Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Pushing the Democrats on the War

I agree whole-heartedly with Adam's assessment below on the proper approach Democrats should take on ending the Iraq war. And I'm with Big Tent Democrat that the way to encourage Democrats to sieze this opportunity is to criticize them (and the liberal bloggers and pundits) who think that delay is necessary, and avoiding Republican smears adviseable:

I am a Centrist. And yet on Iraq, the voices joining me on the call to end the Iraq Debacle through the only viable way to do it, defunding, have been relatively few to my knowledge.

In this post, I warned of the Netroots forgetting the lessons learned from the intraparty battles on Iraq and other issues from 2003 to 2006:

Are we forgetting these lessons? I fear we are. The Netroots must not forget this fight, how we won it and how we must continue to win it in our Democratic Party.
Matt, to his credit, urges a reconsideration of what the Netroots has done of late:

I would hope that we change our behavior and hold our party accountable soon. The mechanism for doing so is criticism, and perhaps primary challenges against some prominent Democrats who are among the worst of our obstacles.
And here:

TPM Central interviews Tom Andrews on Iraq and the Dems:

The antiwar leader, Tom Andrews, the head of Win Without War . . . is warning that Congressional Dems are at risk of badly botching the public relations battle over Iraq and is urging Congressional Dems to move more aggressively to confront the Republicans in the political showdown over ending the war.

. . . "Democrats have to fight," Andrews tells us. "Where are the voices in Congress reflecting the majority view of the American people?". . . "The Republicans should be on their heels," Andrews says. "They have put the troops in these conditions -- and they're the ones on the offensive! There should be a relentless attack" from Dems, Andrews continues. "Dems in Congress should be talking relentlessly about the lack of equipment, the lack of training, the multiple deployments, every day. There should be a relentless demand for accountability."

While I think Andrews has to face the fact that defunding is the way to do it, I'm am with his sentiment.

And so are we. I've said it before, but I'll say it again and again and I'll keep on saying it until I see major liberl and progressive bloggers repeating it. Delay on Iraq is bad politics. A majority of Americans are tired of this war, and want the Democrats to come forward with some plan to end our involvement in it. They have asked Democrats to do this because they cannot trust Republicans to do it. But if the Democratic party thinks that the public will simply sit back and wait another year or so for the Party to take some real action on Iraq, they are in for a rude surprise. Their patience is not inexhaustable. After the surge fails, when there are no more excuses to be offered by the neo-cons and their apologists in the Republican Party for why we should stay, there will be even greater pressure on Republicans to pull their support of President Bush and start talking about timetables and benchmarks and funding restrictions, etc., other words, the exact same things that the Democrats are talking about. Publius, and others like him, think that avoiding the rush to de-fund the war (which they contend the Democrats cannot pull off anyway) will have the effect of boxing Republicans even further into a corner, because he thinks that more bad news in Iraq can only be good news for Democratic prospects. This is simply not true. Before November, the Democrats enjoyed the luxury of attacking Republicans on the war without having to offer any alternatives of their own because they were in the minority and couldn't take any real action to end the war anyway. That time is over. The American people now see the that the Democrats are in charge, and outside of the non-binding resolutions, have witnessed Democratic piddling around on when and how to end the war. Imagine such a perception another year from now, or in the fall of 2008, as the war rages on. People will see that the Democrats, when given over a year and a half to try and bring a close to the war, instead offered half-assed and ineffective plans and recoiled at unfounded smears that they are harming the troops. This is not a recipe for further electoral success. This is a recipe for disaster. It is a recipe for losing the impetus to end the war to Republicans who defect from Bush on the issue, and the next Republican presidential candidate, who may well stroll into the fall campaign with his own plan to end the war. And it is a recipe for getting more of our soldiers killed in Iraq. It is not a recipe for increasing Democratic majorities.

To the Democrats in Congress, only one thing can be said. End this war. Act to end it as if you wanted it over yesterday, even if you can't end it before the end of this year or next. That sort of fire is the only appropriate response to the great trust the American people put in you when they voted you into power in November, and only in this way can we save the lives of the countless more soldiers that will die in Iraq if this war is permitted to rage unabated until President Bush leaves office.

1 comment:

Nat-Wu said...

Not much I can add to that. Anyone can see that if the Dems dither around, they're going to squander the good will of the voters. The voters want a change. They don't care that the Dems don't have enough votes to end the war on their terms; if the Dems press for it and the Repubs oppose it, well, even if it doesn't happen for another two years, the Repubs will only be showing the public that they don't care what people want.

Being forceful and fighting for an end to the war is both morally right and politically right for the Dems. And if they can't see that, they're idiots.