July 14, 2003
Memo to Dems

Stop politicizing the war. Using the war for partisan political gain is such an ugly thing.

Last year, in what appears to be a coordinated campaign, Tom Daschle, Terry McAuliffe, Al Gore, and others in the Democratic party accused the Bush Administration (and Karl Rove in particular) of using the war as a political tool. Of course, now that the red-herring "Uranium from Niger" theme seems to have gained some traction, they are busy using the war (or opposition to the war) in an effort to damage Bush. We don't hear them talking about the issue now.

posted on July 14, 2003 11:19 AM


I think of this as Zero-Issue Politics. What matters is solely how useful the issue is as a stick with which to flog the opposition. It's disgraceful, but it seems to be the trend.

posted by Francis W. Porretto on July 14, 2003 03:02 PM

Little mystery here as to the why. Simplicity itself: The Dems have NOTHING that can win them ANYTHING of significance. Hence they must grasp at SOMETHING, no matter how transitory or lame, just to keep themselves in the news cycle.

Advice to Dems: Get a candidate and sink the clowns rather than sending them in.

posted by Van der Leun on July 15, 2003 10:09 AM

"In June (2002), a floppy disk found near the White House turned out to contain a presentation used by Karl Rove on White House strategy for the midterm elections. Focus on war was a key point in a talk that centered on the White House's desire to, quote, "maintain a positive issue environment." Around this time, Rove was criticized for telling a Republican group that the war and terror themes could play to the GOP's advantage in the November elections. Not long after, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card was asked why the administration waited until after Labor Day to try to sell the American people on military action against Iraq. Card replied, `From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August.'"


(Edited by Timekeeper; changed text link to hyperlink.)

posted by MaB on July 15, 2003 10:22 AM

A floppy disk? In 2002?

Who still uses floppies?

posted by jeanne a e devoto on July 15, 2003 10:29 AM

RE: Memo to Dems
If "Using the war for partisan political gain is such an ugly thing...", then how would you characterize efforts to use the Anniversary of 9/11 for partisan political gain?

posted by James on July 15, 2003 10:33 AM

The entire issue is a non-starter. The first Democrat who raises it in a debate must address their awful behavior after 9/11 when they were demanding to know why the Administration did not 'connect the dots' of intelligence information to predict and prevent 9/11.

They can't have it both ways. When the same administration takes intel seriously (even if from the British) and uses it together with a mountain of other intel to make recommended policies, they are 'connecting the dots', which the Democrats will find that the American people the President to do.

Just how bad off as a party do you have to be before a true statement in the SOTU address; "The British government believes that Iraq has tried to purchase Uranium from Africa," which is not a false statement or a lie or even a prevication, can become an issue upon which you attempt to build a case for your party to take over leadership of foreign policy. The story in all of this is how marginalized the Democratic party has become. Is this the BEST you've got? How sad.

posted by RatherWorried on July 15, 2003 10:50 AM

Oh, I could find a floppy disk with ANYTHING on it NEAR my political oppostion...

That is just truly pathetic.

posted by Deoxy on July 15, 2003 10:53 AM

MaB—And your point is...?

Remember that the congressional Dems were the ones who wanted to hold interminable hearings on the whole subject. It blew up in their faces because they didn't think it through.

James—That was the point I was making. Last year at this time, the Democratic Party was screaming bloody murder that the GOP sought to capitalize on Bush's leadership abilities, with which I have no problem. Now the Dems are using a perceived stumble in the war for political gain, which is a bit hypocritical. I don't have a problem with them using the issue (although I strongly disagree with them), but the double standard is breathtaking.

posted by Timekeeper on July 15, 2003 10:54 AM

A floppy disk was found??!!! Gee, it must be the real thing 'cause only the White House has access to those, and the Presidential staff is known to carelessly drop them all over DC. And, of course, enterprising reporters at the WaPo have their eyes peeled to find these derelict floppies. How conveeenient.

That is so lame.

posted by Reid on July 15, 2003 10:59 AM

I found a floppy disk from saddam to his nigerian ambasador regrading the purchase of uranium.

