a paragraph:

Indeed, the Democratic statement lacks specific details of a plan to capture bin Laden, the al-Qaida chief who has evaded U.S. forces in the more than four years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But Democrats suggest they will double the number of special forces and add more spies to increase the chances of finding al-Qaida’s elusive leader.

GAAAH. Democrats have no plan. But here’s their plan. Do these people read their own copy before they file?

I look at this media dynamic, one we’ve been living with for years now, and can think of really only one sure way to change it, and that’s to stay, stay, stay, stay on the subject. Don’t just put this out there and forget about it in three days and fret in public that it’s “failed to catch on.” Don’t believe the first poll you see that says people haven’t heard about it, or don’t care. They do care. And the more you tell them why they should care, the more they’ll come to agree with you.

Did people in 10 states vote in 2004 on gay marriage ballot initiatives because they all independently woke up in the morning and thought, “got to stop them boys from kissin’ on each other?” Fuck no. They were told, over and over and over, by people at every level of government and society from their congressman to their president to their pastor to their grocer, that this was the issue, these were the problems. They kinda sorta maybe heard somebody tell somebody he heard on talk radio that John Kerry was a liar. About what? They didn’t know. Couldn’t have told you for ten dollars. But they knew it for sure, because by that point so much information had been thrown out there and repeated and repeated and repeated mercilessly, relentlessly, that you couldn’t help but pick some of it up just by walking through crowds of the infected. It’s viral, their method of information campaigning, because it’s repetitive, it’s relentless, it’s over and over and over until you think, “If I hear the phrase ‘security moms’ one more time I’ll scream.”

So this AP story is crap, and it’s unfortunately what most of the local papers are gonna be running tomorrow. But I’ll be looking with much more interest at the news outlets that actually have to cover it themselves, and seeing if they do a better job. And then keeping up with the coverage. Because if we’re still talking about the Real Security plan in a week, if Republicans on bobblehead shows are still being asked to “respond” to the Democrats’ plan, I’ll be shouting for joy so loudly that no matter where you are, you’ll hear it.

Plans have been made now. Kudos so far. Dems have designed the chair. Now they need to cut the wood, hammer it together, pick it up, and bring it down with full and vigorous force. No backtracking. No getting sidetracked by something Howard Dean said to somebody once. No dillying around fighting amongst themselves. No backing down.

Not. One. Inch.