Democrats Party Like It's 2002

There is something missing from Rahm Emanuel's discussion on Meet the Press about the Democratic agenda: One, we make college education as universal for the 21st century that a high school education was in the 20th.

Second, we get a summit on the budget to deal with the $3 trillion of debt that's been added up in five years and structural deficits of $400 billion a year.

Third, an energy policy that says in 10 years, we cut our dependence on foreign oil in half and make this a hybrid economy.

Four, we create an institute on science and technology that builds for America like, the National Institutes has done for health care, we maintain our edge.

Five, we have a universal health-care system over the next 10 years where if you work, you have health care. That says fiscal discipline and investing in the American people by reputting people first. The policies that the Republicans have offered have gotten us in the ditch we have today.

Hmmm. The word "Iraq" doesn't appear anywhere in the Democratic agenda. This is interesting since, major occasional news events not withstanding, Iraq has consistently been the number one issue for Americans for over one year now (scroll to the bottom of the link), and among the top two or three issues for three years.

Well, okay. Let's see if Emanuel mentioned Iraq when it comes to the differences between Democrats and Republicans:

An Auction House, Not the People's House

Congressman Emanuel on the differences between Democrats & Republicans:

[O]ver the last five years, we've added $3 trillion to the nation's debt, health-care costs have gone up for middle-class families, uninsured have gone up and poverty's gone up. That's the failed policies of [the Republican] party. Now, I've offered an agenda and I asked you--I started with political reform. Join Democrats in literally changing the culture of corruption that exists here, that affects all the institutions of the people's House. You know what's happened? When you look at the energy bill, you look at the prescription drug bill, the Congress has gone from the people's House to the auction house.

Again, no mention of Iraq. This is despite the fact that recent polling has repeatedly shown that the number one difference between rank and file Democrats and rank and file Republicans is, in general, differing views on national security policy and the use of military force and, in particular, the decision to go to war in Iraq. This is despite the fact that back in May, during the first vote on withdrawal in the House, Republicans voted 98% against and over 60% of Democrats voted in favor. And that was in May.

So, it would appear that the DCCC wants to sweep the number one issue that separates Democrats from Republicans under the rug. This issue also happens to be the number one issue in the country. And oh yeah--it is an issue on which the majority Democratic position has overwhelming national support, including a near majority among Republicans.

. But hey, let's not run on said issue. In fact, let's not even mention it. Let's take it off the table, because that worked really well in 2002. Let's brag, like Schumer did in 2002, that Bush was winking at us during his speech when he was stating his case for war--a war which DSCC head Schumer voted for--rather than arguing that said speech and said war was based upon lies. Let's not talk about Iraq, because we are Democrats, and we don't want to win, and we don't want to address the important issues of the day, and we don't have the guts to stand up and support what the vast majority of our caucus, our rank-and-file, and our entire nation supports.

If Iraq isn't on the Democratic agenda in 2006, we will lose. A party will never sweep to power if it holds the same minority position on the most important issue of the day as the current governing party. I am starting to wonder if Democrats in D.C. have the ability to grasp this, or if they even care.

Tags: Democrats (all tags)



AIPACs war
Dems won't mention Iraq because most of them, especially Schumer, are beholden to AIPAC.  It's not what Americans want, it's what the Israeli Right and their strongholds here in the US want.  This is their war, it always has been.  

Pat Buchanan said it best on the McLaughlin Group when they were discussing the Gaza pullout and how US taxpayers are basically paying the settlers to leave instead of Israel.  Joe asked the roundtable if the US gov't would pay.  Pat's response, "We'll roll over every time."

Really something kinda fucked up when I find myself agreeing with Pat Buchanan of all people.  

Crazy world we live in.

Oh, so no, no Democrat would criticize the Iraq war unless they don't care about losing AIPAC support.

by dayspring 2005-10-04 11:28AM | 0 recs
Sad but true
And before somebody brings this isn't anti-semitism to mention this-it's anti-Israelism, which is quite different.

