Skip to comments.Democrats' 'dupe' message could backfire
Posted on 11/06/2005 9:51:43 AM PST by Graybeard58
The Democratic party appears to have finally come up with a way to explain why so many of its elected leaders gave President Bush the authority to wage war in Iraq.
Three simple words: "We were duped."
A parade of top Democrats have contended in recent days that they would have been antiwar in 2002 had they known then what they now believe to be true: that the Bush administration manipulated the intelligence in order to build a bogus case for war. In pursuit of that theme, Senate Democrats on Tuesday successfully demanded that their GOP colleagues quit stalling and finish a long-promised investigation that could determine whether the war planners were dishonest.
Many Democrats believe it's good politics these days to say that they were lied to. This message, actually a rite of confession, is designed to help their erstwhile pro-war politicians get back in sync with the party's liberal antiwar base. That's especially important for some of the original pro-war Democrats who want to run for president in 2008. After all, liberal voters tend to dominate the Democratic primaries, and they're expecting to hear apologies.
Hence, Sen. John Kerry (who wants to try again) said in a speech on Oct. 26: "The country and the Congress were misled into war. I regret that we were not given the truth ... knowing what we know now, I would not have gone to war in Iraq." Hence, Tom Daschle (the deposed Senate Democratic leader, who is weighing a campaign) said in a speech Wednesday that senators voted incorrectly because "on so many fronts, we were misled."
At least four other Democratic senators who voted to authorize war have used the dupe argument in recent days, including Christopher Dodd of Connecticut (who periodically voices White House ambitions) and Tom Harkin of Iowa (who now calls his war support "one of the biggest voting mistakes of my career"). And once having confessed, these Democrats believe they have sufficient credibility to call for the phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
But not all the prominent Democrats who voted with Bush have embraced the dupe message. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton hasn't renounced her vote. Sen. Evan Bayh, another presidential hopeful, hasn't renounced. Former Sen. John Edwards, another prospective candidate, hasn't renounced. Sen. Joe Biden hasn't, either.
Their reticence might stem in part from awareness of the George Romney rule of politics: Gullibility is not a character asset for a presidential candidate.
The late George Romney (father of current Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney) was the front-runner of the 1968 GOP presidential race -- until he tried to explain why he had renounced his previous support for the Vietnam war. The Michigan governor complained that he had been duped by the brass into backing the war.
Romney's candidacy soon evaporated.
voters didn't like the idea of electing someone who admitted he was capable of being fooled. And, as many political observers argue, that's the lesson for Democrats today.
Charlie Cook, a Washington analyst who runs the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, said Friday: "If Democrats want to argue that the administration misrepresented and distorted the prewar intelligence, OK, that's one thing. But if they push the argument that they have been duped, fooled and victimized -- well, to a lot of (independent swing) voters, they're just going to come across as weak."
The Romney rule is also invoked by moderate Democrats who see Iraq as a noble cause. Marshall Wittmann, a senior fellow at the Democratic Leadership Council, warned on his blog the other day that the Democrats "are positioning themselves as a party that is gullible, feckless, and indecisive ... beware of the long-term impact on the party which already suffers from a perception of being weak on national security."
But David Sirota, a liberal antiwar activist and organizer, contends that the Romney rule is irrelevant today, because of the public's broad-based opposition to the Iraq war. (Most Americans still generally supported the Vietnam war at the time Romney committed his gaffe).
Sirota said Thursday: "Obviously, the (dupe) message needs to be played properly. But most Americans already believe that Bush mislead the country" -- polls support his contention -- "so it makes perfect sense for Democrats to say they too were misled. ... They followed tradition and gave the benefit of the doubt to a president on a national security issue, and they were lied to. That doesn't mean they were stupid. They were being patriotic.
"And rather than just apologize for being misled, Democrats need a message of outrage. Make the argument that this administration" deliberately manipulated the intelligence."
That message is dismissed by critics as paranoid; Wittmann calls it "Michael Moore territory." But the Republican Senate leaders did promise, back in February 2004, that it would investigate whether the war planners had been deliberately dishonest. Asked in October 2004 (before the election) why that key question had not been resolved, Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts replied: "We simply couldn't get that done with the work product that we put out." Then, eight months ago, Roberts said the probe had been put "on the back burner."
Last week, Senate Democrats employed a parliamentary maneuver to force a showdown over the sluggish probe; as a result, a progress report will be issued within the next several weeks. Liberal bloggers were thrilled by this rare act of boldness; in the words of Philadelphia-based billmon.org, it was a treat "watching the Democratic jellyfish rear up on its hind tentacles and sting someone."