Oh but MaB's floppy is credable evidence.



posted by zman on July 15, 2003 11:02 AM

You can check out the PowerPoint presentation here:


posted by MaB on July 15, 2003 11:04 AM

MaB, the presentation you cite is hardly a smoking gun. Please explain to me which one of the 26 slides is so awful, so sinister, that you had to bring it up here.

posted by Timekeeper on July 15, 2003 11:22 AM

But, surely, anything critical of Bush posted on a website called President Moron must be genuine. I mean, nobody who goes to the trouble to set up such a website would ever be party to a hoked up PowerPoint, would they?

posted by T. Hartin on July 15, 2003 11:48 AM

I've got a floppy disk with documents proving that Usay traded some of his love slaves for Nigerian yellowcake.

No, you can't have it.

posted by Tongue Boy on July 15, 2003 12:06 PM

The presentation, if true, confirms that Karl Rove thought that the war should be a campaign issue, and therefore the bed-wetting about "politicizing" the investigation of possibly hyped pre-war claims is rather funny.

posted by MaB on July 15, 2003 12:07 PM

I'm not going over to the site to see it, but I have a question: would it fit on a 1.4 M floppy?

posted by billhedrick on July 15, 2003 12:29 PM

What is so alarming about putting "Focus on the war and the economy" in your campaign strategy? I would guess it was all over FDRs strategy in the late 1930s before we were at war then. Is a better strategy IGNORING the possible war and it's implications? for pity's sake!

posted by flypay on July 15, 2003 12:43 PM

You guys are so lame the way you can't see MaB's point.

The original post said:
"Stop politicizing the war. Using the war for partisan political gain is such an ugly thing."

Karl Rove's planning document says to:
"Focus on the war" as a campaign strategy.

Can't you see that both sides have been guilty of politicizing the issue? That's MaB's point.

Personally I believe the Democrats have more to lose by politicizing the issue, but maybe that's just 'cause I was in favor of the war.

And yes, the floppy disk is authentic. Rove never denied that it was his. Nor do I think anything on the disk is shocking or scandalous, just proof that the Republicans are not above using the war for their own political advantage, as anyone with half a brain would already know.

posted by Brian H. on July 15, 2003 01:50 PM

Brian, MaB, you are both missing the sarcasm in my original post. It was the Democratic Party (Tom Daschle, especially) who accused the GOP of "politicizing the war" all through the second half of last year. See this link for an example.

As my previous comment indicated, I don't have a problem with the Dems using this as an issue, although I think it is an awfully weak issue on which to base a campaign. What I *do* have a problem with is the double standard they enjoy; not only do they get to have it both ways, but the press blithely ignores the 180 degree change in direction.

posted by Timekeeper on July 15, 2003 02:14 PM

Timekeeper, you're right, I did miss the sarcasm. Or actually what happened is I got it when I first read it, but by the time I read through all the comments, I forgot it. :-)

(I think the thing that threw me off though was the lame attempt by some posters to deny that the Rove disk existed or that it constituted evidence of politicization if it did.)

As a Democrat, I have to agree with you that Daschle has handled the whole war issue pathetically (and Howard Dean as well).

posted by Brian H. on July 15, 2003 04:10 PM

Sorry, Brian, government officials are taught from day one to neither confirm nor deny things like that. This is not a credible document.

In any case, the Democrats politicization of the war has been in such a way that emboldens America's enemies and will cost American lives down the road. If Saddam is still alive, he is counting on the Dems to come to his rescue and return him to power. Iranian officials are brazenly telling the students protesters not to count on Bush being around for long. And, North Korea is ratcheting up the rhetoric as they sense a chink in Bush's armor. Thanks loads, Dems. Your futile, floundering attempt to wrest political power at any cost is going to cost more than you imbeciles know.

posted by Reid on July 15, 2003 06:03 PM

I'm a professional soldier. I've been one now for 18 years. I don't see how any war can be kept out of the field of politics. I believe that is one of the reasons our Constitution stipulates an elected civilian be in command of our armed forces, and an elected body be responsible for declarations of war. How could our founders be so brilliant on other matters, and have missed this thought so completely? Of course they didn't, they expected a President to have to win public support (through 'politics') for any war he was to command, and for Congress to have to take into account the wishes of their constituents before and after voting to declare, or not declare, war. This is all politics, and it was expected to be done for every war. Generals vote, and guess what, Privates are allowed to vote, too! Pacifists even get to vote, and are likely to be in a booth right beside someone who wishes wars could go on forever. Imagine!
I want that this war, and all wars, be politicized. Not because I don't want to fight (I'm currently deployed as part of Op Iraqi Freedom), but because I want to know that I and my fellow soldiers are supported by a majority of the American populace. The only way I will know that is through their support of politicians who hold their views. Let them be heard, and let their wishes hold sway. I don't fear the public, as many do.
PS. On the disk with the slides supposedly by Karl Rove...if that sophmoric effort is the best he can do (there is nothing there that a ninth grader interested in politics couldn't have put together), then the Dems should be able to outmaneuver old Karl every day of the week. I'm pretty sure that is not the case.

posted by Diggs on July 16, 2003 12:02 AM

Diggs, thanks for clarifying it...

