And it looks like fear will be the only message coming from the collective mouths of the Republican Party.
President Bush and his surrogates are launching a new campaign intended to rebuild support for the war in Iraq by accusing the opposition of aiming to appease terrorists and cut off funding for troops on the battlefield, charges that many Democrats say distort their stated positions.
With an appearance before the American Legion in Salt Lake City today, Bush will begin a series of speeches over 20 days centered on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But he and his top lieutenants have foreshadowed in recent days the thrust of the effort to put Democrats on the defensive with rhetoric that has further inflamed an already emotional debate.
It worked the last time. Remember the TV ad with the wolves ready to descend and kill us all if we elected John Kerry? The only question now is whether Americans can possibly be so stupid as to let it work again. It was a year ago today in New Orleans that we all saw with our own eyes just how splendidly this administration can protect its citizens from harm. They did a heckuva job, demonstrating all they’d learned from 911 when it comes to managing a crisis. It’s good to know we’re in safe hands, unsullied by patronage and cronyism.
As we all know by now, fear is the only weapon they have left, and unfortunately Karl Rove knows well how to apply it. Although a majority of Americans are now against the war in Iraq, prepare to hear the Democrats who agree denounced as quitters, Neville Chamberlains, cut and runners, cowards, and friends to terrorists. Once again, the Republicans have thought out their talking points with meticulous calculation, and as the election fast approaches you’ll see the Wurlitzer pumping these messages out tirelessly, with Drudge, Limbaugh and Michelle controlling the levers.
What about the Democrats? What are their messages and talking points? As the cliche goes, the only thing that can keep the Republicans in power is the Democrats. If I don’t see signs that they (Dems) can coordinate their messages and thwart the kind of brainwashing we saw Rove perform in 2004, then I will not be at all surprised if the upcoming election is a major disappointment. The voters want to know what the candidates stand for. What the Republicans are saying they stand for is complete and utter crap, but at least they give the voters an image, a picture, a theme. With the Dems, even now, all we see is disorganization and in-fighting. Can’t we all get along and create a unified front, at least for a couple of months, so we can boot the GOP out of Congress? That’s all that matters. After the election, resume your feuding. But for now, we need to stand together to fight off the tidal wave of Republican propaganda heading straight in our direction.They know exactly where your weak spots are and they will expoit them with zero mercy. Time for us to do the same to them, and God knows today’s GOP has weak spots aplenty.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.