Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Edwards gets it

Over at MyDD, Jonathan Singer covers the John Edwards speech in Portland today and posts an excerpt and audio file. Here's what Singer posted as an excerpt, and it's a very important point that deserves to be spread far and wide:
And I don't know how many of you even noticed this or how many of you watched the Democratic presidential debate from South Carolina, but I suspect some of you did. But a question was asked whether you agree with the language - the Bush language, which is what it is - "Global War on Terror." And I did not. And I said, I took that position at the debate...


This is a political frame and political rhetoric. They use it to justify everything they do. They use that language to justify the war in Iraq. They use it to justify Guantanamo. They use it to justify torture. They use it to justify illegal spying on the American people.


It is time for us to quit kowtowing to these people. We have to say what we really believe. Now, are there really dangerous people in the world? Of course there are. We need to be smart and aggressive and intelligent, use intelligence - did I say dangerous people? - we have to use intelligence to fight them and stop them. Everybody recognizes that. But the one thing that's been proven beyond any doubt as a result of what's happened in the last six years is raw power alone will never make you a leader. You actually have to have the moral authority.
The right repeatedly repeats the canard that Democrats don't understand that there are bad people in the world, which is both ridiculous and insulting. But it's typical of the comic-book view of the world that many conservatives seem to have, as if wishing things makes them so.

The truly frightening thing is that the conservative approach after the initial, brilliant success in Afghanistan (which was not the product of this administration in any meaningful sense but rather a triumph of intelligence and military professionals) has been to advance a highly partisan, myopic view of the world. It's a world in which there are few shades of gray and anything the administration does is correct because the administration does it. In short, it's a fantasy world, one as utterly unreal and useless as the very idea of waging war on an emotion.

We need a reality-based president, and while it still seems early in the process, Edwards certainly qualifies. He obviously understands how the GOP operates and what it will take to defeat them. Step one is to reject the framing used by conservatives to portray themselves as better on defense issues. Hopefully the American people already intuitively understand what an abject failure this administration has been on that score.

A reality-based president will support our military and intelligence personnel in doing true damage to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, rather than creating conditions that enable them to recruit more terrorists.

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