I served 4 years Honorable duty, and detested 'politics' every step of the way...

But the policy-making aspects of communal decision-making is 'politics', and it must happen.

I, too, am proud to have guarded and carried forward the interests of and the high ideals of America, despite any short-comings America may have made along the way.

Politicizing something may be 'bad', but it is MUCH more than the rational acknowledgement that 'a war is happening' and 'America is fighting it' juxtaposed with 'here's how we best present these realities later this year...'

As others have noted... how VERY pathetic!

posted by Eye Opener on July 16, 2003 02:12 AM

With reference to finding a floppy disk on the ground and immediately thinking "Hey, why don't I go take this disk of unknown origin and put it in my Dell Inspiron and see if the virus checker works!" -- Right there is where I assume the thing is bogus. I don't even have to see which side "found" the disk, nor what the disk is claimed to contain. Like, who would put that disk into a computer?

posted by NotAnIdiot on July 16, 2003 05:24 AM

"(I think the thing that threw me off though was the lame attempt by some posters to deny that the Rove disk existed or that it constituted evidence of politicization if it did.)"

I think what's lame is claiming to find a floppy disk laying on the ground that lays out your opposition's strategy for an upcoming election. I mean, come on, that doesn't pass any test you care to name - laugh, smell, whatever.

Sure, its remotely possible that Karl Rove dropped a floppy disk on the ground containing secret info, but until Karl admits it or somebody comes up some kind of proof, I am not buying this one for an instant.

posted by T. Hartin on July 17, 2003 10:07 AM

I served 26 years 1 month, and honorably retired in 1976. Politics are involved with every aspect of our lives today, and should be. I agree with much of what has been written, but if the past week is the best the Democratic Party can support, then Republicans should sweep the elections. I question the intelligence of candidates who would quibble over "16 words" that are truthful, were truthful in 1991, and God only knows how many other countries Saddam tried to buy yellow-cake from? Possibly France, Germany, North Korea, India, where else? At least President George W. Bush does not "whistle past the graveyard" as the past administration did for 8 years, and the United Nations did for 12 years. All the whistling will not keep the devils, hobgoblins, or demons away.
George Bush and Tony Blair may just show the world how to fight terrorism (by whomever).

posted by Frank on July 17, 2003 07:32 PM

Frank, there are no hobgoblins or demons...stop lusting after Ann Coulter.

The sixteen words were a major point in an argument. They were technically true, but misleading to the average idiot watching tv. This was deliberate and calculated, and I'm sure they knew this issue would come up and the way they are behavingtoday is as they planned before the SOTU address.

Your first problem is believing in God. Doing so, you relinquish your freedom of thought and you enslave yourself to the whims of charismatic leaders.

I pity all of you good people.

posted by paul on July 31, 2003 12:55 AM

The Bush people can politicize their war on terrorism all they want to, because they have earned the right.

In contrast with the Clinton people in the past and the Democrats in the present (cf. Byron York's article in "The Hill" cited by Glenn Reynolds on the Iowa Democrats who simply don't care about the war on terrorism--that's got to be the ultimate of some kind), the Bush administration has got one simple, massive truth very, very clear, and their political opponents are dodging it any way they can.

That truth can be stated in the following manner: everyone in America reading this post is marked for death; everyone in America not reading this post is marked for death. Islamist terrorists want every American dead, and they have the will and the wit--but not yet the access or the military means--to accomplish that end.

The Bush administration is making amazing efforts, with some amazing results so far, to counter this assault. And the Democrats did nothing when in the White House with Clinton, and don't give a damn now.

This is so black and white I don't see where the argument is or can be. If Democrats by their stated attitudes give aid and comfort to the Islamlist enemy (and does anyone reading this not know what that phrase is the definition of?), then we don't need Ann Coulter to tell us that these American citizens are the enemies of this country and of the rest of us that love this country and want to defend it.

Bush wants to make this issue political? What the hell.

posted by Olustee on October 22, 2003 04:14 PM

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?

Back to Horologium