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Thursday, March 25, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
Op-Ed Columnist: Too Quiet on the Home Front:

Over the past week, the Bush and Kerry campaigns have tangled over foreign policy, and Bush has risen in the polls. But eventually attention will turn to domestic affairs, and the White House will have to present a comprehensive domestic policy vision for the next four years, a set of big proposals for the second term. Apparently these plans are in the works. Let's hope they're as bold and idealistic as the president's dream of democratizing the Middle East. At the moment, it's weird having an administration that is soaring abroad but is earthbound at home.

Last night I saw a repeat of "The West Wing" on Bravo, the conclusion of which had the Bartlett administration deciding on a new strategy of "Let Bartlett be Bartlett". They'd been fighting silly little political battles instead of standing up and fighting for big ideas. They decided to go full steam ahead with an ambitious agenda, instead.

I remember thinking back to this episode when I saw footage of Bush at the WTC site with a bull-horn rallying the rescue workers. During the campaign his handlers tried to make him sound intellectual. He's smart, but he's not intellectual; he's a business leader, not an academic. After 9/11 that changed dramatically.

"Let Bush be Bush"

Not just on foreign policy or our response to terrorism. I know I won't like a lot of his policy choices, but I want him to make them all the same. Don't hedge your bets. Don't take a middle of the road stance just to appease voters. It won't work. Americans are smart, they see through efforts to appease voters. Take a stance. Then, don't defend it. Promote it. Get out there and tell people why it's a good proposal. Don't try to explain why it's not a bad one. Control the debate, don't react to it. Now that it's not a field of 9 candidates hammering away at Bush, this should be a simple and effective strategy.

Go to war on ideas and unleash the big guns.


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