I wonder if AIPAC supports Russ Feingold.

by Geotpf 2005-10-04 12:21PM | 0 recs
Re: AIPACs war
What's your basis for saying this?  Yeah, I understand that AIPAC supports the war.  So what.  So do numerous conservative christian ministers.  Why not say that Schumer and the rest are beholden to the Christain right and thats why they support the Iraq War.  Other then Buchannon, what is your source that Democrats' position on this is being driven by AIPAC?  I have opposed the Iraq invasion/occupation from the beginning and I agree with Chris' post about the political stupidity of supporting an open-ended committment to the occupation.  But everyone who disagrees with us does not have sinister motives.  
by Andy Katz 2005-10-04 12:24PM | 0 recs
Re: AIPACs war
I think that Iraq is still the Elephant in the Room.  Dems are still,scared of being painted as traitors or wimps so they won;t touch the issue, even though there is now near universal opinion among non-con foreign policy experts that we are doing more harm than good and don't have any way to make things better.

Dems haven't figured out that you look strong by being strong. Taking a clearly articulated position and standing up for it whether againt Bush or even further lefties or AIPAC.  they are still caught in the world of image and spin.

by Mimikatz 2005-10-04 12:37PM | 0 recs
Re: AIPACs war
Dems haven't figured out that you look strong by being strong.

I have said this over and over again.  It is so simple, yet our party completely fails to grasp this basic point.  There is no "magic bullet" to being perceived as being strong.  There is no one position or a series of positions that will establish this.  YOU LOOK STRONG BY BEING STRONG.  And this is not accomplished by tying yourself in contortions so you dont take a positon on the single most important issue before the electorate.  

Simply put, and I hate to say it, but Democrats seem to be weak before the electorate because our leaders are weak.

by Andy Katz 2005-10-04 12:49PM | 0 recs
Weak Leaders
I saw the interview and didn't have any idea before that Rahm was so unimpressive. He certainly has the intellect but seems to cut from the same old democratic cloth. I would be surprised if he wins reelection.

Besides his delivery and performance in hand to hand combat. There truly were no ideas. Nothing but 'what about the poor people'...'what about the poor people'. This isn't just the party of the poor people. What about Universal Health Care and selling it, as it should be, as a business relief act. How can our businesses compete against European businesses that DO NOT have to pay for health care for employees. Its like a large tax on American Businesses.

by tchoup 2005-10-04 01:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Weak Leaders
I wholeheartedly agree with this.  People wont trust you to be tough to stand and defend them if you aren't tough enough to stand and defend yourself.

What's galling is how simple it is.  Are Dems in DC really that clueless?

by dayspring 2005-10-04 02:27PM | 0 recs
Kind of like how this blog doesnt mention Miers
The party is disintegrating fast. Its becoming readily apparent that Reid must have cut a deal with the president and the GOP just to keep the nuclear option off the table. How else would you keep from scrutinizing bush's personal lawyer as a supreme court justice?

Big business drives parties now, not people. Big business cares about other things than Iraq because all the contracts have been awarded. Anyone see anything about Hurricane katrina. Pork. K street.

The end point of this ride comes back to yourself, and what you can do for others. To your faith.

by turnerbroadcasting 2005-10-04 11:29AM | 0 recs
Great post ...
Never has a criticism of Emmanuel been so accurate
by marsblog 2005-10-04 11:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Great post ...
What exactly does everyone expect to see happen if we withdrew today? Are the Iraqs going to give us roses on our way out?
by crazymoloch 2005-10-04 11:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Great post ...
I don't care what your plan is if your a Democrat -- even if it is stay for a while -- we should be offering an alternative on Iraq.
by marsblog 2005-10-04 12:09PM | 0 recs
Democrats have botched it on Iraq
Democrats have botched it on Iraq.  That is clear.  I am sure you will see a lot of new positions come 2006.   That being said, incumbant Democrats will only get one shot to reposition before Nov. '06 and they will take enough grief over that.   I think it is wise to wait as long as possible before changing their position on Iraq (as I am sure many will do) so not to get caught by changing realities in Iraq.
by dpANDREWS 2005-10-04 11:39AM | 0 recs
I'll say it again...
...the Dems better start talking about withdrawal before the Republicans do.  They don't want this war, I'd wager, and why wouldn't claim victory and plan for a pullout if it helps them win/hold seats in 2006?  They want to maintain power, after all.

