What In The World Are Dems Thinking?

At the Huffington Post, Tom Edsall writes a post titled Frustration OverIraq Could Lead To Dem Primary Challenges. Here is the key line:

A House Democratic leadership aide told the Huffington Post, "We understand their frustration, but we need to elect more Democrats in order to affect real change on Iraq." Another top Democratic leadership aide said, "What in the world are they thinking? All this is going to do is increase the possibility of electing more Republicans. Instead of going after Democrats, they should be focusing their efforts on pressuring Republicans to break with the president.

(Emphasis supplied.) How idiotic are these people? Do they think all we care about is electing Democrats? Do they REALLY think we do not care about the issues? The Democrats won in 2006 because the American People want out of Iraq. They still do. The DEMOCRATIC Congress has failed the American people. Up to now.

They can redeem themselves still. End the Iraq Debacle. Set a date certain for the end of funding of the Iraq Debacle. We do not need more Democrats for that. We do not need any Republicans. We can count. We know that the Constitution gives the Spending Power to the Congress.


Now either these anonymous Dem aides are stupid and do not know that or think we are stupid. But the time is now. The issue is Iraq. And Dems better fight to end the Debacle. And here is a hint to these anonymous Dems. Saying you want to end the Debacle and then voting to fund continuing it fools no one. As Paul Krugman wrote, it is time to take a stand, long past time:

the public hates this war and wants to see it ended. Voters are exasperated with the Democrats, not because they think Congressional leaders are too liberal, but because they don’t see Congress doing anything to stop the war.

In light of all this, you have to wonder what Democrats, who according to The New York Times are considering a compromise that sets a “goal” for withdrawal rather than a timetable, are thinking. All such a compromise would accomplish would be to give Republicans who like to sound moderate — but who always vote with the Bush administration when it matters — political cover.

And six or seven months from now it will be the same thing all over again. Mr. Bush will stage another photo op at Camp Cupcake, the Marine nickname for the giant air base he never left on his recent visit to Iraq. The administration will move the goal posts again, and the military will come up with new ways to cook the books and claim success.

One thing is for sure: like 2004, 2008 will be a “khaki election” in which Republicans insist that a vote for the Democrats is a vote against the troops. The only question is whether they can also, once again, claim that the Democrats are flip-floppers who can’t make up their minds.
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    If the Republican minority (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 12:40:14 PM EST
    could kill the immigration "compromise," we sure as hell ought to be able to kill the war. The Democrats are just afraid of trying.

    The party elite (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Alien Abductee on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 01:09:18 PM EST
    really don't want to get out of Iraq.


    Naftali Bendavid, a journalist who spent months inside the DCCC operation and at Emanuel's side, reported a heated conversation between Dean, Emanuel and Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) regarding election strategies of the DCCC and the DNC... According to Bendavid, Emanuel said to Dean, "You're nowhere, Howard. Your field plan is not a field plan. That's f*cking bullsh*t ... I know your field plan - it doesn't exist. I've gone around the country with these races. I've seen your people. There is no plan, Howard."

        How Emanuel came to his decisions about which candidates to support against Democratic opponents is known only to Emanuel and his staff. Emanuel declined direct comment on this story. But an examination of individual races reveals a pattern of financial and political support for wealthy conservative candidates and an assault on their grassroots-supported opponents who were running on platforms that included a full withdrawal of US forces from Iraq...

    Emanuel, himself a congressman from the neighboring 5th District of Illinois, apparently tried to recruit six different candidates to run against Cegelis... Eventually, Emanuel found a candidate who lived just outside the district, Tammy Duckworth... Duckworth was not a proponent of a deadline for withdrawal from Iraq... Expedited withdrawal from Iraq was a main plank of the Cegelis campaign platform.

    It also details the pattern of interference in Florida's 13th District: Jan Schneider vs. Christine Jennings, California's 11th District: Jerry McNerney vs. Steve Filson, Florida's 16th District: David Lutrin vs. Tim Mahoney, all with withdrawal from Iraq the central issue.

