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Thursday, May 03, 2007

More on Jim Webb and Iraq: a politics of contrast

The following, with a few edits, is my response to this comment from Fiona West in my "Make Jim Webb point person on Iraq" post on dailykos:

Our constitution creates an executive. Every four years we vote for one person to hold that position. It's not a 'cowboy' or a 'loner hero' but it is one person who is meant to embody a point of view and politics the nation can rally around.

The Democrats lack that kind of person who speaks that kind of language on Iraq. That's what the readers of dkos are hungry for on Iraq.

I would argue that Webb talks about Iraq with an "executive's" perogative. ie. He mixes the right amount of principle, criticism, acuteness of language, AND strategic ambiguity.

Congresspeople, and in particular Democratic Congresspeople, vacillate between CAPS ON outrage and a necessary legislativese. This on/off variation reduces the effectives of their communication in the face of the GOP noise machine and its corporate echo.

On the one hand our Congressional leaders say, we are willing to negotiate in good faith with the President, on the other hand we are for ending the war. The public hears this and thinks, that's a legislator talking: how do we know what they really think?

Webb talks like an executive. He communicates in short sentences that have been stripped of "legislativese" and express a clear succinct point of view on Iraq that, at every instance, expresses a politics of contrast with President Bush.

Democrats are hungry for that. That's what this post and the response to it says.

Our presidential candidates and Congressional leadership would do well to listen.

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