When Reps seize the initiative, the Dems will be left sputtering that they really supported withdrawal all along but were afraid to say it. That won't look good on a bumper sticker.

by danielj 2005-10-04 11:41AM | 0 recs
Re: I'll say it again...
Paul Hackett has one of the best positions going on the war, and I do fear it is close to the one Bush will employ come spring.   Declare victory, thank the troops, and cut and run.  I agree 100% we have to beat Bush to it.
by dpANDREWS 2005-10-04 12:03PM | 0 recs
Re: I'll say it again...

>Paul Hackett has one of the best positions going on the war, and I do fear it is close to the one Bush will employ come spring.   Declare victory, thank the troops, and cut and run.  I agree 100% we have to beat Bush to it.<

I don't quite see why it is so important for the party to "beat" the president to the position that it is time to leave.  It seems to me that just gives the Republicans a chance to reframe the Republican defeat in Iraq as a Democratic retreat.  What is the hurry?  Where are us anti-war Deaniac Democrats going to go?

And since '06 is an off year and the focus will be on particular House and Senate seats why is there a need for a some sort of nationwide Democratic "platform" about the war?

Suppose that between now and the '06 elections things blow wide open in Iraq and we have to pull out fast.  Why should the Democrats be in a position to let the Republicans blame them for having undermined the war and stabbed the troops in the back?  What does the Democratic Party  gain by that? And how much would it really help the Republicans to beat the Democratic party leaders to the draw in declaring a defeat in Iraq?

Howard Dean is going to be on Chris Mathews tonight and we should all listen to how he deals with this question. We have to grant that he has anti-war credentials and  I think he has the right line.  Bill Clinton said much the same thing the other day: he didn't think Iraq was a good idea but Bush got us in and it is his job to get us out. These are decisions only a sitting president is in a position to make. I think that needs to be the line for a while yet.

Sometimes the hardest thing for an army to do is to hold its fire until the right moment, but I think that is what is called for right now.  It is too soon for the opposition party to attack the conduct of a war that many Americans think is not yet lost.

by Fred in Vermont 2005-10-05 04:44AM | 0 recs
Thanks for the comments Fred
Most post was overly simple, of course.   I certainly wouldn't use the term "cut and run."   However, I do think Democrats would be well served to develop a plan.    A plan that involved a time table for withdrawl.

I advocate claiming victory (point to their elected gov. and constitution), heap praise on our troops, and then call for phased withdrawl over 12 or 18 months.   We can even use Bush's example of Iraqi troop strength.   If they have 80 battalians, or whatever, then surely some of troops can stand down.

by dpANDREWS 2005-10-05 10:49AM | 0 recs
Can You Say President Hagel?
That sinking feeling is the "netroots" realizing that once again the Beltway Dems are going to get outfoxed. Already Chuck Hagel is talking about an "independent" run for the White House and even if he doesn't...the withdrawal faction of the GOP in Congress functions as an effective "rump parliament" to deny the Democrats from taking back any branch of government for a while.

Still don't expect Iraq to be in the major card strategy for Dems or Republicans. The GOP wants next year to be a low turnout, boring affair to "hold down the fort" until the end of Bush's Administration. It's true that by the numbers the Democrats have little chance to suddenly overtake them, but if they do not set an agenda this term...the 2008 one will look even more opportunistic and artificial and be easily compromised by the Republican standard bearer.

by risenmessiah 2005-10-04 03:16PM | 0 recs
A Matter of Timing
I agree that Iraq is a horrible frustrating mess and will be a huge issue in 06.  However, I feel that the Democrat leadership is pursuing the right course in having an ambiguous stance at this point in the cycle.  There is no good outcome possible in Iraq at this point, civil war has begun, we have lost and the big winner is Iran.  Of the three generally accepted courses of action for the US, "stay the course", "increase the troop numbers" or start to "pull out", all have significant negative policy consequences.

