I was hopeful that John Edwards would articulate the philosophical differences between Democrats and Republicans more effectively than, in my opinion, he did. Cheney caricatured it well but I don’t even remember Edwards’s response because he didn’t seem to directly address this important philosophical difference. There are critical differences of philosophy that the Democrats are not getting to that would be effective and convincing if they would go a few steps further.
Economically there are two main strains that have emerged: yes, one wants to cut taxes but is simultaneously created enormous debt, it seems. Is that any better than the critique of Democrats as tax-raising social spenders? One is concerned to de-regulate businesses, take burdens off businesses, and the other is more concerned with individuals and their suffering. Both address the needs of people but through different approaches. Yes, socially there are differences, too, and Democrats represent a strain that believes the ladder of success should not be pulled up by those making more money. This strain sees the nation and the world more as a community in need of aid while the Republican stream sees a world in need of democracy that creates opportunities for business and capitalism and our American version of freedom.
Edwards spoke repeatedly about the non-connection between Al-Qaida and Iraq. The reports have already established this and the Republicans are not pushing this point hard enough to warrant a counter attack from Democrats. So if Democrats would focus on the notion that our miscues in foreign policy have created an even less secure world today because they are engendering more hatred toward us with attitudes and actions worldwide, then I think more would sit up and take notice.
Further articulating the philosophical differences would help Democrats, since the Republicans position (at least President Bush’s) is wrong for good diplomacy: the idea that anyone who is not with us is against us. Jesus said this after the Pharisees accused him of casting out demons in the name of Beelzebub (Mt 12:30), but I do not support our president saying it on a world scale. This has alienated many nations and continued the rhetoric that sounds as evil to insurrectionists as Islamic fundamentalism sounds to us. To say that people hate freedom and are simply evil and that’s why they hate us, puts too many Americans completely on the wrong track of discerning foreign policy. Foreign policy even before the war in Iraq is part of why many nations do not support our actions and “hate us.”