It’s too late I know, but I had some wishes during the campaign, some things Democrats might have done in terms of making points, none of them substantive, but there was a lot of that going around anyway. First of all I would never have let the self-proclaimed Swift Boat Veterans for Truth work up such a head of steam without confronting them in a forceful, even angry way. Their misconstructions were out there much too long, and, I would have called on the President directly to denounce them, not let him get away with his weak response.
I would also have produced some clips for TV of the President’s comments at a white tie event, where he proclaimed he was glad to be among the haves and have mores – “some people call you the elite I call you my base”. Such spots could have been very effective in states where jobs had been lost, and some families with two working heads of household are barely making it.
As a companion piece Bush on the golf course talking to reporters about how important the war on terrorism is followed by “now watch this drive” might have stirred some voters to wonder if this man was really engaged and busy about the nation’s business.
And of course his ‘comedy bit’ at the press corps dinner where he pretended to look for weapons of mass destruction under tables and behind the podium might have made an impression on some members of the military and their families if they had been confronted with such a vision.
Then there’s Zell Miller spewing all the venom at the Republican Convention when a few years before he had introduced John Kerry in his home state as one of America’s true heroes. The tape of that event was available, and it could have been used as an example of political opportunism and colossal flip flopping.
Also it might have been amusing and enlightening to have used the president’s garbled

There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again. (video clip)

a few times just for light-hearted humor, a kind of Bugs Bunny “That’s all folks” flourish.
Well it past time now, but there are elections still to come and battles to be fought along the way; Democrats and contenders of all kinds need to hone their message and highlight the foibles of opponents much more effectively. There has been too much talk about how Democrats need to reconsider some of their basic ideals and not enough about how they should frame issues and goals in a clear, cogent manner. To begin with just paying attention would help. Do people realize, for example, that in considering revision of the tax code one plan being talked about might be to eliminate tax deductions for state and local taxes? How does that sit with East and West Coast Democrats and maybe even Republicans?

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