Monday, November 14, 2005

Russert's Republican Talking Points (Er, Questions), Part II

TIM RUSSERT: I showed you the 16 issues (from a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll) where people agreed with the Democrats. There are still a couple where people overwhelmingly think the Republicans are the better party. Here's two: Strong national defense -- look at those numbers: 43 Republican, 22 Democrats. War on terror, 35-26. The Democrats are perceived as the weaker party on those kinds of issues. And that's why they voted for the war when it was popular, it's being suggested. And now, when the war is not popular, they're trying to back off their position.

HOWARD DEAN: We need to make sure that we can -- look, I know what those numbers are, and I think that's a big problem for the Democrats. We need to -- we need to make the American people understand that we are strong on defense, and that the strength of our position on defense is not just that we'll support a robust and muscular foreign policy. It's that we'll tell the truth. Telling the truth has a lot to do with defending America.


Do Americans "overwhelmingly" side with Republicans on "strong national defense" and "war on terror?" Of course not. In fact, in both cases, the majority of Americans don't think the Republicans are the best choice.

Republicans received 43% for strong national defense and 35% for fighting the war on terror. Those aren't majorities.

Furthermore, the percentages for Republicans and Democrats aren't close to 100%. Let's add in the remainder in both cases:

-- Strong National Defense. Republicans 43%. Both/Neither 35%, Democrats 22%.

-- War on Terror. Republicans 35%. Both/Neither 39%. Democrats 26%.

Hardly "overwhelming."

Yes, Democrats have to win the spin war in these two categories. But at the same time, Russert -- perhaps looking for something to challenge Dean with, given that Democrats were favored in 16 of 19 categories in the poll -- is clearly portraying the numbers with a Republican slant from the Luntzian school of objectivity.


Dean, unfortunately, did not make this case, and as a result he appears to agree that Democrats are weak on defense and terrorism.

How might he have answered?

HOWARD DEAN: Tim, I think its equally important to note that a majority of American's don't think the Republicans are strong on either issue. And let's remember that for the past five years, the Republicans have been framing this debate. They've controlled the presidency and both houses of Congress, and as a result they've controlled the agenda on these two very important issues. And their "my way or the highway" approach means that when a Democrat has said, "this is wrong," or "we should try a different approach" -- on issues such as going to Iraq, providing our troops with appropriate protective gear, having enough troops on the ground, working with our allies to build a true coalition, or providing full benefits to veterans --Republicans are misleading the American people when they say Democrats are soft, or worse, they are lying about our patriotism or our support of the troops.

We need to -- we need to make the American people understand that we are strong on defense, and that the strength of our position on defense is not just that we'll support a robust and muscular foreign policy. It's that we'll tell the truth. Telling the truth has a lot to do with defending America.


Anonymous sojourner said...

Nicely done there, JABBS!

You happen to send this to Howard? He needs to bone up on good ways to approach interviews and the misleading biases inherent in the interview questions.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Dawgs said...

Great points... After Treasongate, how can anyone take Russert seriously again?

11:04 AM  
Anonymous blm said...

Russert didn't DARE put up Kerry's plan for Iraq did he? He knows that if the American people were more aware of it, there is no way they would accept Bush's nonplans and utter chaos. For two weeks now, the media has been denying Dems have any plans offered at all - now Kerry was forced to offer his plan as a BILL on the Senate floor, just to stop the media spin, yet whores like Russert and Matthews STILL lie and say there is no plan from Dems.

Kerry Introduces “Strategy for Success in Iraq Act” in United States Senate
November 10th, 2005

Speaking a a short time ago on the Senate Floor, John Kerry Introduced the “Strategy for Success in Iraq Act.”

The “Strategy for Success in Iraq Act” Would Bring Home 20,000 Troops After Iraq Elections and Demands Benchmarks for Success.

Washington, D.C. — This afternoon, Senator John Kerry introduced in the Senate his plan to succeed in Iraq and bring the vast majority of our combat troops home in a reasonable timeframe tied to specific, responsible benchmarks to transfer responsibility to Iraqis — beginning with the draw down of 20,000 U.S. troops after successful Iraqi elections in December. These additional troops are in Iraq only for the purpose of providing security for the upcoming elections. If they remain in Iraq after that benchmark is achieved, it only exacerbates the sense of American occupation.