Not having a clear position at this point leaves Democrats in a better position in 06 politically.  First, what ever position we take now will not mean anything for policy anyway. Second, it leaves open the possibility to attack the Republicans from the right when things really go off the rails next year.  In addition by not commenting now Bush owns it.  At this point the only comment should be that this is Bush's creation and so are all of the negative consequences.

Democrats should choose the line of attack in August of 06 not now.  

by CalvinR 2005-10-04 11:49AM | 0 recs
Re: A Matter of Timing
I don't agree.  All we're doing then is allowing the Reps to choose the turf they want to fight on.  We're left reacting to them, and more to the point, we look like overpolled policy fudgers who don't have the spine to say what we think.  That's probably more devastating than being wrong.

It's more than just having a position for the sake of one, though.  The presence of US troops is part of the problem, now.  They're viewed as enemy occupiers.  The war has created a huge vacuum in Iraq, and it's not at all clear to me how keeping US troops there helps to fill it.  Which side, exactly, are we supposed to take in a civil war?

It seems like the logic for keeping troops there is a sunk cost argument.  "We screwed it up so we need to stay."  But it's already screwed up.  The question now facing us is what is gained by our staying there, and I don't see a positive answer to that question.

by danielj 2005-10-04 12:06PM | 0 recs
Re: A Matter of Timing
I don't know about you but I would love to see a bunch of Republican heads explode when a Democrat stands up in 06 and makes the case that pulling out of Iraq made the US look weak to our enemies and gave Iraq to Iran.
by CalvinR 2005-10-04 01:59PM | 0 recs
Re: A Matter of Timing
Agree and disagree on this; it definitely is a matter of timing.

First, it's NOT the Democrats who hold the majority at this moment; we are NOT going to get a proposal onto the floor of the House or Senate if we had a fully developed plan.  We need to make it very clear this lack of access is an impediment; Pelosi said this much in a recent NPR interview, that Dems don't have access.  Now is the time to make the case that we need the access.

Secondly, we don't have access elsewhere.  Effective solutions will probably include either UN Peacekeepers or NATO forces in the interim, to help with the transition.  Dems do not have access to these resources for the purposes of building relationships for a successful proposal.  Ditto above -- make the case for access.

Thirdly, the right is imploding.  Certainly a number of centrist and likely swing-voters are casting about right now for new leadership and a new home.  They aren't going anywhere soon -- there's nowhere to go.  Don't rush this.

Fourthly...can you say "unindicted co-conspirator(s)"?  Good!  I knew you could.  If it comes to pass that some of the architects at the top are charged with conspiracy and possibly treason, and that the treason stems from outright fabrications for the war, we will have the access we need without a majority in hand.  Give this through October.  And pull out all your archives on Nixon...

In the mean time, while we wait patiently and reject the bait the Repubs lay out for us, we talk amongst ourselves quiet and prepare scenarios on Iraq policy, perform due diligence, vet candidates with constructive ideas.  And we keep it in the family until the end of the month, because timing is definitely everything.

by RayneToday 2005-10-05 04:47AM | 0 recs
The Party About Nothing
The 2002 analogy is spot-on. That was the Election About Nothing and we all saw what a success that was.
by Mister Go 2005-10-04 12:12PM | 0 recs
So DLC. . .So Disheartening
In addition to Chris' criticisms of Emmanuel's "program," which I agree with, I also hate the fact that the whole thing is so "DLC," so "Clintonian," so super focused grouped to make sure that we dont piss any voter off that the only thing it makes clear is that we are stil a party that doesnt stand for anything.  

Look, everything on the "agenda" is "fine," we do need to spend more on high technology and science, have a renewable energy policy, etc etc, but all this sounds like it is targeted to well off suburbanites from Oregon.

