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.