Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What Republicans Understand and Democrats Don't, Episode 8,659

You've no doubt heard about Rudy Giuliani's repellent yet unsurprising remarks that if a Democrat gets elected president, we can expect another 9/11. The responses from the Democrats showed yet again that they just can't quite get how this game is played. Here's Barack Obama's statement:
"Rudy Giuliani today has taken the politics of fear to a new low and I believe Americans are ready to reject those kind of politics," Obama said in a statement. "America's mayor should know that when it comes to 9-11 and fighting terrorists, America is united. We know we can win this war based on shared purpose, not the same divisive politics that question your patriotism if you dare to question failed policies that have made us less secure."

Hillary Clinton said something similar. What neither one of them seem to get is that, as I never tire of saying, politics isn't about issues, it's about identity. In this case, what that means is that they shouldn't be criticizing what Giuliani said, they should be criticizing Giuliani himself.

Let's not even address the fact that Obama's press release calls Giuliani "America's mayor." But what Obama, and every other Democrat, ought to do is turn this into an attack on Giuliani himself, not on his statement. Something like this:
"Today, Rudy Giuliani showed once again just why the public is so disgusted with Republicans. The man who has spent the last five years milking September 11 for financial gain now presents himself as the candidate of fear. Giuliani obviously has nothing but contempt for the American people. And his unequivocal support of the Bush administration's disastrous policies shows that Giuliani doesn't understand foreign policy and doesn't understand national security. Just how stupid does he think the American public is?"

Or something like that - but it has to be about the other guy - who he is, what he represents, and why we should reject him.

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