Friday, July 14, 2006

Politico Friday

With all that is going on in the Middle East today -- continued struggles with sectarian violence in Baghdad, Iran thumbing its nose at the world in its pursuit of nukes, and now Israel fighting with the extremist Hezbollah military wing -- it is clear that the US has no easy choices in this escalating situation. It is tough for me personally to grasp what individual citizens can do. So I'll just exercise my right to have a voice and throw out my small two cents:

I hope for once that the debate that takes place between now & November is centered on the real, substantive issues we face and is not limited to soundbite-style platitudes that artificially paint our choices as more simple than they really are.

Naive and hopelessly optimisic, maybe. But that is my hope nonetheless.

E.J. Dionne has a great column on this today.

That is what the American debate should be about, but those in charge of Republican campaigns this year have another idea. They have hit upon the brilliant strategy of pushing any serious discussion of the failure of American foreign policy past Election Day. For the next 3 1/2 months, they want the choice before the voters to be binary: staying the course and being "tough," or breaking with President Bush's policy and being "soft." There are just two options on the ballot, they say: firmness or "cut and run."

If I were a Republican strategist, I'd probably do the same thing. But Democrats and, yes, the media) risk playing into Republican hands if they fail to force a discussion of the administration's larger failures or let the debate focus narrowly on exactly what date we should set for getting out of Iraq.

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