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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

finding the rhythm « Previous | |Next »
August 1, 2004

I haven't been all that interested in the Democratic presidential campaign to unseat the imperial presidency:

CartoonBellSVH3.jpg
Steve Bell

I've seen it as a domestic US issue that barely impinges on Australia. Something has changed. According to this report in The Guardian:

"The single-mindedness of the Democratic party in Boston during its 2004 convention has been increasingly striking and, in the end, increasingly impressive....By the time the week in Boston reached its climax on Thursday night, it had become clear that the Democrats have at last evolved a far more effective and trenchant critique of Bush and his war than would have seemed possible in the spasm of political fear that gripped the party's congressional leadership in the im mediate wake of September 11, when they decided to lie low and not offer hostages to fortune. Now, as Boston showed, that has changed. Defensiveness has not been banished entirely, but there is a clear willingness to take the argument to Bush."

The Democratic Party found itself in the same position as the ALP in Australia:

"The Democratic party's inability to formulate a way of attacking Bush which did not simultaneously open it to the attack of being unpatriotic has been an albatross around the party's neck for nearly two years...by devoting almost half of his acceptance speech to national security issues, Kerry put the Iraq war and the failures of the war on terrorism unmistakably at the centre of this year's presidential election. Having equivocated on the issue for months - as many Democratic senators have done - Kerry has finally defined the issue in terms and at a time of his own choosing."

This is what the Latham-led ALP has failed to do in a convincing manner. It is still remains open to the charge of being unpatriotic. Hence it is boxed in on the FTA with the US.

So how did Kerry do it?


"Again and again, without the kind of overt Bush-bashing that risks offending mainstream voters, Kerry sought to draw new lines, open new areas of argument, to bring essential issues into play and, above all, to challenge Bush's monopoly of the war and security issue. If this was a boxing match, you would say that, having played "rope-a-dope" for so long, Kerry had suddenly decided to make a fight of it."


The Democrats recognized that if they were to build a credible challenge to Bush on economic, social and welfare issues, then they had to find a way of negating - and even undermining - Republican ascendancy on the security issues in what Bush sees as a war election.

In contrast the ALP is still on the defensive on national security issues.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:11 PM | | Comments (0)
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