    Open Left has been great on this today, here, here, here...

    These Dems ... (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by chemoelectric on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 02:20:27 PM EST
    ... both think we are stupid and, maybe more importantly, they think that we, the people, should accommodate them, and let them go about their business in a way that's comfortable to them.

    Dennis Hastert was a nearly unbeatably terrible House Speaker, but Nancy Pelosi is nearing the title of most failed Speaker of recent decades. You have to have potential to fail like that. But, and this was key, she expects that we should take her '100 hours' and go suck on it to soothe our fearsome anger. What a horrible joke. I won't be happy till I see Congress at 9 percent approval, and even then I won't be happy. I think I'll go read Inferno.

    Confusion (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by alexia on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 06:32:09 PM EST
    Perhaps the confusion about "only wanting to elect Democrats" comes from the Kos site, where that is indeed their stated objective.

    The sad truth is that there is no significant difference between the two parties.

    I hear Obama and HRC talking about keeping forces there in perpetuity, and I see reports that the military isn't meeting recruitment goals. The war czar has already introduced the concept of reinstituting the draft.

    Unless we manage to get a Kucinich or Gravel outsider-type candidate in, that's going to happen.

    2+2=4, and the Democrats have a pretty proven track record when it comes to drafts. I have no doubt that the Republicans will do it ASAP, but I don't trust the Dems not to either.

    Nobody seems to want to end this stupid war.  

    When does the already appropriated (none / 0) (#2)
    by Ben Masel on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 12:41:16 PM EST
    money run out? Would another Congressional vacation do the trick?

    DINO's should be extinct (none / 0) (#3)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 12:47:30 PM EST
    Don't let Lieberman run as a democrat - ever again.

    Don't let any apologist for the war run as a Democrat - ever again.

    Democrat In Name Only - placeholder for true Democrat.

    Party loyalty worked well in the Soviet Union - is that what you had in mind?

    End political prostitution now!

    Lottery for senator! Lottery for representative!

    End lawyers as the ruling class - forever.

    The Big Tent Dilemma (none / 0) (#14)
    by Demi Moaned on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 09:55:30 PM EST
    I think this gets to the heart of the whole 'Big Tent' approach. It's one area where (even at the netroots level) we are trying to differentiate ourselves from the Republicans who have become rather rigidly ideological.

    I think a better approach is for the party as a whole to take a decisive stand on the key issues of the day. If individuals within the caucus will not stand with the party on a particular issue, let them be seen to be 'showing their independence'. This will be much more effective than trying to base party policy on those few positions that attract near-unanimous support within the caucus.


    All of a sudden the leading Dems in (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 12:54:59 PM EST
    Congress are flapping their gums about working with the Republicans on Iraq issue. What happened when the Dems were in their home districts recently to cause this reaction, if it was a reaction. Powerful writing here, as usual. Thanks.

    can't we put pressure on progressive dems (none / 0) (#8)
    by spacerock on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 02:49:42 PM EST
    not to back down this time when it comes to putting forth any capitulation bills?  as i recall, the last time we went through this, the progressive caucus backed down and let the blue dogs win.  shouldn't we put pressure on them, in conjunction with moveon and other groups, and make them play hardball this time.    make the dem leaders choose sides and if they don't listen, stop the bills with whatever procedural options we have?

    maybe there aren't any real procedural moves other than filibuster but the progressive members are the ones who need to show some real backbone.  it's the only way our leaders might make the right choice now as opposed until after the 08 election.

    Jesus! What don't they get? (none / 0) (#9)
    by Edger on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 03:04:31 PM EST
    Maybe this will help clarify it for them?

    Few men or women elected in our history--whether executive or legislative, state or national--have been sent into office with a mandate more obvious, nor instructions more clear:

    Get us out of Iraq.