“We are entering a make-or-break six month period in Iraq. We need to be taking action now if we are ever going to bring our troops home within a reasonable timeframe from an Iraq that’s not permanently torn by irrepressible conflict,” Kerry said. “We cannot pull out precipitously or merely promise to stay ‘as long as it takes.’ There is a way forward that gives us the best chance both to salvage a difficult situation in Iraq, and to save American and Iraqi lives.”

Kerry’s legislation, the Strategy for Success in Iraq Act, lays out a comprehensive new strategy to complete the mission in Iraq and bring our troops home. Its goal is to undermine the insurgency by simultaneously pursing both a political settlement and the draw down of American forces linked to specific, responsible benchmarks. If followed, the process will be completed in 12-15 months.

Kerry’s plan calls for:

· The U.S. to begin a phased draw down of American troops as a series of military and political benchmarks is met, starting with a reduction of 20,000 troops over the holidays as the first benchmark -the successful completion of the December elections - is met.

· The U.S. to immediately make clear that we do not want permanent military bases in Iraq, or a large combat force on Iraqi soil indefinitely.

· The Administration to immediately give Congress and the American people a detailed plan for the transfer of military and police responsibilities on a sector by sector basis to Iraqis so the majority of our combat forces can be withdrawn — ideally by the end of next year.

· The Bush administration to prod the new Iraqi government to ask for a multinational force to help protect Iraq’s borders until a capable national army is formed. Such a force, if sanctioned by the United Nations, could attract participation by Iraq’s neighbors and countries like India and would be a critical step in stemming the tide of insurgents and money into Iraq, especially from Syria.

· The Pentagon to alter the deployment of American troops, keeping Special Operations forces pursuing specific intelligence leads and putting the vast majority of U.S. troops in rear guard, garrisoned status for security backup. We do not need to send young Americans on search and destroy missions that invite alienation and deepen the risks they face.

· The President to put the training of Iraqi security forces on a six month wartime footing and ensure that the Iraqi government has the budget to deploy them.

· The Bush administration to accept long standing offers by Egypt, Jordan, France and Germany to do more training.

· The administration to immediately call a conference of Iraq’s neighbors, Britain, Turkey and other key NATO allies, and Russia to implement a strategy to bring the parties in Iraq to a sustainable political compromise that includes mutual security guarantees among Iraqis.

· Iraq’s Sunni neighbors to set up a reconstruction fund specifically for the majority Sunni areas to show them the benefits of participating in the political process.

· The President to appoint a special envoy to bolster America’s diplomatic efforts.

· The U.S. to commit to a new regional security structure that includes improved security assistance programs and joint exercises.

· The U.S. to jumpstart our lagging reconstruction efforts by providing the necessary civilian personnel to do the job, standing up civil-military reconstruction teams throughout the country, streamlining the disbursement of funds to the provinces, expanding job creation programs for Iraqis, and strengthening the capacity of government ministries.

“We must send this critical signal to the Iraqi people - that we do not desire permanent occupation - and that Iraqis themselves must fight for Iraq. History shows that guns alone do not end an insurgency,” Kerry added.

Senior American commanders and officials have said the large U.S. military presence in Iraq feeds the insurgency. General George Casey, the top American military commander in Iraq, recently told Congress that our large military presence “feeds the notion of occupation” and “extends the amount of time that it will take for Iraqi security forces to become self-reliant.” Richard Nixon’s Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, breaking a thirty year silence, recently wrote, ‘’Our presence is what feeds the insurgency, and our gradual withdrawal would feed the confidence and the ability of average Iraqis to stand up to the insurgency.”

11:06 AM  
Anonymous i_c_a_White_Ghost said...

Russert's pug bias shows thru as much as he tries to hide it, he can't.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous sojourner said...

I believe that Howard tries...but he does need to "amp" up and stay on top of the data that will refute bullshit spin by Republican apologists.

Other Dems have been complete dissapointment. Honest to God, are they so stupid that they don't see these things? I often wonder if they aren't just deliberately obtuse -- the equivalent of the boxer paid to "take a dive" in the championship match. This last thought makes me shudder...and I know, I's far out there in tinfoil hat country. But the ineptness sure gets me to wondering...

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Time for change said...

Russert is a Republican shill who pretends to be a legitimate journalist. He is the worst kind of hypocrate.

9:37 PM  

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