NN12 training preview—Leading up to the conference, we’ll be featuring guest posts from NN12 trainers. Click here to register now for Netroots Nation, June 7-10, 2012.
It’s true. National security hasn’t historically been the territory of progressives. Remember the swift-boating of John Kerry? The draft-dodging of Bill Clinton? Or that terrible picture of Michael Dukakis on a tank? For too long, progressives have been on the defensive when national defense is concerned.
But no longer. President Obama has one of the strongest records on national security and foreign policy of any president in recent memory. As a result, the Left is suddenly seeing national security as a winning campaign issue.
It’s time for progressives to engage security voters. But Netroots Nation is a busy place. So here are three reasons that if you attend one training this year at Netroots, you should make it Decoding Defense: Speaking with Authority on National Security Issues.
- Arguments framed in national security terms (and backed by the military) win in Washington. From AIDS to climate change, we’ve long known that talking about issues in terms of America’s national security wins moderate GOP votes. But those national security arguments have to be convincing – and often, backed by the military and defense experts. Take Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, for example. The willingness of top brass to reassure GOP Senators that allowing LGBT members to serve went a long way toward ensuring the hated program’s repeal. Likewise, support for the New START treaty from five former Republican Secretaries of State helped convince Republicans to vote for ratification. Such bipartisan support does not happen without arguments that recognize where the military is at and what our true national security needs really are.
- The military is more progressive than you think. Care about human rights? International development? Healthcare? The environment? The military is taking a lead on every single one of these issues. And, they’re providing an example for the rest of us to follow. From basic R&D on alternative fuels to a government-run national healthcare system, the military is already taking on the challenges that many progressives think make sense for the rest of the nation. And the right has actually attacked them for it. But we’re not paying attention. Cross-pollination between the progressive community and the progressive military could be a huge asset in convincing the rest of the nation to follow where the military has led.
- The nation needs national security policy run by progressives. Let’s face it, Republican national security has really screwed up the country (Iraq, anyone?). And they are still trying to lead us astray for their own profits. Heard about the upcoming war in Iran? Leaving the national security conversation to the right has left America vulnerable and distracted the nation from creating sound environmental, economic or social policy. The more progressives engage in the national security conversation, the more likely we are to have a national security policy that reflects OUR values, that actually restores America as a global democratic leader, and that doesn’t starve our economy of needed resources.
Convinced? Join us at 3pm on Thursday, 6/7 at Netroots Nation to learn from some of the best writers on the beat how to navigate the often complicated, acronym-driven conversation around national security with eloquence and pizazz. Check out the details and training description, and then tweet us at @plough_shares, @pogoblog and @AdamWeinstein to let us know you’ll be there!
Click here to register now for Netroots Nation, June 7-10, 2012.