BASHING BUSH….Over at Eschaton, Leah points to a Seattle Times article indicating that Paul Bremer has requested 50,000 more troops in Iraq. The Bush team, however, doesn’t want this request to become public since it would make clear how badly they botched their postwar planning. Leah comments:

I suspect that all critiques of how we’re failing to secure the peace and begin to move towards democracy in Iraq will be treated as if they’re calls to retreat. Even questions about those cancelled elections can be characterized as attempts to rush the process so we can get the hell out of there.

We need some thinking about how to continue the critique, without finding that we’re playing Karl’s game.

That’s my two cents. Tell me yours.

OK, I will. On this specific subject, I think that Democrats simply need to be very clear that they don’t want to see us withdraw from Iraq, but that they do think foreign policy should be run by someone with a track record of good judgment. Say plainly that you want us to win this war and stamp out terrorism, but that Bush has shown that he’s just not up to the job.

More generally, a significant part of any successful Democratic attack on Bush has to go straight to the subject of judgment and competence. It would look something like this, I think:

  • He said his tax cuts would create jobs. They didn’t.

  • He said his stem cell plan would allow research on debilitating illnesses like Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease to proceed. He was wrong.

  • He said he would find Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. He failed.

  • He said Saddam Hussein had WMDs that posed an imminent threat to the security of the United States. It wasn’t true.

  • He said the Iraqis would greet us a liberators and laughed at the army when they said we’d need several hundred thousand troops to occupy Iraq. The army was right, he was wrong.

You can add your own favorites, but you get the idea. The message ought to be that even if you agree with Bush’s goals, he’s demonstrated over and over that his policies won’t get us there. So instead of reelecting a guy who keeps making mistakes and trying to clean up after them, let’s elect someone who can get the job done on the first try.