By The Hill Staff - 02/08/05 12:00 AM EST
A group of prominent Democrats is imploring the party to make national security its top priority — or face losing another White House bid in 2008.
In an open letter to members of the Democratic Party titled “Our National Security Challenge,” the signatories stated, “To persuade the public to entrust us with national leadership, Democrats must offer a more compelling vision for making America safer. We believe Democrats should not fear a vigorous, honest debate on national security — better to wrestle these issues now than on the eve of the 2008 election.”
According to Will Marshall, president of the Progressive Policy Institute and one of the 12 signatories, the time for debate on national security is now. “Security was surely the backdrop on which voters measured their candidates and made their decisions in 2004.”
Former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) also signed the Feb. 6 letter, which was spearheaded by the institute.
The letter urged Democrats to “oppose calls to withdraw from Iraq prematurely, before the new Iraqi government is able to consolidate its authority and defend itself against Sunni insurgents and foreign terrorists.”
It added, “For too long now, we have let Republicans claim [patriotism and national pride] as their exclusive domain. Now it is time to take them back, by reasserting the Democratic Party’s proud tradition of national strength, liberal values and strong U.S. leadership for collective security.”
The letter urged Democrats to support a stronger U.S. military and shore up international alliances with the North American Treaty Organization and the United Nations to battle the Islamic extremist threat.