Monday, August 24, 2009

The GOP's Winning Arguments?

Fred Barnes writes in a Wall Street Journal essay today, "What the GOP has done best has been to make and win arguments."

That claim may be sort of true. The GOP has been talking a lot but I would not call what they say sound arguments based on truth.

Barnes claims:
"consider Sarah Palin's controversial statement that Mr. Obama's health-care plan would establish 'death panels' capable of denying care to seniors."
This line of 'argument' has been proven to be lies and huge distortions by a bi-partisan group of commentators.

Barnes writes:
"Better yet, they've stopped bad policies in their tracks. Consider Dick Cheney's decision to challenge Mr. Obama's inclination to go soft in the war on terror in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute in May. By winning the argument that the nation needs a vigorous defense against al Qaeda, Mr. Cheney left Mr. Obama little choice but to stick with such Bush era policies as rendition of captured terrorists, immunity for telecommunication companies that cooperated with wiretapping possible terrorists, and targeting terrorist leaders for assassination."
Unfortunately, President Obama and Cheney did not have an argument in this area. How could the GOP win if the President's position is so similar to the GOP's position. Michael Crowley at the TNR writes:
"Cheney won the argument that we need a vigorous defense against al Qaeda? When exactly was Obama arguing it the other way?

And consider the positions into which Barnes says Obama was supposedly badgered by the former vice president. Rendition? It's true that Obama hasn't prohibited the snatching of terror suspects off the streets. But in February he signed an executive order outlawing the extrajudicial 'extraordinary renditions' that were an innovation of the Bush-Cheney era, and will no longer send them to countries where we can expect them to be tortured. Telecom immunity? Obama voted to support it while he was still in the Senate, outraging the liberal left. Targeting terrorist leaders? Obama vowed during the 2008 campaign to do just that--a position conservatives both distorted and ridiculed."
If the arguments are so powerful and true why aren't the independents in the "mass migration" from the President's corner supporting the GOP? Because the GOP is not making and winning arguments. Barnes writes:
"That's not the way politics works. Political recovery comes in two stages. The party out of power must first discredit the majority's ideas and agenda. Public approval comes later. It shows up on Election Day."
Barnes is correct that the Democrat's plan has been somewhat discredited, albeit by lies not arguments, but as David Frum asks what do you do then? If the GOP does not have its own idea how to fix these problems beyond discrediting Democratic proposals, who is going to vote for them. Sphere: Related Content

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