Dem Prez Candidates On Iraq Are As Nixon on Vietnam in 68?

Atrios reports on his discussions on the Sam Seder Show today regarding Iraq and the 2008 race:

Just finished chatting with Ellen Ratner and Lawrence O'Donnell on Seder's show. O'Donnell's under the impression that a year from now the Republican candidate for president will be against the war, or at least talking about getting out of it. I disagree, as I don't think there's any way they can climb out of the rhetorical trap they've placed them selves in (surrender dates, defeatocrats, have to fight them there, etc...) given that George W. Bush won't provide them with an opening for that. O'Donnell's comparison point was Nixon in 1968 . .

I think Nixon in 1968 is an apt comparison, to the Democratic Presidential candidates. You see, I don't expect whomever is elected President to end the Iraq Debacle for many years after 2008. After all, who wants to run for reelection having "lost Iraq?"

Of course they are ridiculous to fear being labelled as having lost Iraq, but fear it they will. They all fear what the Beltway Gasbags will say.

You think I am wrong? Read this:

The trick for Democrats today is to navigate between the zeal of the hard left, which wants the United States out of Iraq now, and the general public, which also wants the United States out — but is also concerned about the consequences of a precipitous pullout. On the Republican side, the candidates must also navigate between being the president’s water carriers on the war and those, even among Republican voters, who are very concerned about the consequences of the present policy.

This is the way they talk in the Beltway. They endorse pulling a Nixon in 68:

In 1968, Nixon talked about his secret plan to end the war in Vietnam. However, instead of revealing details of what he intended to do, he only speculated as to what the outcome would be.

And of course being like Nixon in 68 will almost certainly lead to being like Nixon in 69, 70, 71, etc., regarding ending the war.

So many on the Democratic side say and think that the Iraq Debacle will be ended if a Democrat wins in 2008. I think they remain as naive about this as they were about the House Suppelemental.

So though I agree with Atrios on the GOP Presidential candidates, I also agree with O'Donnell that Nixon's 68 campaign is a warning to us all, to wit, the next President, Dem or Republican, will take many years to end the Iraq Debacle.

THIS Congress better end the war or it will be many years before any President, Republican or Democrat, does.

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    Secret plan anyone? (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by Maryb2004 on Sun May 20, 2007 at 07:06:38 PM EST
    But of course it might be instructive to remember how military operations in Southeast Asia finally did draw to an end - five years after the 1968 election.  

    The Paris Peace Treaty didn't cover the Cambodia bombings so, Congress had to (finally) exercise its powers and ... cut off funds.  

    Senator Eagleton offered an amendment to the continuing appropriations bill prohibiting the use of any funds for Cambodian combat operations. 8 119 Cong.Rec.S. 10128 (May 31, 1973); 119 Cong.Rec.H. 5268 ( June 25, 1973).  It passed.

    And, yes.  Nixon vetoed it.  

    Congress came right back at him with another bill and he backed down and signed it:

    'Notwithstanding any other provision of law, on or after August 15, 1973, no funds herein or heretofore appropriated may be obligated or expended to finance directly or indirectly combat activities by United States military forces in or over or from off the shores of North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia.'

    H.J.Res. 636, The Joint Resolution Continuing Appropriations for Fiscal Year 1974, Pub.L. 93-52,9 108, 87 Stat. 134

    Such a simple concept.

    So (none / 0) (#1)
    by Edger on Sun May 20, 2007 at 05:58:27 PM EST
    So many on the Democratic side say and think that the Iraq Debacle will be ended if a Democrat wins in 2008. I think they remain as naive about this as they were about the House Suppelemental.

    IOW, they think now that they thoroughly fu*ked up the chances they had to end it, and they don't know what to do now, except continue with their original fantasy of using the debacle to get themselves elected by promising to end it by not doing what they know will end it?


    I think you are right. (none / 0) (#2)
    by janinsanfran on Sun May 20, 2007 at 06:21:19 PM EST
    If the people let 'em, pretty much any "electable" Dem will hem and haw and allow the Iraq debacle to go on for years for fear of being labelled the "loser." By keeping the war going now, Bush's Republican enablers are playing for the future "stab in the back" scenario.

    Nixon 1968 (none / 0) (#3)
    by Lacy on Sun May 20, 2007 at 06:32:21 PM EST
    The Nixon "plan" to end the Vietnam War in the '68 election campaign turned out to be a scheme to ever so slowly bring some troops home while changing to a strategy of massive bombing campaigns. Unlike Democrats and Iraq today, Nixon had no intention or desire to end it. He did not oppose "Vietnam".

    So his "plan" was a scam. And for the years until Nixon resigned, the continuing lie he offered for why we still had so many troops in Vietnam was that they had to be there to protect the "withdrawal".

    The correct comparison of Nixon and Vietnam to the current Iraq mess is that Nixon, like GWB, lied and deceived to get what he wanted, and seriously damaged his country in the process.


    1968 has seemed an obvious comparison (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Sun May 20, 2007 at 06:36:16 PM EST
    for a while. A few points: 1) as I read my history, HHH didn't break with Johnson on Vietnam until the last minute; and 2) The most obvious candidate to stand in for Nixon is Al Gore.

    Possible, but not inevitable (none / 0) (#5)
    by Molly Bloom on Sun May 20, 2007 at 06:53:22 PM EST
    And of course being like Nixon in 68 will almost certainly lead to being like Nixon in 69, 70, 71, etc., regarding ending the war.

    Its possible, but not inevitable. Nixon was possibly the most deceitful of all Presidents unti GWB. I don't see any of the Democratic candidates on his level in that area. It remains to be seen. I am too old to be optimistic, but I am not going to be pessimistic just yet.

    Nixon, 1972, still in Vietnam and (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Sun May 20, 2007 at 07:36:55 PM EST
    McGovern is swamped.  

    Funnily enough (none / 0) (#8)
    by Alien Abductee on Sun May 20, 2007 at 07:55:48 PM EST
    at FR (sorry, no link) they're discussing the opinion piece in your next post about bringing the troops home, and it's the old Dolchstoss that pops up:

    Now that a backlash is beginning they will cry even louder and try to force as they did in Vietnam that we leave and snatch defeat from the grasp of victory while millions suffer and die for the cowardice of a few.

    Do not forget that the South Vietnamese were holding their own after most of our troops left but it was the Democrats in Congress who in a show of political power essentially defunded the aid to our allies and it was only after that that Vietnam fell and millions of those we had pledged to protect were left to the communists. The Democratic party should be tarred with Vietnam, the real story should be their scarlet letter but instead they use it as a rallying cry to call America again to defeat.

    I think you're right - no matter what they say now, any Dem president will feel constrained to try to find "victory" just like Bush is. They'll do just about anything to avoid being left holding the Iraq hot potato and hearing that kind of crap from Republicans for another three decades.

    "dems like Nixon" (none / 0) (#9)
    by diogenes on Sun May 20, 2007 at 08:03:37 PM EST
    1.Nixon BARELY beat the candidate of the discredited war party even with riots going on in the streets.
    2.  Maybe the dem candidates also remember that Nixon WON!!!