A friend of mine


A friend of mine from across the aisle wrote in this morning, saying that however much of a whacko Zell Miller might have sounded like last night, the GOP has a message for this election, and Miller pounded that message again and again. The message, of course, is Bush will keep you safe; Kerry won’t. The Democrats, he said, have no message other than that Bush was AWOL in Texas and Alabama.

There’s some real truth in that analysis, or at least in part. The Democrats do have a message but it’s been submerged for most of the last three weeks. And that is the main reason why they’ve lost traction over that period.

The message is straightforward and explainable in ascending levels of specificity.

At its simplest: President Bush has screwed everything up.

A tad less simple: President Bush lied the country into war and then screwed up Iraq. He’s racked up huge deficit numbers but no good jobs numbers. He’s blown a lot of stuff up; but he’s made America less safe.

In that second version, I’ve made no attempt to craft the whole thing together like a good message maven would do. But that is the essence of it — accountability, a simple look at the guy’s record. Most of his policies were sold on dishonesty and pretty much all of them have failed. In the real world the consequence of screwing everything up is getting canned. Little of the president’s life has been lived in the real world. But we have to. So he should be fired.

Here’s just one point the Dems could start off on today. For all the mumbo-jumbo about the ‘success’ with Libya, the two biggest nuclear dangers to America are North Korea and Iran — Iraq never was one. President Bush has completely screwed up both of them. He’s let both of them cruise right along to becoming nuclear states without doing anything of any consequence except barking some occasional tough talk and letting his more gonzo supporters whip up some Spy vs. Spy ridiculousness on the fringes.

Keep the focus on the president’s manifest record of failure and he loses this election. Simple as that.

That’s why this whole Republican convention has come down to Zell Miller with a shotgun in hand, out in front of the cabin, holding the A-rabs and other outsiders at bay until President Bush can come save the day. Save the womenfolk. Cherish the household gods. I may die but if I do my finger will be clenched on this trigger.