Sunday, October 08, 2006

Start Making Sense

By KEVIN DRUM

Published: October 8, 2006

THE American public loathes the bickering, deadlocked 109th Congress. Its approval rating was a subterranean 25 percent in September’s New York Times/CBS poll. That makes this year’s Democratic strategy simple: make sure the public knows exactly who’s in charge of this wretched assemblage. Not a speech should go by without the phrase “Republican Congress” being repeated at least a dozen times. Two dozen would be even better.

So that’s that. But Democrats also have an opportunity to do something more constructive in this fall’s campaign: they should package a common-sense foreign policy so that it sounds like the common sense it is.

That means taking seriously the idea that our national interest is served by easing tensions and reducing hatred of the United States. This in turn means remaking the United States military so it can fight insurgencies and conduct peacekeeping missions more effectively; making serious use of multilateral institutions instead of deriding them; once again acting as an honest broker in the Middle East; and using economic engagement to help bring the Muslim world into the global community.

Democrats need to learn how to make this case convincingly, because it’s the only way we’re going to win the war against militant Islamic jihadism. It might help the party win an election or two as well.

— KEVIN DRUM, writer of the blog “Political Animal.”

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