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Great read: Campaign 2006: The Issues, the Stakes, the Prospects

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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-15-06 08:53 PM
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Great read: Campaign 2006: The Issues, the Stakes, the Prospects
Campaign 2006: The Issues, the Stakes, the Prospects

Commentary: The choices are stark, the consequences are momentous.

By Arthur I. Blaustein

September 19, 2006

Scare the hell out of the American people.

That, in a nutshell, is the Republicans' fall congressional campaign strategy. If you doubt it, consider the following: George W. Bush launched a propaganda offensive in the run-up to the 9/11 anniversary with a speech in which he called Islamic terrorists "successors to fascists, to Nazis, to communists and other totalitarians of the 20th century"; Donald Rumsfeld in turn likened administration critics to those who appeased Nazi Germany in the 1930s; Dick Cheney, appearing on Meet the Press, accused opponents of the war of inviting more violence; Rep. Peter Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in August released a hyped report on the supposedly grave threat to US national security posed by Iranone strikingly similar to the hyped intelligence documents the administration used to build its case for war in Iraq.*

I could go on, but you get the idea: The GOP is dusting off a strategy that's worked wonders for them these past five yearsone single-mindedly and cynically designed to increase public fear of terrorism.

Republicans running for the House and Senate in marginal districts and swing states have a problem. They're just like Tony Blair, fatally weakened in Britain and derided in Europe as "Bush's poodle" for rolling over for the US president's every policy demand. Republicans in Congress, however much they may try now to distance themselves from a deeply unpopular president, are in trouble for having stood on their hind legs and jumped through hoops every time the White House has fed them a new policy biscuit. Thus, the policies of George Bush and his administration are and well should be the defining issue of this campaign.

Arthur I. Blaustein is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where he teaches community development, public policy, and politics. His most recent books are Make a Difference: America's Guide to Volunteering and Community Service, and The American Promise: Justice and Opportunity. He served on the board of the National Endowment for the Humanities under Bill Clinton and was chair of the President's National Advisory Council on Economic Opportunity under Jimmy Carter.
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