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April 29, 2006

The Common Good and Iran

by Nicholas Beaudrot of Electoral Math

Matt Yglesias levels the most effective criticism of the Tomasky-Teixeira-Halpin Common Good/Politics of Definition recommendations, which is that it sidesteps issues of foreign policy. All the domestic reframing in the world will not eliminate the Republican advantage on launching ill-advised wars national security and related issues. Over one third of voters cited "Iraq" or "terrorism" as the most important issue, and Bush won these voters 59-41.

While I find the "common good" frame incredibly seductive, Matt's almost certainly right. Reframing support for universal health care, the minimum wage, and fighting global warming as self-interest best expressed as group interest—that's the easy part. Finding convincing foreign policy principals to compete with, to paraphrase The Onion, "kill the bastards" [$1 to whoever can find a link to the article I'm talking about] is the difficult question that's not getting enough attention.

April 29, 2006 | Permalink


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Campaign '80
Which message will resonate with voters?

"Let's talk better mileage"
- Jimmy Carter

"Kill the Bastards"
- Ronald Reagan

That Onion article is from their 20th century headline books so it wouldn't be online (unless someone scanned in a copy somewhere). There's an excerpt here

Posted by: Jacob | Apr 29, 2006 11:46:46 AM

It seems like many Democrats have internalized the Republican spin: Republicans strong, Democrats weak. Democrats have a large opportunity right now, IMO, to show how the Republican foreign policy is actually making our country weaker. I think the large numbers of "fighting Dems" is a positive sign.

Posted by: Unstable Isotope | Apr 29, 2006 7:30:53 PM

There are stong arguments to be made about the strategic mistakes of this administration. Making those arguments repeatedly can drive home the reality that we understand more about sources and effective uses of power than the current frame has us understanding. We must internalize the reality that we may be forced into military action against Iran because of shrub's actions. Knowing that will help us strike the proper balance between showing Iran that we will if they force us to, and the diplomacy that could lead to peaceful resolution. Several folks are making the argument, we just have to pick it up and run with it.

Posted by: Fr33d0m | Apr 29, 2006 10:31:03 PM

It's really not hard.

1) Unequivocally condemn tyrants in plain language. It is not "insulting and undiplomatic" to call that little runt Kim what he is.
2) Don't freak out two weeks into a war when it hasn't been won yet. We saw a lot of Democrats do this during Afghanistan and Kosovo. As well as a lot of reflexive pullout calls after Mogadishu. When Republicans opposed Kosovo, they didn't hurt their national security cred because they just said simply that it wasn't in our national interest. They were wrong, but it didn't sound like plaintive whining, which is what Democrats sounded like during the Gulf War and the current Iraq war.
3) Don't say something is a dire threat, go to the UN, and then come back empty-handed and say "There's nothing we can do". If you say something is a threat and the UN refuses to act, act unilaterally.
4) Announce clearly that any terrorist act sponsored by another state is an act of war by that state and will be responded to with a declaration of war. Even if the attack fails.

Posted by: Adam Herman | Apr 30, 2006 12:28:05 AM

Bring back isolationism. It's a simple, practical, hardheaded policy that is not all that difficult to explain to the electorate. American policy should be set for the benefit of Americans. The big historical mistake in the 20th century was the US entering WWI (thanks to that racist scumbag Woodrow Wilson) and virtually all the evils of the 20th century flow from that. No Wilsonian interventionism = no Hitler, most probably no Soviet Union or at the very least one that didn't own half of Europe, and more orderly decolonization (say goodbye to half of the squalid Third World dictatorships). Wilson was one of the most evil men of the 20th century, right up there with Lenin and Hitler.

Bring back isolationism!

Posted by: Firebug | Apr 30, 2006 12:43:01 AM

American policy should be set for the benefit of Americans.

Agreed. And this is the position from which I argue the issue of illegal immigration. In contrast, most of the liberals on this board argue illegal immigration from the illegal immigrants' perspective and benefit.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Apr 30, 2006 9:02:12 AM

I'm fine with isolationism philosophically, but let's understand that we aren't going to go from world police back to isolationist overnight. There are many places in the world that would fall into open warfare if the US suddenly said, "We're not involved anymore, do whatever you want".

Posted by: Adam Herman | May 1, 2006 7:58:14 AM

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