Ungodly Politics

"Announcing your plans is a good way to hear god laugh." - Al Swearingen

Monday, March 22, 2004  

Bush's reelection campaign is focused on his "leadership". His "leadership" in the War on Terror, his "leadership" on 9/11 and the days immediately after. Leadership, leadership, leadership.

I don't know how many of you have been in the military, but I was. Granted, I only did one enlistment, but that was enough to learn some lessons. My wife is a retired Navy Chief, plenty to learn a LOT of lessons; she and I had the same epiphany last night, watching Stephen Hadley talk about Bush's leadership on the War on Terror:

In the military, when you can't manage to come up with anything specific to say about someone, any actual accomplishments that someone has made, but you still want to give them a good write-up, you talk a lot about their "leadership". "This sailor demonstrated a great deal of leadership during the period in question." That's standard write-up talk for, "This sailor didn't do a damned thing, but I don't want to say it."

Leadership is an easy thing to talk about, because you don't have to talk about specifics. You don't have to mention jobs, just leadership on the economy; you don't have to mention actual terrorist acts prevented (or not, see: Madrid), just leadership on terrorism.

You don't have to show what you did. You don't have to have a record. You can just say you showed leadership. That's as fuzzy as it gets.

And it's a sign of incredible weakness. The Bush people are admitting they have no record to run on, in the War on Terror, foreign policy, or any other area they use "leadership" as a primary focus of the campaign. It's up to us to exploit it, by pointing out the lack of a record, by asking exactly what Bush has done that qualifies as "leadership."

Clarke started last night by sneeringly referring to Bush's "nice speech" a week after 9/11. Let's keep it up.

posted by lazarus | 08:41 | |
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