I just participated in an informative conference call with Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) and former senators Bob Graham and Gary Hart. The congresswoman is organizing SecureUS PAC to help Democrats talk about and actually run on national security issues. In short, Harman, Graham, et al. believe it’s past time for Dems to stop conceding national security as an issue to the GOP and to call Bush to account for the absolute mess he’s made of it.
It’s amazing to me that Dems are still afraid of the national security issue (except for the Lieberman-Clinton axis who show how macho they are by supporting the war). But after seeing parts of Gov. Tim Kaine’s tepid response to the SOTU I’m afraid that’s still the case.
From the SecureUS web site:
• Americans from both political parties and swing voters want leaders who will protect America with strong and sensible national security policies. Democratic candidates must be able to articulate those policies if they are going to win on Election Day.
• The old ways of defending America have not worked against present and future threats. We no longer face armies on the march. Today, we face terrorist networks and outlaw regimes attempting to acquire chemical, biological or nuclear weapons and attack our homeland. We need bold, fresh thinking on how to stop these threats.
SecureUS plans to train Dem candidates to talk about national security issues effectively in the 2006 campaigns. I hope this works.
Gary Hart said something that I know will interest some of you — is the U.S. building permanent bases in Iraq? Hart said he has heard from people in a position to know that the US is “welding steel and pouring concrete” for at least four and perhaps as many as 12 permanent bases. He speculated the government in Iraq will “invite” the U.S. (at our insistence) to keep a permanent force of 50,000 or so troops in Iraq. Sounds plausible.