It's still 15 months before the next federal election in the USA, and already George W. Bush is set to mop the floor with whatever Tom, Dick, or Kerry that ends up landing the Democratic nomination. In the end, it isn't going to matter what frontman meat-puppet the Democrats prop up in front of the voting public. Bush and the Republicans have something the Democrats clearly don't: a highly publicized, clear and concise vision.
Any party without a clear, widely disseminated plan is infinitely beatable. This holds true in any country. Take, for instance, the conservative opposition party in my Canadian homeland: The Canadian Alliance. I know they have a plan in regard to what they would do if they were to ever govern because I've seen it on their website; however, I'd venture to guess that even the most staunch Canadian Alliance supporters couldn't describe three Alliance policies. Even a right-winger like myself had to ferret out the information on my own. Prior to doing so, all I was really sure of was that the Canadian Alliance stood for whatever the federal Liberals didn't.
This party has the best ideas in the country that no one knows about. While discussing this issue recently with a Canadian Alliance Member of Parliament, he explained that his party's job is limited to attacking the government, its policies, and actions. He went on to say that his party only really focuses on making its own policies and platform known to the public during the 36 days directly prior to the next general election. Hey, if you have the ideas and policies in place, why wait to spread the good news? It takes more than 36 days to effectively influence voters. The Canadian Alliance could certainly learn a thing or two from the Republicans about how to continually and effectively advertise a clear and concise policy platform--and about the obvious benefits of doing so.
Top Bush advisor, Karl Rove, made it clear last month that he's not worried about any competition from the Democrats. And why should he be concerned? He's a man with a vision, and we all know it. The Washington Post reported that while Rove was hanging out at an Independence Day parade in DC, he spotted some supporters of Democratic front-runner Howard Dean. They were wearing "Howard Dean for President" T-shirts and chanting, "Go Howard Dean! Go Howard Dean!" Rove turned to his acquaintance and said, "Heh heh heh. Yeah, that's the guy we want!" He then yelled to the crowd, "How come no one is cheering for Howard Dean! Come on! Go Howard Dean! Go Howard Dean!" This hardly sounds like a guy who lies awake at night worrying about a party that has reportedly been trying to drag Al Gore kicking and screaming out of whatever pile of mothballs he's been hiding out in.
Sure, the Democrats may hate Bush more than they've hated any Republican since Richard Nixon; however, their inability to focus and condense all that hatred into a strong game plan that can be pitched to voters will prove to be their downfall. All the public really knows about the Democrats right now and what they stand for is that they're unhappy with the current state of the economy and they believe that the post-war situation in Iraq is really messy.
Well, things have been getting rough for the Democrats lately, and they're only bound to get worse. Unfortunately for them, US forces under Bush's leadership have succeeded in capturing Saddam Hussein's two right-hand henchmen (his sons Uday and Qusay), and they're closing in on Saddam himself. Democracy isn't going to be instilled overnight in Iraq, but Bush's vision is being carried out. As a result, life is gradually improving for the Iraqi people.
As for the economy, Bush still has 15 months to turn it around. Bush has an MBA, as well as a Secretary of Commerce (Don Evans) who thoroughly understands economic cycles. Things may not look too rosy right now in that department, but it's not who's ahead at half-time that wins the game. So it looks like the Dems are rapidly running out of things to criticize. When there's nothing left to attack, what will they be left with? Hedging all your bets on someone else's failures is a dangerous game.
The Democrats' insistence on making an affair of epic proportions out of the 16 words in Bush's State of the Union address related to an inaccurate British report on the sale of uranium to Iraq didn't sit too well with the public. Since September 11th, the Democrats have largely been viewed as being soft on terrorism in the same way that their predecessors were seen as being soft on communism during the Cold War--and rightfully so. Howard Dean has repeatedly spoken out passionately against the US invasion of Iraq--but he's still glad that Hussein has now been ousted from power. Earth to Dr. Dean: Sometimes war IS the solution. Transport Dean back in time a few decades, and he probably would have been sitting around trying to talk some sense into Hitler while millions of Jews were being slaughtered.
Democrats want a certain result without having to do the "dirty-work", but they'll gladly sit around and criticize you while you're doing it. You can bet that the next time a Democrat manages to get into the White House, he'll be accumulating a huge mess for some poor, gutsy, pro-active Republican to clean up at a later date. Reagan finally socked it to the communists after years of Democratic uselessness and inaction; Bush is now dealing with the terrorists after two terms of negligence on the part of Bill Clinton. Leaders plan and act; followers sit on the sidelines and whine.
Voters know exactly what Bush stands for. The man is as plain-speaking as they come. He and his advisors meet with various grassroots GOP groups religiously, and are constantly perfecting and honing their strategy as a result of the feedback they receive. The Bush strategy is no secret to the public; he drives home its key points at every opportunity. He's honest and forthright about where he's going--and the best the Democrats can do is attack him. If they have any coherent strategy, it's obviously the world's best-kept secret. Why wait to tell the public what their platform is, unless they're still trying to cobble one together? The public deserves far better, and they know it. Strategy delayed will be victory denied. Mark my words.