Friday, June 23, 2006

It’s The War Stupid

The war is a problem for the Democrats, not as big of a problem as it is for the Republicans, but a problem nonetheless, although listening to traditional media you would get the impression that the opposite is true. With the television pundits and columnists for the big papers all highlighting how “divided” the Democratic Party is, they are ignoring the fact that the Republicans in Congress have signed onto the Iraq occupation again, but this time with the full knowledge of what a disaster the policy is. What’s so great about unity if you’re unified behind a failed policy? I’d like to see the MSM explore that angle a little bit.

It is true that there is a battle raging within the Democratic Party, and thank goodness for that. This is a process that is long overdue and now that liberals have begun building an infrastructure with online communities, alternative online news outlets and blogs, grassroots organizations have a place to advertise their actions and promote their works and liberals have a place to express their opinions and organize for change. And the politicians are paying attention, they visit the blogs too, they want to read what is being written about them. Whether or not they will be influenced by what they read remains to be seen, but we’ve at least got their ear for now.

Candidates that have taken a position against the continuing occupation are doing well in the polls, even in states that are currently represented by Republicans. Sherrod Brown is now outpolling Mike DeWine in Ohio by 9 percentage points. Jon Tester is up at least 4 percentage points over Conrad Burns. Sheldon Whitehouse is running neck and neck with Lincoln Chaffee. Ned Lamont may very well beat Joe Lieberman in the primary. And these are just a few of the examples.

Now, Democrats that haven’t taken a stand against the Iraq occupation, like my own Senator, Maria Cantwell, will be in for a rocky ride. Cantwell is slipping in the polls and now only has a 4% cushion against Republican Mike McGavick. 9% of Democrats in Washington said they would vote for a third party candidate in the general election, that is a number that should concern Cantwell and other Democrats refusing to change course. Maria Cantwell has said she has “no regrets” about her vote that led to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. With everything that has happened since she cast that vote, that is a just plain stupid position to take and it will hurt her come November.

The people are firmly behind a withdrawal of our troops and our troops are ready to come home. There is no winning when it comes to the Iraq occupation, the Bush administration knows this, Republicans in Congress know this and the Democrats better figure it out. The GOP is content to use Iraq for political gain, they can’t back down know, they own this occupation and it’s all they have left to run on since their domestic policies stink even more. But Democrats aren’t as tied to the occupation, they have other options.

In order to stay the course, you have to chart one and the Bush administration doesn’t know where they’re going. George W. Bush is blinded by his quest for power and deaf to any advice that doesn’t come from within the echo chamber of his own making. Staying the course with him at the helm will only lead us further astray. Democrats still sticking with this occupation need to admit they made a mistake and get behind a plan for withdrawal. Choosing to stand with this White House on Iraq is a bad idea and Democrats should let the Republicans stand there alone.


Blogger Michael said...

Much of the Democratic establishment has a rather Lasswelian view of the the world.

I think the fight going on in the Democratic party isn’t so much left V. right or anti-war V. pro-war as it is Lasswelian V. whatever people like you and I are. Progressives? Free Thinkers? People that don’t need a pastor, pundit or pharmacist to tell us what’s what? What are we anyway? Anyway, this lack of need to be told what to do and where to fit in coupled with the rise of the internet and bloggers means members of the social and political elite can no longer act as a filter for ideas and info and that scares the bee-jesus out of some members of the social and political elite.

Shall we call it a fight between the rabble and elite?

Long live the rabble!

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Betty Cracker said...

Paul Begala wrote a hilarious and scathing guest blogger piece over at TPM Cafe. (I would link to it, but the site appears to be down at the moment.)

He made the argument that the Dems should celebrate the fact that they are at least debating Iraq debacle and, as you've suggested, relentlessly point out that the Repubs are united behind a policy that is manifestly a failure.

Sounds like a good strategy to me. I'm unsurprised that the MSM is highlighting the Dem's disunity. They love to latch on to some stupid narrative at the expense of the real story.

3:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Airing differences is a good thing.

Who can I support as an alternative to Maria (our senator and war proponent)?

10:34 AM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Anonymous--I am voting for Mark Wilson in the primary. He is great on the issues, consistent in his positions and his straight-talking style would make him a great candidate. As to what happens after the primary, I'm not fully committed to voting for Maria if she gets the nomination, but I can't discount the importance of the Democrats taking over the Senate.

There will likely be another Supreme Court nominee coming up soon and although I don't trust Cantwell to do all she can to keep a right wing nut off the bench, I do know that Mike McGavick would rubberstamp whatever kook the President put up. This is so important to me that I may still consider holding my nose and voting for Ms. Cantwell in the general. Ain't American democracy grand?

10:45 AM  
Blogger kronleo said...

Political Rants. I enjoy it. I love it. I live for it. Thoughts, rants and incisive wit about politics, politicians and the world in general, mmm enjoy it indeed.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Democrats need to sort out their differences, especially concerning Iraq, and start demonstrating solidarity, the way the right wingers do regularly.

We see it over and over. When Kerry was being swiftboated, most elected Democrats sat on their hands.When Feingold called for Bush's impeachment, most elected Democrats hid under their desks. What do you suppose this does for the next Democrat who's tempted to stand up and show some spine?

As for voting for Cantwell despite her support for staying the failed course, I heard a good one on the radio today, from Randi Rhodes (paraphrasing):

I'll take a conservative Democrat who's part of the majority over a conservative, rubberstamp Republican who's part of the majority, every time.

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

s.w. anderson, I understand that a conservative dem may be better than a rep rubber stamp; however, a spineful candidate would be far better. Don't you think?

I pleaded to Maria to speak out against the war. She didn't. We're where we are. I wan't to move away, in the right direction.

Given the choice between Maria and a reactionary, I'd be hard pressed. The dems need some serious principle cleaning.

Concerned but hopeful

9:10 PM  
Blogger Carl Sheeler For Senate said...

Sheldon Whitehouse has a primary and his numbers are not nearly as strong as reported. There are a dozen Democratic primaries in Providence ward seats with most having Latino challengers.

Citizen latinos and minorities account for 17% of the state population and are concentrated in the city and surrounding areas.

Sheldon does not poll well with minorities.

1:41 AM  
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