Put another way, what is in these proposals that will really rally people to our side?  Somehow I just dont see the great mass of humanity rallying around the political pledge to "create an institute of science and technology"  or "get a summit on the budget." What in this package is going to appeal to a person making 35k a year and has some health care?  Or a person living in poverty that is on medicaid?

Wages have been stuck on a 24 year pause and we have nothing to say about that?

Health Care costs are going through the roof, much more of a problem to average americans then total lack of coverage, and we have nothing to say about that?

Unregulated free trade is draining the economy dry and we have nothing to say about fair trade?

The conscience of the whole country has been pricked regarding poverty and the underclass, and we have nothing to say about that?

Folks, we are going to "win" on 2006 even with this message.  Bush has messed things up so bad that we are going to win seats almost no matter what we do.  But the level of the win is at stake.  The difference between picking up a few seats and getting control of Congress is at stake. Most importantly, the ideological makeup of the American people is at stake.  Bush's profound mismanagement has opened the door for a complete realignment, BUT THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN IF WE RUN AS A PARTY TERRIFIED OF ITS OWN BELIEFS, TERRIFIED OF TAKING ANY STANDS ON ANY ISSUES, AND TERRIFIED OF TAKING THE PROPER STEPS TO INSURE OUR DEFENSE (WHICH IS WHAT WITHDRAWAL FROM IRAQ IS).

The Republicans eternal advantage is that they are led by politicians with guts that are better at their job then the movement that they lead deserves and our eternal disadvantage is that we are led by scared children who are worse politically then what we deserve.

by Andy Katz 2005-10-04 12:44PM | 0 recs
How well we do will be...
measured in many ways by how the GOP comes out of the DeLay mess.

I went to the House Web site today to do some research, and discovered an interesting deal--the Majority Leader is still identified as DeLay.

Hmmmmm. Hubris anyone, sure pissed me off. Wrote about it:

...If DeLay was starring in a movie they'd call him Jason Kruger-Lechter. You can't beat this guy with a hammer. He's other worldly. He's the face that comes around when Linda Blair's head does the 360 in the Exorcist. He is the energy that keeps hair and fingernails growing after we die. As the great 20th Century philosopher Mojo Nixon might say, "DeLay is the anti-Elvis."

"Second Verse, Same as the First"

by The Muse 2005-10-04 02:14PM | 0 recs
And still no environment
(even here at MyDD, by a quick scan of the above comments)

Yes, I agree that Iraq needs to be showcased, or at least not buried.  But let's also start investigating the Bush environmental "record."  More arsenic in drinking water, gutted clean air act, in the process of gutting endangered species and critical habitat protection, etc.  Mainstream Republicans care about this stuff and, with anger about Iraq and softening support to Bush, this can help convince them we are better.

By the way, more info on critical habitat myths and facts from Center for Biological Diversity here:
Only two pages.  This is in response to bull that the Rs have been spreading to help push through the House revision of ESA.

by The lurking ecologist 2005-10-04 03:07PM | 0 recs
Whatever ...
elections aren't won or less on ANY issue, Iraq or anything else. The whole thing is just an exercise in making people think you have lots of good plans, which is what political parties DO 13 months out from an election. If we win the 2006 elections, it will be because of basic character issues such as rampant corruption, free spending, lying, and not being "for the average American." That's all there is to it. It is NOT!!!!!!! a question of what issue to run on or not run on.
by ColoDem 2005-10-04 03:37PM | 0 recs
The Curse of McGovern
If you want Democrats to call for a pullout from Iraq, you have to tell them how they are going to avoid the curse of McGovern.

When McGovern ran in 1972, the vast majority of Americans wanted us out of Vietnam.  McGovern ran on that platform.  Democratic activists forced the party nominee to take the position.  And after all, it's what most Americans wanted.

As a result, for the last 30 years Democrats have been viewed as "weak on defense."

