This week, Don Rumsfeld accused Americans of appeasing fascists in the Middle East--in the same way that the Europeans appeased Hitler in the 1930s. It was classic Rummy on the campaign stump: Criticize our policy? Atomic bombs will fall on...

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Jeffrey Feldman, Editor-in-Chief
Frameshop, 08/30/2006

RummyThis week, Don Rumsfeld accused Americans of appeasing fascists in the Middle East--in the same way that the Europeans appeased Hitler in the 1930s.   It was classic Rummy on the campaign stump:  Criticize our policy?   Atomic bombs will fall on your are encouraging the us we're wrong and you will all die, Die, DIE!!

Then, as is usual practice for the Bush Administration,  after accusing the American public of endangering the nation--Rumsfeld's aides immediately denied that he said anything of the sort.  In response, Democratic leader Harry Reid issued a statement calling Rumsfeld's comments reckless, and others followed suit.

But how should Progressives reframe this?  They can change the frame from 'Nazis' to Republican fear of being held accountable for what they have done.  But the word 'accountable' and 'accountability' or so unwieldy, so technocratic.  It is much better to respond to Rumsfeld's outlandish Nazi comments by saying something along these lines:

  • Rumsfeld is campaigning again
  • Rumsfeld is afraid Democrats are about to regain control of Congress
  • Rumseld is worried he will soon have to answer for what he has done
  • Nothing scares Rumsfeld more that the fear of facing the American people
  • Facing the prospect of answering to the American people, Rumsfeld will accuse us of more and more outlandish crimes
  • Rumsfeld is lashing out like a cornered thief
  • The more he senses he might have to answer for his crimes, the more he will accuse his accusers

Rumsfeld's campaign against Americans is a sign that he is looking up the road and sees himself sitting at a table in front of a Congressional committee chaired by Democrats.  And the more he senses that reality about to drop on him, the more he will up the ante in the PR war to cast Americans as treasonous turncoats.

And Progressives should keep turning up the heat.

This might even be a good time for the dozens of Progressive Democrats running for election across America to stand up and speak directly back to Rumsfeld's attempt to campaign for the  Republicans.

Old-school Democrats worried that by speaking out against Republican military policies, the public would look at the Democrats and see weakness.

New Progressive Democrats, by contrast, stand up and say that the first step to a better military policy and a safer, stronger America is to make the Bush administration--starting with Donald Rumsfeld--answer for what they have done.

Here is one way that Democratic candidates for Congress or Senate might communicate that message in a new ad:

Don Rumsfeld says that any American who dares to question him is endangering our national security.

But after too many years of President Bush's failed policy in Iraq, Americans want change.

Americans want Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush to answer for their mistakes in Iraq.

And Americans know that our national security depends on making our voices heard.

That is just one way to put this message into an ad, and it can be customized to fit into any candidate's campaign.  But the larger point is that Progressives should step up and grab Rumsfeld's statement by the horns--reframe it into the broader message of making President Bush and his administration 'answer to the American people.'

© 2006 Jeffrey Feldman, Frameshop

© Jeffrey Feldman 2006, Frameshop

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