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Dems Promote the Innocent Bystander Fable At CNN Debate

David Sirota: Projecting weakness has a lot less to do with issues than it does with refusing to wield the power the public has given you.
 
 
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I subjected myself to the torture that was the Democratic presidential primary debate last night, and came away thinking one thing: Many of the people on that stage really do not understand why the American public has often thought Democrats are weak. I say that because, as you can see from this YouTube video I put together, at least four of them regurgitated or validated what I have previously termed the Innocent Bystander Fable - the one where Democratic politicians pretend they are doing everything they can to stop the war, but are merely innocent bystanders with no real power to stop the Iraq War - when in fact most of the country knows they do have real power, but also knows that they are deliberately refusing to actually wield that power.

As you can see from the video above which I spliced together from last night's debate, at least some Democratic politicians do not seem to comprehend that the image of weakness has much less to do with positions on issues, and much more to do with whether a politician is perceived as being willing to use the power afforded to them in their public office. While I certainly agree that the responsibility for this war lies mostly with President Bush, the idea that Democrats (especially those who originally voted for the war and who have voted to keep funding the war without binding timelines) had nothing at all to do with the war is offensive for its dishonesty - and I'm glad at least a few Democrats on that stage like John Edwards, Chris Dodd and Dennis Kucinich had the guts to debunk the pass-the-buck rhetoric.

Continuing to push the Innocent Bystander Fable in the face of objective facts showing that it is not only precisely the way for Democrats to project weakness and insult the public's intelligence, but worst of all, the most aggressive way to indefinitely continue a war that the vast majority of the American people opposes.

David Sirota is a veteran political strategist and author of Hostile Takeover , a New York Times bestseller about the corruption of both political parties.

 
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