If the GOP report concludes that the Bush team manipulated intelligence, it would buttress the Democratic message about being duped. But the party's strategy could fail anyway. There is always the possibility, as some Democrats say privately, that the report will exonerate Bush, leaving Democrats to merely complain that there must have been a whitewash.
And the dupe message may be only as good as the individual messenger. Kerry, in his Oct. 26 speech, declared that "as I said more than a year ago," he would not have voted for the war if he had known about "the Bush administration's duplicity." Yet, on Aug. 9, 2004, he said he would have still voted to authorize Bush even if he had known in advance that no mass weaponry would be found. Those statements don't necessarily contradict each other, but a fresh round of Kerry nuances may not boost his fortunes.
Clearly, gaining traction on Iraq is a Democratic imperative. Bush may be tanking in the polls, but Democrats have barely moved the needle their way. In the words of party pollster Stan Greenberg, summarizing his late-October numbers, "Democrats have not made noticeable gains on thinking long-term ... knowing what they stand for, or being trusted to keep America safe."
As for the 2008 race, Charlie Cook suggests a way for Democrats to dump the dupe message entirely: "By 2008, there will be a tremendous constituency for a candidate who can argue clearly that the war was always a mistake. Forget all the senators. The answer for Democrats is to nominate a governor, somebody who never had to vote at all on the damn war."
The 'Rats should try "brainwashed" (just like G. Romney) and get that Turbined Dick ('Rat, IL) out in front to cry us a river.
Look for the Dems involved with "Phase Two" refuse to sign on to any findings outside of their agenda, regardless of the evidence.
Why do I think that a slogan that translates (roughly) to "We're complete f-ing morons" will not be a successful pitch in 2006?
actually, the republicans should say that they were duped based on the statements of democrats and intelligence findings of the Clinton era.
Tell John Kerry we got the truth on his dumb ass, The Vietnam Veterans who worked with this dork in the Swift Boats gave it to us,. Thats why you lost Dildo-head. John Kerry who voted for the war before he voted against it. Mr flip-flop. Massachusetts should be dropped from the Union for electing Fat Ted and Dishonest John. Just goes to show that Pork will keep you in office no matter how bad you are.
If the dems try this "I was fooled" message, not only will they look like dopes, they'll also look like liars. Most of the loudest "I was tricked" voices were also those who chimed right in on the WMD and Saddam-is-a-threat message prior to the war. So I say, you go for it, dems. Bring it on.
This is a tough position to take, given the fact that Saddam's WMDs provided a rational for military acton throughout the Clinton era. Who "brainwashed" the dems then?
Counter ad by the GOP.
The dims saying "we were duped"
Show all the blabbling dims on Iraq pre 2000 including Clinton.
Then just have the words "Duped? By Whom?"
Fade to black.
It's sure to turn out the F-ing Moron base.... Wonder how many Democrat Congressman have responded to email's from Nigeria promising monetary riches?
I REALLY hope the 'RATS use this "We Were Duped" as their campaign slogan in '06 and '08. Americans will be laughing at them all the way to the polls.
"Vote for us! Even a complete moron like Bush can pull the wool over our eyes!"
Yeah right. Here are some samples of the Democrat Lies. Check the dates. Bush wasn't even in office when some of these gems were laid out there:
"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."
- President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998
"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
- President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998
"Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
- Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998
"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983."
- Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998
"We urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."
- Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom
Daschle, John Kerry, and others Oct. 9, 1998
"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
- Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998
"Hussein has ... chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies."
- Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999
"There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of an ilicit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
- Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and
others, December 5, 2001
"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandated of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."
- Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002
"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002
"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002
"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
- Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002
"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities.
Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..."
- Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002
"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the
authority to use force-- if necessary-- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."
- Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002
"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years...We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction."
- Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002
"He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do"
Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002
"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members .. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
- Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002
"We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction."
- Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002
"Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real."
Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003
So now the Dems say they were duped? Gimme a Freepin' break.
Exactly! These are the folks who call Dubya dumb. Well, if he's Dumb, who is Dumber?
One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line.
President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998.
If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraqs weapons of mass destruction program.
President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998.
Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.
Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998.
He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.
Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998
[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraqs refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs. Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others Oct. 9, 1998.
Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998.
Hussein has chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies.
Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999.
Thanks for posting this - will file it better this time - sending it to everyone on my list. This list gives new meaning to political double speak .if they didnt mean what they said then, do they ever mean what they say? Duped my foot!
I have bookmarked your great set of references!
Thanks Bloody Sam!
Oh yea, that'll work. "We were duped". ROFL!!
The Dems actually think that that excuse is going to help them in ballot box? Don't they realize that what they are saying is that ALL of the Democrat representatives in our government were collectively "duped"? Including a Democrat President? If they think this statement should make us think they are the best ones to run this country, then they are not only stuck on stupid, they ought to have that tatooed on their COLLECTIVE foreheads!
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