The Beltway: Oblivious To Its Irrelevance

Watching Meet the Press this morning, it becomes apparent that the Beltway types do not get it yet - on Iraq, what they say matter not one whit to what the American People think. The views on the Iraq Debacle are baked cake, but they still think they have something to say on the matter. The one exception, the astute Chuck Todd, the new political director for NBC (disclosure, I am friendly with Todd.) Watch as Chuck cuts through the Beltway nonsense:

MR. RUSSERT: Chuck Todd, where do we go? The president will say, “All right, you sent me your [Iraq funding] legislation, and I just vetoed it. Now what are you going to do? Are you going to give me money for the troops, or are you going to tell the American people you’re not going to support this war anymore?

MR. CHUCK TODD: Well, it’s interesting. What I don’t understand what the White House is doing is that every time Democrats propose something that allows them to potentially take co-ownership of the war, Bush actually stops them, and politically it actually puts the Democrats in an advantageous position because they can sit there and say, “Well, you know what, we’ve, we’ve tried to take some responsibility for this war. The president won’t do it. He’s vetoing this legislation. This is still Bush’s war. This is still a Republican war.” And that’s sort of the frustration that I’m sensing from some Republicans, not, not inside the White House, but on Capital Hill and on the campaign trail a little bit . . . In 2008 it’s going to be a real death knell for the Republican Party.

You think the Beltway understands this? They do not. Not even most Dems understand this.

Consider Senator Carl Levin (D-MI). Carl Levin is not a stupid man. Indeed, he is a very smart man. But there is something about the Beltway that makes smart men stupid. Consider his statements today on This Week:

Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, the Senate Armed Service Committee chairman, took issue with an effort by Majority Leader Harry Reid to cut off money for the war next year as a way to end U.S. involvement. "We're not going to vote to cut funding, period," Levin said. "But what we should do, and we're going to do, is continue to press this president to put some pressure on the Iraqi leaders to reach a political settlement."

Honestly, Jeralyn will get mad at me, but Levin was an idiot this morning. A stone cold Beltway Idiot. Here's what Carl Levin needs to do from now on - SHUT UP! You speak for none but yourself Levin, and Obama probably. The two of you need to just shut up.

Again, Chuck Todd is the guy who makes sense here:

MR. RUSSERT: But the Democratic base is demanding an alternative Democratic foreign policy? MR. TODD: Of course they are. And if they don’t—I mean this is the, this is the thing the Democrats have to do. It’s why Harry Reid is co-sponsoring this Russ Feingold bill, that it was the base of the Democratic Party that got energized in 2006 and got them control of Congress. Harry Reid knows it, and that’s why he’s allowing himself to, to move farther to the left on some foreign policy issues. It’s why Pelosi is going ahead and doing these things because they have to make sure they don’t just pay lip service to the left.

The Beltway Idiocy had infected many smart people - Levin and Obama seem to have gotten it the worst. Chuck Todd understands what is going on. And so does Harry Reid.

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    Even a slim majority (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by andgarden on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 06:24:46 PM EST
     on the Orange site agree with Levin.

    You know, on this issue, I wonder if we don't have Reid reading Byrd's script. I've been waiting to hear just what the latter plans to do about Iraq. Between Reid and Byrd, the whole enterprise could be shut down by the end of the year if they'd dig their heels in.

    Last I checked. . . (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by LarryInNYC on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 06:39:20 PM EST
    And that's sort of the frustration that I'm sensing from some Republicans, not, not inside the White House, but on Capital Hill and on the campaign trail a little bit . . . In 2008 it's going to be a real death knell for the Republican Party.

    You think the Beltway understands this? They do not. Not even most Dems understand this.

    Last I checked not only was Capital Hill located inside the Beltway but your friend Chuck, political directory for NBC, would be the personification of inside-the-beltway wisdom.

    To the extent that there's a divide on this issue it isn't an inside/outside the beltway divide.

    You don't get it then (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 08:20:19 PM EST
    Oblivious, irrelevant and feckless (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by fafnir on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 06:57:55 PM EST
    You are absolutely correct about Levin, BTD. Levin needs to STFU now!

