Karl Rove, speaking to members of the Republican National Committee today (NY Times link, registration req’d) apparently said that Republican candidates should make the “war on terror” a key issue in this year’s elections.
The Democrats should take a page out of the Republicans’ book and hit this issue — which Republicans believe is their best — head on. Directly, with extreme force, without cleverness, cuteness, or nuance.
Get voters thinking about these questions and issues:
1. Have Republicans in Congress or President Bush really done everything they can to take on the terrorists who really threaten us, specifically Al Qaeda and OBL?
2. If so, why haven’t we captured OBL yet when the President said nearly 5 years ago we would get him “dead or alive”? Why does he continue to send out tapes threating us, and bombing our allies (London, Madrid, Bali, etc)?
3. Has invading Iraq made us safer from Al Qaeda?
4. Has invading Iraq helped defeat or weaken Al Qaeda?
5. Does the President’s declaration he can spy on you and your friends (i.e., American Citizens) without any oversight and in defiance of the law make us safer from Al Qaeda?
After asking those questions, Democrats should simply remind voters that if they are in power they will:
1. Make taking on Al Qaeda the top priority until it poses no serious threat.
2. Do everything in their power to find OBL and his top associates.
3. Do everything in their power to ensure the war in Iraq does not distract us from those first two goals.
4. Do everyting possible to speed up the pace of handing over full responsibility to Iraqis and the UN in support of #3.
5. Commit to fighting Al Qaeda, and hunting down OBL, and not infringe upon Americans’ liberties and freedoms.
Many, perhaps most, Americans now recognize our adventure in Iraq as the Great Distraction that it is.
They need to be reminded that for over three years, President Bush has made Iraq the top priority, not Al Qaeda, and that by doing so he has made us less safe. Period.