The only thing worse than having George W. Bush in the White House is having a Republican majority in the Congress and the Senate. That can change with next year's midterm elections, if Democratic candidates pull their heads out of...well, let's just say "the sand". Democratic opponents have been crushed in recent elections because they don't know how to campaign anymore. George W. Bush and his Republican majority got where they are because they changed the rules of campaigning, and the Democrats are still playing by the old rules.
Granted, politicians have never been completely honest, and that includes Democratic politicians, but Bush and the Republicans completely redefined dishonesty and it got them the White House, the Congress, and the Senate.
Unfortunately, the Democrats still believe that people in America today will respond to a kinder and gentler message, and will reward the Democrats for not stooping to the extreme Republican versions of distorted facts, twisted truths, and outright lies.
Kind and gentle campaigns did not win the Republicans their present majority, and the Democrats won't win another election until they figure that out. The Republicans have played Americans' emotions like a poker hand, and it's worked like a charm. They've played the "fear" card, they've played the "holy" card, they've played the "protector" card, and they've been in control of this government as a reward. The Democrats? Well, they slink back home after losing yet another election, and quietly whimper that it's not nice to play like that. Nice or not, Democrats better get angry, and fast.
That shouldn't be very hard to do, considering the way this administration has bankrupted this country, completely lied us into a war against another country, destroyed decades of international diplomacy, and been directly responsible for making terrorism grow to its strongest level in history.
There should be enough in that short list to make every American want to demand a regime change right here at home, but that will never happen, because George W. Bush knows exactly how to keep "folks" complacent. Do the Democrats counter what Bush tells the American people? If so, it's done in quiet, respectable, polite tones, the Democratic way. That's why the Democrats keep losing elections (with a little help from electronic voting machines). There is enough corruption in this administration to make everyone absolutely furious, and the Democrats need to shine a spotlight on it, and be aggressive about it.
Exposing the corruption quietly will never work. If the average American is not already fed up enough to be screaming for a regime change, they obviously aren't even aware of the corruption (if you can imagine the degree of apathy that would require). Democrats need to wake them up loudly, non-stop, aggressively, continuously, day after day after day, at volumes they've never heard from a Democrat. The Bush administration has gift-wrapped all the ammunition needed to send him and his handlers on their way. Howard Dean understands this, but the rest of the Democrats haven't figured it out yet.
Leave the lying to the Republicans. There is enough in their records to use against them without having to stretch a single thing, and there will be enough lying in their campaigns to expose them for what they really are, if it's done hard and fast. Republicans have proven very successfully that if you repeat a lie often enough, it will be believed. Democrats can do the same thing with the truth, and prove that in Bush's case it really is stranger than fiction.
Steven A. Hass