Monday, June 06, 2005

Framing plus substance

elephant and donkey bang headsAtrios argues that Democrats can't keep picking at the edges of our Iraq policy, but must be willing to admit that they weren't always right in supporting the whole undertaking. That will make for a much better basis from which not only to counter the "spreading Democracy" narrative of the Administration, but also to derive recommendations and policies going forward.
There is only one way to construct an alternative grand narrative on Iraq. It isn't enough to say "we were right to invade Iraq but Bush has handled it badly and we would've done better if we'd done X." That Does Not Work. All it says is Bush fucked up a bit but, hey, none of us perfect.

The only thing that will work is to say "we were wrong to invade Iraq." That's the grand narrative which will resonate when a majority of the population happens to agree with this statement. That's your narrative. Onto that you of course have to add some sort of what we should do next policy.
This may involve a willingness to be opportunistic about the point when public patience with the costs and casualties finally flags, the point when this narrative will be welcome viscerally. Unclear whether that time is now, but his arguments (in a rare Atrios prose burst) are worth reading.

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