If you are like me, you have most certainly have heard one of the following at least a few dozen times over the past few months or years:
"What would the Democrats do about Iraq?" Or "the Democrats have no ideas". Or, "the Democrats have no plan for X." Or, "the Democrats are just plain incompetent".
And you know what - instead of being backed into a corner and having to defend against these asinine questions, I have turned it back to the republicans. You know - "why should the republicans get a pass for all their screw ups?" "What is the republicans' plan for Iraq (other than stupid phrases)?" "What have the republicans done right?" Or "what is the republicans' plan for X?".
After all, it is the republicans who have been in charge of Congress for 12 years, of the White House for six, of the court system, of the direction of this country, the foreign policy decisions, the way that our money has been spent, and pretty much everything else that we are going through now as a country. It is the republicans that should be on the defensive, not the Democrats.
Last week, I wrote a diary titled They drove us into a ditch. Now let's take away the keys. And right now, there is a diary on the recommended list by bink that is highlighting an upcoming CNN report on "democratic party incompetence". And the message is clear. The responsibility does NOT lie with the Democrats for where we are with respect to Iraq. The incompetence at the federal level with respect to the response to Katrina, the tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy, the shrinking middle class, the corruption rampant in Congress, the cronyism, no bid contracts with Halliburton, cuts to veterans benefits, Jack Abramoff, the lobbyists who write the laws are ALL the result of the republican policies.
I think the following quote from future House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sums it up best:
"You must drain the swamp if you are going to govern for the people," she says, wagging a finger. The Republicans "have forgotten who they work for. [Democrats] haven't had a bill on the floor for 12 years."
This bears repeating. The Democrats have not had a bill on the floor for 12 years. Minimum wage hikes not getting a vote. Health care changes not getting a vote. Stem cell research not getting a (passing) vote. 9/11 Commission recommendations not getting a vote. Tax cuts that favor We the People over corporate tax cuts not getting a vote. Benefits for veterans not getting a vote. And the list goes on and on. And on.
What about Iraq? This is a huge concern for many voters, and rightfully so. This administration, and the rubber stamp republican Congress got us into the mess - with lies and billions of dollars of money wasted, lost, stolen, unaccounted for - and still not enough armor or equipment for those who are being sent (and forced) to fight for, well, for what?
What is the plan? What is the "mission"? What is the "course" to stay (or not stay as Bush's amnesia sets in)? What was the plan? And what will be the plan?
Well, even with all of the reports that have come out blasting the administration, Bush, Rumsfeld and just about everyone else that had a hand in this absolute disgraceful mess, and even with republican senators (ones who actually served in the military like John Warner and Chuck Hagel) saying that things need to change, there is STILL nothing from the republicans as far as what to do.
A few months back, "stay the course" and "this will be a future president's problem to clean up" were the way for Chimp in Chief to deal with his monstrosity. And over the past two days, we see that the "new and improved" mission is, well, the same "old and tired' mission. Blame others for the violence, do nothing differently and change the way that they talk about Iraq.
I kid you not. Take this quote from Tony Snow:
He (Snow) acknowledged, however, that Bush no longer is saying that the United States will "stay the course" in Iraq.
"He stopped using it," Snow said of that phrase, adding that it left the impression that the administration was not adjusting its strategy to realities in Baghdad.
Ooooooooooooooooooooooh. He stopped using the term "stay the course" (although they were never "stay the course" in the first place. Damn flip floppers...). But lordy lordy, what a brilliant policy of how to deal with a civil war, increasing US troop deaths and injuries, missing funds, hundreds of civilian deaths (if not more) each week and a country with little to no electrical power.
So, this whole being-put-on-the-defensive thing? Total bullshit. And completely unwarranted. Where is the competence in Iraq? Where is the competence here in the US? What is the republicans plan in Iraq (and I don't mean a Conrad Burns super secret "I can't tell you" plan)?
After all, the republicans got us to where we are now. And they have no answers to what to do now. Why do they deserve another chance? How is this decreasing terrorism?
There is exactly two weeks to go before November 7. Don't let up. Don't fall into the defensive trap. Turn it around. What have the republicans done to deserve reelection? What is THEIR plan for Iraq? For this country? For the future?
There is no answer for that - at least no acceptable answer.