Anyone seeking a Clue as to Republican strategy for 2006 need look no further than here.
It's a 1971 poll showing that, at that time, 73% of Americans wanted our troops out of Vietnam.
Compare that to right now, when just 60% want our troops out of Iraq within a year.
Yet the Republicans won the next election, won it convincingly, won it so convincingly that to this day Democrats are scared of being McGovernized. (For younger readers, that's George McGovern at left.)
So there's no fear in the poll numbers for Republicans. They figure they can ratchet up the terror alerts on demand, keep interest rates from rising (despite inflation), depend on a significant number of Democrats being consumed with defending themselves against the false charge of defeatism, and gut out a narrow win with an off-year base vote.
Clinton-era Democrats want to walk right into that. They are consumed with fear of being McGovernized, and refuse to understand 34 years have passed. Former press secretary (and current Bell stooge) Mike McCurry calls Ned Lamont's supporters "the loony left" and says "centrism is under attack."
If by that he means the Anti-Thesis of the Nixon-Reagan-Bush Thesis is under attack, it is. Because once a Political Thesis collapses, anyone leaning against it collapses as well. It's like leaning against a falling wall.
What we need, as I've said, is a new thesis. The demand for one is almost palpable. And as Stirling Newberry notes, the 1971 strategy works only if Democrats keep acting like it's 1971. It's like a 1930 Democrat fearing a Cross of Gold speech. Or a 1966 Republican worrying about Smoot and Hawley.
Yet the basic hurdle remains. To earn power Democrats must say something coherent addressing our current problems -- Iraq, terrorism, and fear itself.
- It's a new war. We need a new strategy. Today's Cold War "kill 'em all" strategy is not working.
- The heart of the new strategy is justice. We want to bring people to justice. This requires openness, and the support of the whole civilized world.
- The heart of justice is transparency. We need to look into why we have failed. We need open agreements to justify police action against international order.
- First, stop digging the hole. Finding replacements for oil will help us disengage from unstable oil powers, and must be our first priority.
- We must re-connect with the world. Our international isolation must be reversed.
These policies are based on the Open Source Thesis. They're based on using the values of the Internet to guide real policy change. Openness, transparency, connectivity -- we know these work, we've been making them work for over a decade. Let's use the tools we've got. Or as Darrell Royal (below) once said, dance with the one that brung ya.
This is not as simple as saying "peace" or "out now." We are talking about changing tactics, not changing aims. When you're losing a game, or a trial, or a business, or a nation, you look at what's not working and you change tactics so you have a chance to win.
A refusal to change tactics means defeat. Republicans refuse to change tactics. They refuse to even consider a change in tactics.
Let's put it in a way any red stater can understand. The Republicans are a football coach running a Wishbone when there are 250-pound linebackers with speed on every other team who can stop that play.
Even Royal (above) will tell you what you have to do when that happens.
And if you got to change quarterbacks to pass, change quarterbacks.