As usual, the Smart Guys have it backwards. Democrats can and will win the Iraq debate if they embrace the fact that they disagree and contrast it with the slavish, mindless rubber-stamp Republicans.
You play it like the other guys aren't serious. That they're out of gas.
If anyone tells you the solution to Iraq is easy or obvious, they're a liar or a fool (a false choice in the case of our president). So why not feature the debate? At least someone is debating what to do.
The fact is the American people want a new direction in Iraq, and the Democrats offer several. The Republicans, on the other hand, offer nothing more than a four-word strategy: more of the same.
If the GOP run with "More of the Same" or if the Dems can successfully brand them that way, things could get less Rovian. Because the only plan they have now, that they've had since the whole thing started blowing up in their faces, is how to save some face. Bush's face.
But don't count on it. I'm not such a nihilist that I think the Dem Party can never show collective cajones, I'll give anyone a second chance. But I think most folks want to see the some of the interesting Dems, are there are a bunch including Brian Schweitzer, Al Gore, Barak Obama, Mark Warner, John Edwards, Wesley Clark, Bill Richardson, Barbara Boxer, Joe Biden, even John Kerry, Tim Kaine, Robert Kennedy Jr., John Corzine, Russ Feingold, Dianne Feinstein, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean -- I'm sure I'm missing someone egregiously, even Jimmy Carter's kid in Nevada -- to step up and seize the day. Even Hillary, in some non-Chief Executive way.
You're up against Sam Brownback, Ralph Reed, Karl Rove, Richard Cheney and some other Puppet. I'll do what I can to help, but please kick their asses.
Read the whole thing, but Begala concludes:
In short, Democrats can and will win the debate over the war in Iraq not by playing defense (pleading "We're NOT for cut and run!") but on offense: the Republican Congress has blindly backed a failed strategy that has left 2,500 Americans dead, 20,000 wounded, and put us $2 trillion in the hole.
Being part of a party that has three or four different new approaches to Iraq beats the hell out of being part of a party that marches in lockstep off a cliff.
Rove is planning to eat Democrats like they are little Democratic infants for him to much on like a dinosaur. It's Final Branding Time.
It's debate, not dissent.
Not when things are going so shitty.