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November 04, 2005

Comments

"Weak, weaker..." sounds like someone, to paraphrase the Governor of CA, is becoming a "little girlie president." You're absolutely right about the Democrats, but the fact that first Feingold and more recently Gephardt, Kerry and Feinstein have publicly expressed a new position on the case for war in Iraq offers some hope for the Dems as a whole. (How much is still an open question). The longer Fitzgerald can work, the easier it will be to use the Libby trial or potentially fresh indictments as cover for a change of position.

The Dems need to do their own work, not wait for Fitzgerald to do it for them. He said as much in saying what he would NOT be looking at. Reid and Pelosi have made a good start, and just need to keep at it.

The Dems do seem to be slowly crafing a position on Iraq, and kudos to DiFi, someone normally way too conservative for my tastes, to begin making honesty on the issue respectable.

This month or early next year the Dems need to roll out their message of what we would do if given the chance to govern--increasing opportunity through more accessible and better education, focusing on science; serious health care reform that helps patients find care, and lets doctors be doctors and businesses be businesses; fair taxation in which every segment pays a fair share of the costs of government; a stronger safety net now and for the retirement years; reality-based security at home and abroad. A simple message, really.

I really like the DCCC "Had enough?" campaign. That should begin blanketing the purple and light red states next year.

And just as a politician conveys strength by being strong, s/he conveys integrity by being honest, direct and really believing in what s/he says. There's no other way.

from first read on Daschle:

We mentioned yesterday that former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, who's thinking about running for president in 2008, gave a speech at Northwestern University on Wednesday in which he said he was misled by the Administration about WMD. Daschle advisor Steve Hildebrand tells First Read that Daschle will repeat that sentiment in his speech in Iowa tomorrow night. Here's what Daschle actually said: "I wish I could share with you the misleading information I personally was provided in September and October of 2002. That is one of the most important components of the wise and trustworthy use of our military power. It needs to include getting the politics and ideology out of the intelligence business..." As for his vote for the war, Daschle said, "The truth is we can never turn back the clock - you can’t turn back the hands of time, but I live with the decision I made."

So, former Senator Daschle "can live with the decision he made" to go to war. What about the thousands and thousands who did not live because of the decisions he and his peers made? Just go away, please.

from VOA:

Tens of thousands of people have gathered in the Argentine city of Plata del Mar to protest President Bush's war on Iraq and international economic policies.

Sally S, if Dem's quote is acurate, then TD did not say "I can live with," just "I live with." They mean two different things. "I can live with" something means one has no regrets. "I live with" something means one is stuck with it--it expresses regret without actually using that word (regret). Should he use that word? I think so, yes. An increasing number of Americans regret supporting the war in Iraq, including significant numbers who voted for Bush. What were the poll numbers on the eve of the war?

I supported using threats of force to get Saddam to cooperate with the UN inspectors, including massing troops in Kuwait. It seemed to be working. But I never supported actual war in Iraq. Not for moral reasons. But rather because it seemed clear that it was a bad idea, just as it was in 1991. I blame people like Thomas Friedman (the NYT columnist) and Oprah, who had him on her show spouting his "we will make history if we do it right" spreading-democracy bullshit. I never beleived that the Bush administration could do it right, but a lot of well-meaning people were fooled into believing they could.

For what it's worth, I don't think the "flip-flopper" attack Bush used against Kerry would work today. A lot of people are discovering what it means to flip-flop these days!

rasmus: I see your point but every "Daschle" should say it straight out: "I deeply regret the deadly decision I made and I now have to try to live with it." Unlike you, I never thought we should invade Iraq and took a lot of abuse for saying so. The evidence was against it on all fronts. I blame everyone who did not take the time to educate themselves on the facts but that is of no help to those who have had to fight the war and to those Iraqis who have been caught in the cross-fire. Isn't it easy to cheer on the volunteer military to do their patriotic duty? Little did these volunteers know or think a Commander-in-Chief would send them to war based on lies or that the American people would let him get away it once the truth was known--and it is known but not convenient to admit. Our flag should be flying at half mast for the death of so many principles we once had and for which so many share the blame.

While I agree that some general themes need to be introduced by the Democratic party leadership right now (and I see signs of that happening), it's way, *way* too early to give the Republicans something specific to attack. Contract for America didn't get rolled out until right before the election. That was smart politics.

Let them gripe about agendas all they want. It's boring, and people will tune out. Face it, they're the ones going down in flames. That gets everyone's attention.

Sally S,

You can make your points without distorting what the other side has said. Just like Daschle never said he "can live" with his decision, I never said I supported the invasion of Iraq. I thought that the only way UN inspections could work was if they were backed up by a credible threat of force if Iraq did not comply. If you think I supported the war, then you think Hans Blix supported it.

The politics of distorting what the other side says is what got us into this mess in the first place--both the 2000 and 2004 elections hinged on it.

Hmmmmm. Taunts from Venezuela's president? That recalls another Nixon event having little to do with his low poll ratings, his vice presidential trip to Latin America in 1958.

It was an extensive trip, begun so Tricky could attend the inauguration of Arturo Frondizi, the ardent foe of Peron, who was later to grant concessions to American oil companies, which didn't help his popularity and did nothing to stave off renewed interest by the military in running the government.

Nixon ended his Latin American trip with a stop-off in Venezuela, where he and his motorcade were booed and spat upon so much that the windshield Cadillac limo Dick and Pat rode in was a white smear when they arrived after much difficulty at the embassy.

Among the issues that led to the attack on Nixon: the Eisenhower administration had praised the brutal dictator, Marcos Perez Jimenez, a general to whom the Pentagon awarded the U.S. Legion of Merit and there were concerns over American oil companies. Some things never change.

On New Year's Day, 1958, Venezuelans overthrew Perez, and he and his security chief were given refuge in the United States. When the mobs assaulted the HQ of the security forces, they found a letter from the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, who had worked in Venezuela, telling the head of the security forces to "keep up the good work."

According to diplomat Russ Olson, whose foreign policy lectures I attended in the late 1960s, before the coup, security police had fired through a school fence at children who were chanting, "Down with the dictatorship." The American Ambassador was at this time telling Venezuelans they were lucky to be living in a democracy.

No wonder that Nixon's May visit was met with such anger.

But, unlike what Bush is likely to get on his return from south of the border, Nixon was feted for his bravery when he came back to Washington.

Also, as a political point, most soldiers supported the war for the same reasons most Americans did. They don't want your pity.

Bush and Cheney are getting asses handed to them because they lied to the American people (which includes our soldiers) about what? About whether or not the UN inspections were working. WE know now that they were. THEY knew then, but they wanted to invade Iraq so Bush could be the great liberator, the War President, the genius of our age--that is, so he could get re-elected.

PS: I'll admit that Cheney probably believes the hawkish ideology of spreading democracy by force, but I don't think Bush cares--he just wanted to get re-elected so he wouldn't be a one-termer like his father. It's ironic and tragic that he sacrificed his father's greatest legacy (the decision to not invade Iraq in 1991) in order to achieve his goal.

The above should read "... getting their asses handed to them ..."

Sorry!

Also note the disturbing review of the movie Jarhead today by Stephanie Zacharek in Salon.

The book is a brilliant work, but the movie apparently is not. This is deeply unfortunate. Jarheads deserve better.

Rasmus: I apologize for distorting your remark and should not have included, "Unlike you...." After my post, I realized my major misstatement. Thank you for setting the record straight.

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