    Not only does he repeat Rovian frames that weakens the Democrats' strongest option, "We're not going to vote to cut funding, period," he stupidly begs Bush to veto the bill so as to hasten the Democrats' capitulation of a meaningful timeline to end the occupation.

    After a veto, [Levin] said, "there's a number of options. Either we can keep the benchmarks part of the bill without saying that the troops must begin to come back." And if that doesn't work, "what we will leave will be benchmarks, for instance, which would require the president to certify to the American people if the Iraqis are meeting the benchmarks for political settlement, which they, the Iraqi leaders, have set for themselves."

    Unless Reid is jerking our chain, he needs to smack down Levin publicly to send a message that he's serious about getting out of Iraq.

    Democrats back away from Iraq troops withdrawal (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by dutchfox on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 07:38:30 PM EST
    Like you I am friendly with Chuck (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by teacherken on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 07:52:45 PM EST
    we tend to hang at the same Starbucks, shop in the same supermarket.  He has come to talk to my AP gov students.   And his wife, Kristen, was in charge of communication for the Webb for Senate campaign for which I did a lot of volunteering.

    That said, while I agree he is on point on this specific topic, I'm not sure he necessarily grasps all of the changes that are happening politically.  He is a bit more attuned than most talking heads, and he has paid attention to some of the changes welling from the ground up.  But given his various gigs (including on MS-NBC while he was still at Hotline) I think he still tends a bit too much toward the conventional groupthink of inside the Beltway.  Perhaps he will prove me wrong.  we'll see.

    How could he be engaging in groupthink (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by andgarden on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 07:58:56 PM EST
    when his opinion here is manifestly at odds with the establishment?

    on this topic perhaps not (none / 0) (#19)
    by teacherken on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 08:47:14 AM EST
    but on many other subjects recently I have seen little difference in his comments and those of most the other usual talking heads.

    it's interesting (none / 0) (#13)
    by fiver on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 09:15:26 PM EST
    up on the top of the dKos rec list sits a diary criticizing Chuck Todd of the same thing.

    Silly people (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 09:31:46 PM EST
    That diary is ridiculous.

    Chuck Todd (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Alien Abductee on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 04:07:37 AM EST
    should shut up too.

    every time Democrats propose something that allows them to potentially take co-ownership of the war, Bush actually stops them

    He should shut up before he gives Bush a clue.

    Bush is (none / 0) (#20)
    by Edger on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 06:54:35 PM EST
    not a very good catch.

    "Bush" (none / 0) (#21)
    by Alien Abductee on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 09:40:46 PM EST
    Meaning the pullers of the puppet strings behind the scenes.

    But you've got to admit that when the Puppet-in-Chief makes a Decision on his own it's generally a mighty good one.


    Well... (none / 0) (#22)
    by Edger on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 09:59:01 PM EST
    Did they fool themselves into thinking that because he was their handpicked choice that he should be able to make an unsupervised decision without f'ing it up completely?

    After all, not letting him would have meant that they had no faith in their own ability to make decisions, wouldn't it?

    Heh. I think it's the same problem their mentally challenged sycophants have, that I pointed out over here earlier today.

    What a bunch of congenital losers. Perle, Adelman, Frum, Muravchik et al blaming their problems on execution and their puppets. And they are puppets of... Exxon, Aramco, and who else. Take your pick. They Neo Culpa'd themselves.

    None of them can ever take responsibility for anything. They are the pass the buck party. Neo Culpa'd again.

    Wasn't Rove out of town? (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Alien Abductee on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 12:28:31 AM EST
    And Bush was panicking because DeLay had just been indicted?

    The poor neocons - it must be tough getting the chance to bring your long-nurtured dreams to reality and finding that what they really are is a complete unmitigated all round f*cking disaster.


    I imagine so. (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Edger on Tue Apr 10, 2007 at 07:43:07 AM EST
    Especially when they are utterly unable to accept that the failure is systemic and an integral failure of their philosophy and thought, and not simply a failure of execution. Denial. Denial of denial. And denial of that, too.

    Quoting Todd (1.00 / 1) (#11)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 08:56:06 PM EST
    Well, it's interesting. What I don't understand what the White House is doing is that every time Democrats propose something that allows them to potentially take co-ownership of the war, Bush actually stops them,

    Evidently Todd places everything in a political light, which is not unusual for an obviousl Left Wing Demo type.

