Democrats Must "Restore Their Souls" to Reclaim Power: Prof. Ken Bode
September 23, 2005
September 23, 2005, Greencastle, Ind. - "None of the prominently mentioned Democratic contenders for president has staked out a strong position on what to do about a war where we are losing ground every day," writes Ken Bode in today's Indianapolis Star. DePauw University's Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism uses his op-ed column to consider a two-page political advertisement in yesterday's newspaper sponsored by a group called Win Without War. "One page showed photos and quotes from four of the leading administration mouthpieces who sold America on the phony rationale for invading Iraq: Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and President Bush."
Dr. Bode says the ad makes a statement that most Democrats will not. "Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold proposes that we set a deadline for withdrawal, but the rest of his colleagues seem reduced to repeating President Bush's admonition that we must 'Stay the course'... The Democratic Party is scared to death of being thought soft on national defense. But, to oppose a war that was sold to the American people on false pretenses, that is now draining our national treasure and weakening America in the world, is that soft? To say, 'The evidence is in, now find a way to end it and do it now, is that soft?," Bode asks.
With President Bush's poll numbers low and slipping, "It is time for the Democrats to realize that the only way to recover their authority and legitimacy in time for next year's mid-term elections is to stop being cowed by past mistakes and develop a realistic agenda for withdrawal from Iraq. They then need to recruit challengers in congressional districts all across the country who will keep the war on the national agenda," declares the professor.
Bode says the surprisingly strong, yet unsuccessful, congressional campaign mounted by Marine reservist Paul Hackett in Ohio this summer can serve as a blueprint for Democrats. "The Democratic message in 2006... should document [as former Senator Gary Hart wrote in a recent Washington Post op-ed] how 'the administration did not tell the American people the truth, why this war is making our country more vulnerable and less secure, how we can drive a wedge between Iraqi insurgents and outside jihadists and leave Iraq for the Iraqis to govern.' To restore their souls, the Democrats need to be able to admit their mistake and begin to correct it."
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