How can Democrats call for pulling out without being branded as weak?  Even Clark wouldn't be insulated from that.  Remember, McGovern was a decorated fighter pilot from WW II.

by bluebuoy 2005-10-04 04:15PM | 0 recs
Re: The Curse of McGovern
I wrote alot about this in an exchange with Jerome.  In summary, I think an accurrate review of the facts would show:

(1) McGovern did not lose the election because he advocated immediate withdrawal.  Polling by his pollster, Pat Caddell, showed this.

(2) Democrats did not get a repuation for being weak because of McGovern.  This reputation is a "brand" that we have acquired over a 30 year period. . . McGovern, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton and Kerry were all viewed as "weak."  And rightly so.  Except for possibly Mondale, all these people were weak individuals in general and weak on foreign policy in particular.

As I wrote above, I think the key to being perceived as being strong is actually to be strong.  But this does not depend on any issue position.  For example, Lieberman supported the war, but he was and is clearly a weak person.  Dean opposed the war but he comes across as being fairly strong (and I say this as someone who was never a Deniac).  Democrats will gain a perception of strength when we develop a coherent, aggressive foreign and defense policy and stick to it.  Our image does not depend on supporting a war that is hurting our national security.

by Andy Katz 2005-10-04 04:45PM | 0 recs
Re: The Curse of McGovern
Sorry, Andy, but you're wrong.  The result of the McGovern campaign was that Democrats were perceived not only as anti-war with respect to Vietnam but anti-military as well.  Hence the current "support the troops, not the war" riff.  The lack of any crisp response to the Iranian hostage crisis by Carter only reinforced that.  (Yes, the same Iranians that are now the big winners in Iraq.)  You had idiots like Ramsey Clark asking, in contemplating a rescue mission, if we "couldn't just wound the Iranian guards in the shoulder?"

Jimmy Carter just narrowly edged Gerald Ford in the 1976 election despite the Watergate standard, mainly because of concerns about the Democrats on defense/security.  Carter probably squeaked through because he was a Southerner and a former nuclear submarine officer.

Bill Clinton managed to change the image of Democrats, despite being a "draft dodger."  It helped that the Cold War seemed to have been won.


by InigoMontoya 2005-10-04 11:04PM | 0 recs
Re: The Curse of McGovern
Gah.  "Watergate scandal," not "Watergate standard."  Brain cramp.
by InigoMontoya 2005-10-04 11:07PM | 0 recs
Re: The Curse of McGovern
Well, what's your support for this, except for "conventional wisdom."  Here's mine:

On McGovern-A great source for this campaign is Hunter Thompson's book, "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, 1972."  At the end of the book, he has an interview with McGovern pollster Pat Caddell (who was also Jimmy Carter's pollster).  Caddell's polls showed that McGovern lost not because of Vietnam, or because of any supposed ultra-liberal positions on the issues, but because of a series of mistakes and misstatements, culiminating in the choice of Thomas Eaggleton to be VP, then dropping him, that lead to McGovern's defeat.  Without these mistakes, McGovern would have been close to Nixon going into the fall campaign.  The point is that it is difficult to say that McGovern is responsible for the perceptions that Dems' are weak when he would have been very competitive with Nixon, or beatin him, if voters did not fear he was incompetent.

Can you refer to any polling that says anything different?

(2) About Carter-Again, polling at the time does not back up what you say about him.  He was leading Ford by over 30 points in the summer of 1976.  Thus, apparently, McGovern had not damaged the public's view of Democrats on national defense.

Carter lost his lead for a similar reason that McGovern was crushed, but it wasnt being too weak on specific defense issues.  Carter could not go a week it seems without putting his foot in his mouth.  By the end of the campaign people doubted his competence, not his weakness.  

Jules Witcover and Jack Germond wrote the best campaign book on the 1976 campaign; honestly I forget what it is called.  They have a very good section on the fall campaign.  That is my support on Carter.

True, by the end of his term in office, Carter was perceived as being weak on defense because of Afghanistan, Iraq and the general feeling that he had been "duped" by Breshnev.  But Carter actually WAS weak, so that perception was deserved.