    Bush doesn't want the Demos to take co-ownership, he wants help for the troops. When the Demos continually talk wihdrawal and place it in the fundung bill he understands that helps the terrorits and hurts the troops.

    In the world most of is live in, the troops should not be used as a political pawn to gain power.

    Wrong (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by andgarden on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 09:07:09 PM EST
    Bush is using fear of defunding troops as a tool to deflect attention away from his stubborness in persuing a failed policy. If the troops are defunded, his veto will be to blame.

    andgarden (1.00 / 1) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 08:03:47 AM EST
    According to the Left the policy was "failed" months before the war started. And its hatred of Bush predates even that.

    Because of that, its vested interest is in the US failing and Bush failing, not winning.


    jimaka, that's absurd, (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by notjonathon on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 03:21:10 AM EST
    After all this maladministration has done to break the armed forces of the US, you claim that the "left wing demos" are using the troops as a political pawn. After revelations of Halliburton and Blackwater corruption, utter failure of the government to understand the domestic political situation in Iraq, failure to supply the troops with adequate protection, sending troops back for third and fourth tours of duty, using uniformed soldiers as backdrops for political rallies, firing the best generals for telling the truth and trying to send maimed or seriously wounded soldiers back into combat, how can you still willfully suggest that the Resident has any concern for the troops?

    add your name to the list (1.00 / 1) (#18)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Apr 09, 2007 at 08:05:38 AM EST
    She my comment to andgarden, directly above.

    the problem is more than a century old. . . (none / 0) (#1)
    by the rainnn on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 06:20:02 PM EST
    there is a saying, in iraq:

    "a wet man is not
    frightened of the rain. . ."

    it conveys the sense that
    many iraqis are accustomed
    to numerous hardships -- in-
    cluding those occasioned by
    imposed, outside rulers -- going
    back well-beyond the beginning
    of the twentieth century
    . . .

    i suspect that most inside the
    beltway -- unfortunately, democrats
    largely included, here -- are truly
    ignorant of the british experience
    in iraq occupation from, call it 1914,
    to the 1920s -- the echoes are deafening. . .

    which is a long-winded-way of saying
    i agree with you, big tent democrat. . .

    A lot of Americans don't realise this... (none / 0) (#7)
    by dutchfox on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 07:55:39 PM EST
    history of British imperialism in the Persian Gulf; and here's some more information on Gertrude Bell -
    Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell (July 14, 1868 - July 12, 1926) was a British writer, traveler, political analyst,administrator in Arabia, and an archaeologist who found Mesopotamian ruins. She was awarded the Order of the British Empire.

    Bell and T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) are recognized as almost wholly responsible for creating the Hashimite dynasty in Jordan and the modern state of Iraq. During her life, she was an unrecognised force behind the success of the Arab revolt in World War I. At the conclusion of the war, she drew up borders within Mesopotamia to include the three Ottoman Empire vilayets which later became Iraq.

    Also see Wikipedia on T.E. Lawrence, and Sir Arnold Wilson.


    I'd like to believe differently, but I fear the (none / 0) (#10)
    by mentaldebris on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 08:51:49 PM EST
    Dems are going to cave. Obama and Levin let the cat out of the bag but I can't believe they stand alone.  As for using thug framing, Reid should rap their knuckles with a nice heavy ruler. Unbelievably damaging and incredibly stupid on their part. Good thing for Obama most ordinary voters don't pay close attention.

    Unless this is some kind of psych (towards what ends I can't imagine) the Democrats are trying to pull on on Bush and the GOP, I think the fix is in.

    It's becoming apparent to me that virtually no one in Washington on either side of the aisle has the desire or the courage to take a principled stand and end this mess. Wonder how the public is going to react when this becomes more obvious.

    Guess it will take massive riots in the streets (yeah, like that's going to happen) to get the pols to respond to the polls, because right now it appears most of them are not only stone deaf,  but they living on a different plane of reality.

    The Dems sharing this war with Bush by giving him what he wants is not a smart political move, but you already knew that, didn't you, BTD? ;)