    It's time to...

    Get us out of Iraq.
    Get us out of Iraq.
    Get us out of Iraq.
    Get us out of Iraq.
    Get us out of Iraq.
    Get us out of Iraq.
    [repeat 1000 times]
    Get us out of Iraq.

    If you want to be re-elected next year... Get us out of Iraq.

    Is that clear enough? Now?

    The chances of Dems voting to not fund the war (none / 0) (#10)
    by kovie on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 04:12:37 PM EST
    past a certain deadline, under the present political circumstances--i.e. Repubs overwhelmingly holding firm in their support of the war, and a significant minority of Dems going along with them--is about the same as the chances of Repubs voting for impeachment in the house AND senate--i.e. next to nil, if not actually nil. So I'm not really sure why we persist in persuing EITHER approach, since they're both pretty much doom under current political circumstances.

    Appealing to, criticizing, pressuring, attacking, etc., Dems to stop funding the war is about as likely to make them do this as is persuing the same approach to make them impeach Bush and/or Cheney. It won't happen, and is a pointless and futile exercize in frustration that will just waste time and effort and get us nowhere--and cause much unnecessary rancor within the party that COULD hurt us in '08--a la '68. And I'm not sure why people persist in believing otherwise.

    The ONLY way to end the war as long as BushCo control the White House--just as the ONLY way to impeach BushCo--is by getting enough Repubs to break with BushCo. And the ONLY way to do that is by applying political pressure on them with respect to their reelection prospect in '08 (and perhaps '10).

    Go after the weakest Repubs on their stance on the war and the other horrible BushCo policies and make them choose between continuing to stand with BushCo and getting reelected. And as Chris Bowers wrote about recently, there are tons of such Repubs at this point. The more of them that we can get to break with BushCo, the more possible it be for Dems to do what they need to do (because it'll be increasingly politically easy for them to do it without fear of electoral repercussions, however sadly misplaced at present).

    Clearly, the "right" way to do this is for Dems to grow a spine and do the right thing. And just as clearly, they are NOT going to do this no matter how much we scream at them. So I say forget about the "right" approach and go for the smart and more promising one, however unsatisfying it might be--attack the Repubs, and make them break with BushCo. And do it in the only way that speaks to them, electorally. Make them sweat bullets in fear that if they continue to stand with BushCo, they will lose their seats (and they know that they will). Forced to choose between unity and survival, I've no doubt that many will break (and many of those who don't will lose their seats, a win-win either way).

    I'm not saying that we shouldn't go after the most unprincipled and shameful sellout Dems, such as Baird, or stop criticizing Dems who say all the right things but fail to DO all the right things. We should. No Dem who fails to do their job should escape our criticism--and in some cases much more than criticism, e.g. a primary challenge. But I do believe that the thrust of our attacks should be focused on Repubs, who are clearly politically vulnerable and far more liable to attempts to dislodge them from their present stances. Dems know that they almost certainly will increase their majorities in both houses and likely win the presidency in '08, so they have no real political reason to change. Repubs, though, are going to be fighting for their political lives, and should be far more promising targets for our attacks.

    Criticize the Dems, but attack the Repubs.

    I wonder (none / 0) (#11)
    by chemoelectric on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 04:21:26 PM EST
    Would BTD want to call up Randi Rhodes and ask to discuss de-funding with her on the air? She's one of the major forces out there who dismiss de-funding as political suicide, and what's more she is so certain of herself that she does it in a bullying fashion.

    De-funding needs more publicity.

    See Kos on Hillary Clinton. (none / 0) (#13)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:26:58 PM EST
    Hoping the tide is changing.


    date to leave (none / 0) (#15)
    by diogenes on Sat Sep 08, 2007 at 12:12:18 PM EST
    Maybe the Democratic Congress can start by passing a defund the war date of January 21, 2009.  They can work backwards from there later if they want.