September 23, 2004

Bride of scare tactics

Scare tactics return with a vengeance! Looking over Ezra Klein's post on the draft, my first thought, once again, was, "Oh hell yes, let's scare everyone into thinking Bush is planning to draft our sorry asses! Whoooooo!" But then, the pause. Re-read Kerry's speech at NYU. Re-read Kerry's remarks before the 2002 war vote. This is a man who can, when he needs to, really think seriously about national security—and let's face it, the Dems desperately need someone who can think seriously about national security.

Right then. So my main jitter is this—if saying "Bush is gonna bring back the draft" actually becomes a successful trump card that works every time, Kerry could well return to his old ways. By "old ways," I mean that back when Kerry thought he could rest on his Vietnam laurels, he had a pretty tepid vision of national security. Recently, though—now that the public and media have, however unfairly, forced Kerry to explain himself—he's come up with a pretty coherent set of principles on Iraq, terrorism, and whatnot. Now if Ezra (or anyone else) can convince me that Kerry can maintain that clarity and run a frenzied "Draft! Draft!" campaign, I'd like to hear it, and I'll happily sign on. From experience, though, once you know how to use the warp levels on Super Mario Brothers 3, you tend to forget how to play the actual game 'n' stuff.

Insta-update! (Because everyone has second thoughts...) Yes, I suppose winning is half the battle, or five-eighths of the battle, or whatever. Still, it's not inconceivable that "Republicans want to bring back the draft!" could morph into some form of generic dovishness, a tagline to trot out against any vote for military action. In the same way that "Democrats want to surrender to Osama!" morphed into an all-purpose (and wholly unserious) "hawkish" stance.
-- Brad Plumer 6:57 PM || ||