There is a very interesting post at Dadahead - More on "Fighting Dems" that is worth reading. After losing numerous elections, the Democrats are at their wit's end. They desperately want to figure out how to connect with voters, especially on foreign policy and national security matters. While most polls show that Republicans and the President have taken a beating in the credibility /competence /honesty departments, the Democrats are not showing a corresponding gain. That is troubling because if the voters go to the polls with an attitude of "pox on both houses" and choose the devil they know, Republicans might win again in 2006 and 2008.
For reasons that elude me, Democrats are perceived by Americans as weak on defence and foreign policy and anti-military, although as I pointed out in one of my previous posts, "Masculinity, War & SUV's", the Democratic side of the US Congress is populated by more combat hardy veterans than the leadership of the Republican Party, consisting largely of strutting chicken hawks. Some have suggested that the Dems should field Iraqi war veterans in congressional races of 2006 in order to neutralize the Republican advantage on security and war matters. I don't buy into this strategy and agree with Dadahead's analysis of why this is unnecessary and even futile. A uniform alone, does not a winning candidate make. You have to have a coherent message on domestic and foreign issues and if that comes packaged in a shiny uniform, all the better. But let us remember what non-warrior Bush managed to do to decorated vets like John McCain and John Kerry in 2000 and 2004. Dadahead says that one of his (her? I am a new reader, who is Dadahead?) fears is that fielding soldiers on Democratic tickets will keep the focus on Iraq and national security (a strong point for the GOP) and not on domestic issues like health care, education and social security - areas where the Dems are more trusted. I believe it doesn't necessarily have to be an either/or choice. The Democrats should focus on bread and butter issues but must not become evasive or defensive on Iraq. They should hammer home how wrong headed, wasteful and criminal this misadventure was and how much it has set back domestic progress and reconstruction efforts (for example, Katrina, FEMA, Homeland Security). In fact the Democrats should not let the voters forget about Iraq for a minute and we don't need soldiers to drive home the point. We need articulate and fearless truth tellers on Democratic tickets. Military credentials are ancillary to the ability of candidates to focus unflinchingly on the Republicans' hypocrisy, cowardice and corruption in Iraq and at home.