One integral theme emerged from the Democratic response to President Bush's State of the Union address: the party's underestimation of the American people to solve their own problems and to see through liberal rhetoric.
Let's just look at what they were really saying on the various issues once you strip away the generalities and euphemisms.
Religion and Values: We know that voters, not just those wacko fundamentalist Christians, are increasingly concerned about our culture's rejection of traditional values and they're voting Republican. We can fool the people into believing we're values-oriented too if we start invoking the term -- even if we use it to describe things that have never been considered "values," as such. We're also religious, and the less we show it, the more you should believe it.
Social Security: We understand that during the '90s we were describing Social Security as a crisis and ridiculed any Republican who would suggest otherwise. We never intended to tackle this problem, but it sure did get us some mileage in the presidential and congressional elections during the Clinton years. We are counting on the fact that people won't remember, much less hold us accountable, for our 180 on this point today (anymore than they'll remember we've advocated regime change in Iraq since the Clinton years), even if talk-radio ogres play clips from our own speeches during those days. All we have to do is divert attention from the urgency of the problem by demonizing the proposed Bush solution. How? That's easy. Not only does he want to trample on FDR's legacy; he wants to take your money -- you poor, uneducated and easy to command types -- and transfer it to Wall Street fat cats. What could be worse than taking from the poor and giving to the rich? What could be less Christian? Nothing, which is why we are going to get double-mileage out of the theme as we turn to the issue of . . .
Taxes: We recognize the deficits are primarily the result of too much spending, not too little taxes, but our ability to compete politically requires us to resist cuts in domestic spending and perpetuate the dependency class, as well as demagogue the tax issue. We know that across-the-board tax cuts don't unfairly benefit the rich who pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes. But we have to mischaracterize the issue in order to fan the flames of class warfare, a tactic we have no choice but to employ.
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