Democratic 'Wimp Factor' is Back

Rick Moran
If ever there was evidence that in order for John McCain to win this election he must make it about national security it is this recent survey done by Democratic pollsters for the think tank The Third Way:

The national security credibility gap is returning. Old doubts about Democrats on security, after diminishing during 2006-2007, have begun to re-emerge: concerns that Democrats follow the polls rather than principle; that Democrats are indecisive and are afraid to use force; and that Democrats don't support the military. Because these weaknesses are longstanding and deeply ingrained, and because Republicanweaknesses are newer and do not yet have a label associated with them, Republicans continue to win on many security issues.

Frank James, writing for the Chicago Tribune blog The Swamp, points to another poll showing the same data:

The Greenberg poll, done for the think tank Third Way, echoes a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll which found a large lead for Republican Sen. John McCain over his Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama, with McCain holding a ten point lead over Obama on the question: who would be better on the Iraq, a 25 point lead on the handling of international crises and a 28 point lead on being better able to handle terrorism.

Results like these in part explain why the Republicans stressed the military and terrorism at their recently completed convention in St. Paul, Minn. They were trying to run up the score on the Democrats in the national security area.

With rising unemployment, high fuel prices, and an economy that is barely growing, how does John McCain turn the election from "It's the economy, stupid" to a referendum on experience and by extension, national security?

Events will certainly play a role as any crisis in the world draws attention to Obama's huge deficit in national security experience. The voter does not want Joe Biden answering that 3:00 am call, they want the president on the job and in charge.

But beyond events working in McCain's favor, he simply has to keep hammering away at Obama's inexperience by reminding voters where Obama has been on national security issues since he got to the senate; against the surge, against victory in Iraq, suspect on Israel, naive about our enemies, and instinctually wrong in his response to the Georgian crisis. There is plenty there for McCain to attack Obama on and one would expect him to continue to flog the issue for all its worth.

Putting Obama on the defensive about his foreign policy experience is the best way to draw attention to it. And so far, McCain is doing a good job.
If ever there was evidence that in order for John McCain to win this election he must make it about national security it is this recent survey done by Democratic pollsters for the think tank The Third Way:

The national security credibility gap is returning. Old doubts about Democrats on security, after diminishing during 2006-2007, have begun to re-emerge: concerns that Democrats follow the polls rather than principle; that Democrats are indecisive and are afraid to use force; and that Democrats don't support the military. Because these weaknesses are longstanding and deeply ingrained, and because Republicanweaknesses are newer and do not yet have a label associated with them, Republicans continue to win on many security issues.

Frank James, writing for the Chicago Tribune blog The Swamp, points to another poll showing the same data:

The Greenberg poll, done for the think tank Third Way, echoes a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll which found a large lead for Republican Sen. John McCain over his Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama, with McCain holding a ten point lead over Obama on the question: who would be better on the Iraq, a 25 point lead on the handling of international crises and a 28 point lead on being better able to handle terrorism.

Results like these in part explain why the Republicans stressed the military and terrorism at their recently completed convention in St. Paul, Minn. They were trying to run up the score on the Democrats in the national security area.

With rising unemployment, high fuel prices, and an economy that is barely growing, how does John McCain turn the election from "It's the economy, stupid" to a referendum on experience and by extension, national security?

Events will certainly play a role as any crisis in the world draws attention to Obama's huge deficit in national security experience. The voter does not want Joe Biden answering that 3:00 am call, they want the president on the job and in charge.

But beyond events working in McCain's favor, he simply has to keep hammering away at Obama's inexperience by reminding voters where Obama has been on national security issues since he got to the senate; against the surge, against victory in Iraq, suspect on Israel, naive about our enemies, and instinctually wrong in his response to the Georgian crisis. There is plenty there for McCain to attack Obama on and one would expect him to continue to flog the issue for all its worth.

Putting Obama on the defensive about his foreign policy experience is the best way to draw attention to it. And so far, McCain is doing a good job.