(3) I reiterate that Dukakis, Mondale and Clinton all assisted in giving the Dems our present image.  You claim Clinton "helped" our image.  This is debatable.  Early in his term, Clinton was clearly perceived as being weak. . .Sommalia, Haiti, the Balkans, Iraq, all were early examples of weakness.  However, to be honest, I have read that because of the bombing campaign that he undertook at the end of his 2nd term, Dems polled equal to Rs in foreign policy strength.  Still, in my opinion, Clinton's early weakness just reinforced the view that our party is weak.

I go through all this because McGovern is used as an example why the Dems should not advocate a timed withdrawal.  Yet, this is a misreading of history.  Withdrawal from a quagmire that is only hurting our national security is a sign of strength, whether it be in Vietnam or Iraq.  People can argue all they want to on policy grounds that we should stay in Iraq; there is real arguments on both sides.  But to use McGovern to argue that we should not advocate a timed withdrawal is not accurate.

by Andy Katz 2005-10-05 03:48AM | 0 recs
Re: The Curse of McGovern
Andy, short response now...I gotta run...longer later if necessary.  I agree that Mondale & Dukakis contributed to the problem but it was largely a case of sustaining an already solidified perception.

Sources?  I was living it, engaged in all the debate pre-blogsophere, not reading about it in some history book.

by InigoMontoya 2005-10-05 08:04AM | 0 recs
Re: The Curse of McGovern
The democrats should not advocate withdrawal.  They should advocate an Iraqi referendum.. allow the Iraqis to decide whether we stay or leave.  This shows respect for democratic ideals and avoids the apparence that they are abandoning Iraq.  

Diary : How to get out of Iraq

by Winston Smith 2005-10-04 05:59PM | 0 recs
Emanuel did mention Iraq
To be fair, Russert brought it up.  I think the majority of your post still holds.  But Rahm Emanuel did talk about Iraq.

Here's the relevant part of the transcript:

REP. EMANUEL:  ...the American people have rejected the same policies that are giving us the same results and the status quo.  They want change.  They want big ideas, big reform.  This is going to be a big election, a national election because of the challenges this country faces.  We can do better than the policies that got us into the position we have right now.  And the fact is, the Democrats have an obligation to lay out to the country what those ideas are.

MR. RUSSERT:  So, for example, should we withdraw troops from Iraq?

REP. EMANUEL:  Well, I--let me--let's take what the general just said.  Let's deal with that.


On Iraq, we have a false choice between stay the course and get the same results and just pull up.  I think Senator Levin laid out a very good agenda, which is we're going to have measurements.  You can't say after two and a half years, like you asked the general before, two and a half years, nearly $400 billion, and we have one Iraqi battalion?  We're going to set standards every way and measurements from the political process, economic process and also on the military and national security where Iraq has to stand up.

MR. RUSSERT:  OK.  So--so...

REP. EMANUEL:  Let me go over--let's go...

MR. RUSSERT:  No, no, wait.  So if the Iraqis do not stand up, if there are not 10 battalions, 15 battalions in place, we withdraw?

REP. EMANUEL:  See, Tim, that's the wrong question, in my view.

MR. RUSSERT:  Well...

REP. EMANUEL:  I'll tell you why, because when we...

MR. RUSSERT:  But it's the question I asked.

REP. EMANUEL:  But the Congress has an obligation to hold a standard.  We have given the president a blank check.  It's been a rubber-stamp Congress that sent troops in there without Kevlar vests, without Humvees.  We have to have a standard in which Iraq and the administration measure up over the two years, and at that point we'll evaluate where we are.

MR. RUSSERT:  So was it a mistake for Democrats in the Senate and House to vote to authorize the war?

REP. EMANUEL:  Given the information that we were given them, they made their decision.  What has been a mistake is to let this type of administration basically run a policy of incompetence when it comes to Iraq.

