Monday, August 14, 2006

Iraq Accountability Will Play in the IL-06 Race

Lamont was a test case. His race tested what Democratic activists like myself have been saying for some time: Holding Bush accountable for the Iraq war is a major issue Democrats can run on in 2006. Now Connecticut is a little bluer than say IL-06. But I don't care. Democrats who stand up and say in no uncertain terms that the Iraq war was wrong, Bush is lying about it, and he needs to be held accountable are going to gain points not just among their Democratic bases - but among Republicans.

I've been saying this for some time, so I'll repeat myself yet again: races like IL-06 are going to be about contrast. If Duckworth can contrast herself clearly with Roskam, she will gain Republican votes from moderate Republicans who feel - like the majority of Americans - that the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Now my gut feeling - as expressed above - is born out by new polling just released by MyDD and the Courage campaign. The numbers are pretty clear. Republicans will support this.

First the numbers:
  • 63% of Republican voters believe that Bush has made some or a lot of mistakes in Iraq. 24% of Republican voters believe that Bush has made ‘a lot of mistakes in Iraq’, and another 39% believe that Bush has made ‘some mistakes in Iraq’.

  • 34% of Republican voters believe that Bush has definitely or probably not told the truth about the situation in Iraq. 14% believe that Bush has ‘definitely’ not told the truth about the situation in Iraq, and another 20% believe that Bush has ‘probably’ not told the truth about the situation in Iraq.

  • 34% of Republican voters believe that Bush should probably or definitely be held accountable for the situation in Iraq. 19% of Republican voters believe that Bush should ‘definitely’ be held accountable, and 15% believe he should ‘probably’ be held accountable.

  • 48% of Republican voters believe that the Democratic Party is likely to hold Bush accountable for mistakes in Iraq, versus only 19% who believe that the Republican Party is likely to hold Bush accountable.

Now this is not liberal solid blue Connecticut here. This is GOP leaning CA-50. Since the poll was done in a GOP leaning district like this causes me to believe that these numbers would see similar results in GOP leaning IL-06.

These numbers are significant. Take a look at the extremes again: 24% of Republicans think Bush made A LOT of mistakes in Iraq. 14% of Republicans think Bush has definitely not told the truth (a.k.a. lied) about Iraq. 19% of Republicans think Bush should definitely be held accountable for his mistakes in Iraq. 48% of Republicans think that Democrats would hold Bush accountable. This is not the liberal left fringe here. This is a sizable percentage of Republican voters.

So tell me again how IL-06 is a GOP leaning district and we have to appeal to the middle? Here it is. Stop with the stand up - stand down faulty intelligence crap that has been Bush's standard talking points for over a year and get on this horse and ride.

Stand up and say that Bush needs to be held accountable, and that as a Democrat, you're gonna do it. You are going to call him on his lies and hold him accountable for what he's done in Iraq. Just like a sizable percentage of Republicans want to do.

Sounds crazy leftist liberal? Sure. That's what makes this a no-brainer win/win line of attack. It will excite your base. But it will also resonate with the 24% of Republicans who think Bush screwed up badly, the 14% of Republicans who think he lied, and the 19% of Republicans who think Bush should be held accountable.


So lets just say Tammy carries only the 44% Cegelis earned against Hyde. Add the minimum of Republicans from this poll - the 14% who think Bush lied - and you've got 58%.

Fifty-Eight percent is a lot of things. It is red meat for your base. It is clear contrast with Roskam (you think he's gonna hold Bush accountable?). It is a majority. It is a win. It is a Democratic pickup.

Play to the middle, play  the typical finger pointing "he's corrupt" politics, play I'm a tough chick GOP-lite, and we lose.
Take stand, fight for what is right, and follow the polling (not the D3C), and we win.

Just like Lamont who beat an 18 year incumbent Senator and former Vice Presidential nominee.