Monday, November 15, 2004

# Posted 6:45 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

THE MEME IS DEAD. LONG LIVE THE MEME! Now David Broder is denoucning the pernicious "values voter" myth. Given that Broder, Dionne and Kevin Drum have all come out against this myth, I think it's safe to say that gay marriage won't become this year's Willie Horton.

On the other hand, I think it's premature to say that the Democrats have finally decided to get serious about national security, because that is the only way to win elections. For example, take a look at Robert Kaiser's essay on the cover of the Outlook section in yesterday's WaPo. Kaiser begins by offering five possible definitions of what it means to be a Democrat. Not one of them has a damn thing to do with national security. Here is Kaiser's advice for the Democratic party:
Yes, America is a conservative society. It always has been...

But we are also, polls make clear, a tolerant and moderate people. Democrats could become the party of tolerance, meaning tolerance for everyone: Bible readers, gay couples and Bible-reading gay couples alike. There is a strain of intolerance in today's conservative Republicanism, and that's an opportunity for the Democrats as they try to bring new people into their tent.

Americans also believe in economic fairness. Most Americans say the Bush administration's policies principally help the wealthy...

And a neoconservative foreign policy is hardly a popular platform -- couldn't Democrats come up with a believable approach to national security that actually makes sense?
It's interesting to note how Kaiser has specific advice to offer on the economic and cultural fronts, but can offer nothing more than a plea for sanity when it comes to foreign policy. Yet if Bush's (allegedly neo-conservative) approach was so unpopular, why did he have such a commanding lead in the polls when voters were asked who they trusted more to handle the situation in Iraq and the war on terror?

For some time now, OxBlog has hoped that the Democratic party would return to the principles of Harry Truman, who recognized that strength and idealism are not mutually exclusive, but mutually reinforcing. George Bush may have inherited Truman's mantle, at least rhetorically, but his policies still don't measure up. That is the Democrats' opening.

UPDATE: Reader AS cannily points out that Kevin Drum has fallen into the same trap as Robert Kaiser. In Kevin's bullet-point version of Democratic ideals, there isn't a single mention of foreign policy.
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