So, there is hope yet that the Dems will engage the GOP on national security issues.
I had repeatedly said in the run-up to the last election that the Dems cannot expect the American people to believe the Dems will defend them, when the Dems wouldn't even defend themselves.
The favorite, indeed the only, attack the GOP seems to have is to attack the patriotism of the opposition. Rumsfeld's remarks were outragious and insulting and why should be dignified as anything but?
When this kind of rhetoric is met with only tepid or formal polite responses the actually message to everyone is that of weakness.
Josh got it right earlier this year,
....If you think back to the Swift Boat debacle of 2004, the surface issue was John Kerry's honesty and bravery as a sailor in Vietnam. Far more powerful, however, was the meta-message: George Bush slaps John Kerry around and Kerry either can't or won't hit back. For voters concerned with security and the toughness of their leaders, that's a devastating message -- and one that has little or nothing to do with the truth of the surface charges. Someone who can't fight for himself certainly can't fight for you. At the time I called it the "Republicans' bitch-slap theory of electoral politics."In the face of Rummy recent attack on the patriotism all those that disagree with him, the Dems reaction should have been equally has harsh. I personally find nothing more insulting than someone who attacks my patriotism.
The response of every Dem should have been along these lines:
Donald Rumsfeld remarks before the American Legion are the outrageous lies a man who wouldn't know the truth if it bit him on the bottom. How dare he question the patriotism of any American who points out the obvious: he is a miserable failure whose lies and disastrous policies have cost our country dearly in blood and treasure.But, it appears we will have to settle for this from this mornings WaPo,
He, whose reaction to foreign attacks on our liberty and way of life is to immediately demand the suspension of the very liberties that hundreds of thousand of brave soldiers and citizens have fought and died to defend since the founding of our great nations. The very liberties that define us as a people and great civilization.
How dare he question the patriotism of any American!
Donald Rumsfeld is a scurrilous coward and a liar who should immediatly resign!
And if Mr. Rumsfeld is offended by this response, he knows where he can find use.
In Rumsfeld, Democrats believe they have found both a useful antagonist and a stand-in for President Bush and what they see as his blunders in Iraq. This week, Democrats interpreted a speech of his as equating critics of the war in Iraq to appeasers of Adolf Hitler, an interpretation that Pentagon spokesman Eric Ruff disputed. But Democrats said the hyperbolic attack would backfire.
But even before that, Democrats and some Republicans had maintained that Bush has never held anyone in his administration accountable for decisions in the Iraq war that many military analysts say went disastrously wrong. The decisions include not mobilizing enough troops to keep the peace, disbanding the entire Iraqi army and purging all members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party -- including teachers and low-level technocrats -- from the Iraqi government.
Rather than change the subject to domestic issues, as they have tried in past years, Democrats are hoping to confront Republicans head-on.
"We will not be Swift-boated on this issue," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in an interview, alluding to the assault by the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth on the Vietnam war record of Democratic candidate John F. Kerry in the 2004 presidential campaign. "We will fight them on national security."
Front and center of that campaign may be the attack on Rumsfeld. Some Democratic House candidates, such as Diane Farrell in Connecticut's 4th District, have been encouraging Democratic leaders to move formally for a vote of no confidence. And party leadership aides said they are canvassing Democratic members of Congress and exploring the parliamentary mechanism to do so. Before the move is set, the aides said, they want to hear from Democrats in tough races who may feel that the move would leave them vulnerable to Republican attacks.