The Democrats really do deserve what they get

What’s wrong with this picture?

Gee, could it be that:

1. Bush still hasn’t caught Osama six years after the 9/11 attacks?

2. Bush let Osama go at Tora Bora?

U.S. Concludes Bin Laden Escaped at Tora Bora Fight
Failure to Send Troops in Pursuit Termed Major Error

By Barton Gellman and Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, April 17, 2002; Page A01

The Bush administration has concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the battle for Tora Bora late last year and that failure to commit U.S. ground troops to hunt him was its gravest error in the war against al Qaeda, according to civilian and military officials with first-hand knowledge.

3. In 2002, months after the September 11 attacks, Bush removed our troops who were searching for Osama in Afghanistan in order to send them to Iraq, where Bush “chose” to fight a war unrelated to the war on terror or September 11?

Shifts from bin Laden hunt evoke questions
By Dave Moniz and Steven Komarow, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — In 2002, troops from the 5th Special Forces Group who specialize in the Middle East were pulled out of the hunt for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan to prepare for their next assignment: Iraq. Their replacements were troops with expertise in Spanish cultures.

4. In 2005, Bush dismantled the CIA office in charge of hunting for Osama?

C.I.A. Closes Unit Focused on Capture of bin Laden
By MARK MAZZETTI, New York Times
July 4, 2006

WASHINGTON, July 3 — The Central Intelligence Agency has closed a unit that for a decade had the mission of hunting Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants, intelligence officials confirmed Monday.

5. Bush himself said that he doesn’t think much about Osama?

6. Bush said it doesn’t really matter if we catch Osama?

Yes, the correct answer is “all of the above.”

So how is it that the Republicans are still effectively using Osama – the guy who they let go – as a cudgel against the Democrats?

Answer: Because the Democrats suck.

Okay, a more serious, adult answer. The problem is that, for some reason none of us can quite figure out, the Democrats refuse to use Osama’s “footloose and fancy free” status as an issue. So the Republicans one up them by actually having the nerve to appropriate the issue for themselves when they know that they’re the ones who lost him in the first place. Now that’s chutzpah. In a normal universe, the Republicans should be terrified of mentioning Osama, lest the Democrats launch a massive PR response requiring the media and all of Washington to spend the next week talking about just why Bush has still failed to catch Osama. But we don’t live in a normal universe. We live in one where Democrats don’t hit softballs that come their way.

I keep harping on it, but take the issue of privacy. Every week – every freaking week – there is a story in the media about another massive privacy violation in some company or some government agency. Do you hear boo from the Democrats on this issue? No. Now, why might the Democrats want to take advantage of there being a story about privacy every week in the news?

Um, is privacy, just maybe, an issue that appears on its face to be bipartisan – I mean, who isn’t for privacy – but at the same time, is an issue, that at its core, goes to so many fundamental Democratic issues like choice, civil rights (especially gay rights), and Bush’s overreach in the war on terror? Had the Dems been harping on privacy every week for the past two years, when the Republicans bring up yet another kooky idea like letting Verizon and AT&T; off the hook for aiding and abetting the feds in illegally spying on all of us, the public would have already understand that our diminishing privacy was a serious issue and just maybe the public would be on our side if we had the nerve to stand up to Bush on this issue.

The Democrats have no game plan. They don’t know how to sell meta issues. They play chess one piece at a time, one move at a time, without having any concept that there’s a larger game going on, and that the move they make right now will impact the move they make ten moves from now. Basically, the Democrats are politically high as a kite. Their long term memory is non-existent and their short-term memory only permits them about 6 seconds of cache, as we say in geek-land, before they forget everything and ask “dude, what was the question again?” for the tenth time.

We have a very serious problem in our party. We have too many leaders in Congress, too many members of Congress, too many consultants, too many advocacy groups, and just too many people with power who do not understand the basics of playing hardball. The basics of public relations. The basics of running REAL issue campaigns. The basics of how to give the other guy a black eye and not stop pounding until he cries uncle, and even then you hit him again.

Far too many people running our party and our movement have no idea how to play the game. And if we don’t figure out how to make them fear for their political lives, or finally, if we have to, run them out of town, nothing is ever going to change.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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