Political And Other Miscellany From A Stout Democrat In Dallas Texas.
"Politics is the only game for adults." --from Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star

Monday, September 13, 2004


This weekend someone recited for me the arguments he uses against right-wingers who claim the memo proving Bush ducked military duty is a forgery. All he said was true.

None of it mattered.

Ask yourself this. If Bush had volunteered for combat, lost three limbs and one eye saving the lives of his fellow soldiers, and won the Congressional Medal of Honor, but still had the same views and the same record as President -- would that change your mind, and make you vote for Bush instead of Kerry? If Kerry had really ducked the Vietnam War, hiding in Sweden under a phony name, but had the same views and the same record as Senator -- would that change your mind?

No? Try reversing the situations and ask determined Bush backers if that would change their minds and make them vote for Kerry. That wouldn't matter to them either.

Everyone who cares most about 30-year old military records has already made up their minds. As long as we waste time arguing about the long dead past, we are not doing anything to convert the microscopic numbers of voters who haven't decided yet. That's just the sort of spinning our wheels that Karl Rove wants to see. A principle we Parliamentarians learned long ago is "If you get them arguing about the wrong question, then you don't have to worry about their answer."

Not even the more recent past matters. Forget "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" Everyone deciding on that basis has already done so.

The question both of those remaining undecided voters out there want answered is "With which President will I be better off four years from now?" Talk to them about the FUTURE. Tell them who'll do more to reduce the deficit, support the starving schools, cut the high price of prescription drugs, or encourage more jobs here instead of India.

The Republicans can't win a contest about something positive. That's why they campaign by trashing their opponent, scaring the public, and stirring up hatred. If we fight on their own swampy ground, we will LOSE -- because they are frankly better at slime than we are.

To win, we have to choose our own battlefield. We can triumph if we offer those undecided voters something they want and need, but can't get elsewhere. Don't be distracted arguing about which person was bad long ago, or who's lying about what. Just tell them we can make a better world for them and their children and grandchildren, it they'll just vote for HOPE.

--Bill Howell, former Dallas County Democratic Party Chair


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