Monday, June 26, 2006

Democrats Shouldn't Underestimate GOP's Propaganda Blitz on WMDs


Most Democrats greeted Republican Sen. Rick Santorum's absurd and implausible WMD claims with laughter last week.

The last time I heard such loud laughter from the Democrats was back when Bush's election people initially raised John Kerry's distinguished record in Vietnam as a campaign issue.

At the time, Democrats were stunned that the Bush people would dare raise Kerry's military record as a campaign issue when their own candidate had run away from serving in combat in Vietnam. This initial stunned reaction soon gave way to laughter, with Democrats firmly convinced that Karl Rove's tactic would never possibly work.

Unfortunately, the GOP enjoyed the last laugh in 2004. While any clear-thinking, rational adult knows that Kerry served with distinction, the GOP did find success in raising doubts in the minds of some voters about Kerry's record. And as a result, what should have been a slam-dunk plus in Kerry's favor was diminished somewhat by Election Day.

I fear that Democrats who are laughing at the GOP's recent silly WMD claims may find that the Republicans could get the last laugh this time around, as well.

Anyone who doubts that the GOP can succeed in convincing large numbers of Americans that Iraq did indeed possess WMDs is simply underestimating the awesome power of today's GOP Fox News/talk radio/right-wing propaganda machine.

The truth, of course, is that Bush's case for war was based on a pack of lies. No WMDs were ever found in Iraq. The U.S. invasion of Iraq has cost the U.S. more than 2,500 troop deaths and hundreds of billions in dollars, as well as countless Iraqi deaths. The entire enterprise now stands as perhaps the most colossal fiasco in the history of the United States.

With the November elections growing closer, GOP campaign strategists clearly have their work cut out for themselves. If indeed they can succeed in convincing at least some of the voters that the Iraq war was justified and that WMDs were indeed found there, this could well salvage the GOP's hopes in November.

Can the GOP pull it off? I think it's entirely possible. One thing I will give the GOP strategists credit for is that they excel at taking a simple message ("Kerry is a flip-flopper") and ramming it home through endless repetition. It's not the most subtle election campaign trick, but it's highly successful in its brute force simplicity.

This time, the GOP once again has a simple message: "Iraq did have WMDs!" It's a message that we can expect to hear repeated countless times between now and Election Day.

It doesn't matter that the "weapons of mass destruction" in this case are nothing more than useless, degraded, 20-year-old junk. That's not the point. All Rove and his minions have to do is plant the message in the minds of voters that the Iraq war was worthwhile, after all. By ramming home the message that "Iraq had WMDs" a million times between now and Election Day, the GOP could very well tip a number of closes races their way.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter whether the GOP's claims of WMDs in Iraq are, in fact, absurd. After all, so was their claim that Kerry wasn't really a war hero. The fact is, Democrats underestimate the relentless power of the Republican propaganda machine at their peril.


Anonymous said...

The moment Santorum stepped up to the podium with his WMD announcement, every single Bush partisan in the country became convinced for all time that Iraq did have WMDs. There's no point in arguing with those brainwashed people; one will never, ever succeed in getting them to change their minds. The election (as is usually the case) will instead hinge on the independent voters. We must work to try to educate as many as we can that the GOP is once again lying about the WMD issue.

scud said...

What is so hard to understand about the concept of violations of UN resolutions, and the non-disclosure of weapons to the UN's "crack" inpectors? Whether these shells were leathal or not doesn't matter. They were there. The others were probably moved. When they're found, I assume the America hating lefties will poopoo that as well. In fact, it will probably be seen as a Bush plot to win political favor. Gosh you guys are relentless in your hate! Oh yeah, you might want to read the Real Story on John Kerry's Military Service. They aren't a bunch of Republican operatives. For a "veteran Journalist" you demonstrate nothing but ignorance and bias. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

This recent "discovery" hyped by Santorum isn't even news, for Chrissakes! The Iraq Survey Group, back in Sept. 2004 reported that degraded chemical munitions had been found, but specifically noted that "they were not proof of an existing chemical weapons stockpile or of a renewed Iraqi chemical weapons program." The fact is, this stuff is useless junk---and it's silly to label a pile of junk with the terrifying label "weapons of mass destruction" (much less take the U.S. to a disastrous war over this). In response to the previous poster, I guess you'll now label the Iraq Survey Group (which was organized by the Pentagon and the CIA) as some sort of communist/liberal group, LOL! No matter how you Nazi Con scum try to spin this one, you're gonna lose with any rational, clear-thinking adult.

Anonymous said...

When we, the US, signed the ceasefire agreement with Iraq through the UN, we--the US--agreed to allow the UN to decide when and if the ceasefire had been violated and we, the US, agreed that the UN would decide what actions should be taken.

If you think that the signature of our nation on an international treaty means nothing, if you think that we are above the law we demand others follow, then none of this matters.

But to violate the UN Charter (which we helped to write) and to violate international agreements that we, as a nation, have ratified--and then use those very same agreements to validate our invasion of Iraq which was not in conformity with the UN charter does not work.

Try another reason--like national security... but don't base the legitimacy of our war against Iraq on international law.

We have no standing under the law. The only reason we have not been called to answer legally for our actions is that no one is able to force us to do so.

Lethal is not an argument. Guns are lethal. We did not base our need to invade Iraq on the fact they had guns.

I wonder how forceful and argument Powell could have made to the UN if all he had to butress our desire to attack Iraq was that there were rusted, rotting remnants forgotten on the border of Iraq somewhere. I do not think his speech would have been as persuavsive.

Anonymous said...

The difference is that this time, people are seeing democrats laugh at the lies. People need to see ridiculous lies laughed at, because that makes them realize Santorum is blowing this all out of proportion (if not pulling it out of his ass). If tripe is dignified with a serious response, suddenly it's not tripe anymore in the public's mind.