You can agree or disagree with his statements, but he did talk about it.  I agree that the press usually regards Iraq with a false choice, "stay the course" or "leave now."  There are other options.  I don't know that Emanuel's plan amounts to much, but I give him points for eviscerating that false choice.  Democrats need to stop playing the media's games.  I wish, when Russert asked about "was it a mistake for Senate Dems to authorize," that he said "Who gives a fuck?" (maybe not with that language)  "We're losing in Iraq.  Our troops don't have the armor they need, we've fomented a civil war.  The war strategy as laid out by the Pentagon is not working.  You want to blame that on Democrats for the sake of balance?"

by dday 2005-10-04 04:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Emanuel did mention Iraq
Oh!! I missed this the first time!!

There's a meme there, a frame!!

We've been hearing about the "culture of corruption".

But there's a "policy of incompetence", too!!

Good stuff, applicable to nearly everything the Bushistas have done!!

by RayneToday 2005-10-05 08:35AM | 0 recs
Great post!
Progressive bloggers are the best hope for the future of the Democratic Party. Those inside-the-beltway Democrats are completely out-of-touch with the grassroots.
Kerry lost the election by supporting a neo-con war based on a pack of lies. Let's hope the Democratic candidate does not make the same mistake in 2008.
by deevy 2005-10-04 05:17PM | 0 recs
Same old same old....
Here's how Hagel talked about Iraq (weeks ago):
We're locked into a bogged down problem, not unsimilar, dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam. The longer we stay, the more problems we're going to have...'Stay the course' is not a policy...I think by any standard when you analyze two and a half years in Iraq where we have put in over a third of a trillion dollars, where we have lost almost 1,900 Americans, over 14,000 wounded, electricity production down, oil production down -- any measurement, any standard you apply to this, we're not winning. [the Bush administration] did a miserable job of planning for a post-Saddam Iraq. They treated many in Congress, most of the Congress, like a nuisance. The White House is completely disconnected from reality. It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq....We keep putting our forces who are over there in these impossible situations, asking them to do these impossible things when there's not enough force structure over there and there was never enough force structure... It's an absolute joke to say that we have a coalition of the willing... I watched 58,000 Americans get chewed up over a process of 1961 to 1975...during a time when in fact we had a policy that was losing. And the members of Congress were interestingly silent and absent in asking tough questions. As long as I'm a United States senator, I will do everything I can to ensure that we have a policy worthy of these brave young men and women who are sacrificing their lives and doing the things that they do for this country. I don't think that policy is there today.
Got my attention more than "we're going to have measurements..." We're seeing a complete repeat of the Iran-Contra fiasco of 1986-87, when the Dems slavish obeisance to Israeli-approved Middle East strategies effectively disarmed them from striking a body blow to the Reaganauts (Israel was the principal player - behind the scenes - in that affair).

by RobB 2005-10-04 05:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Same old same old....
Hagel criticizes the war effort (as Emanuel does), says "stay the course" is not a plan (pretty much as Emanuel does), and offers no plan for withdrawal, with a timetable or without.  He works himself into a lather but ultimately doesn't say a thing.  Sounds no different to me than "I have a secret plan to end the war" in Vietnam.

I'm not saying Emanuel is being unfairly criticized here, but don't deify Hagel for that nonsense.  There's no beef in that rant.

by dday 2005-10-04 06:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Same old same old....
Hagel doesnt say a thing?  Saying the US is mired down in a vietnam-like war, and saying that the longer we stay the worse it will get, and we should consider rapid disengagement,  is much more than any Dem senator is saying.  I would vote for him over any Dem senator on this issue alone.  
by Winston Smith 2005-10-04 06:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Same old same old....
Feingold's actually called for withdrawal.  So has Robert Byrd.  Hagel's calling for nothing.  Show me exactly where he says "we should consider rapid disengagement."
by dday 2005-10-05 07:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Same old same old....
Rapid disengagement were my words inferred from Hagel's condemnation of the war.  My point is, what Democratic senator is challenging the administration as strongly as Hagel?  

"We should start figuring out how we get out of there," Hagel said on "This Week" on ABC. "But with this understanding, we cannot leave a vacuum that further destabilizes the Middle East. I think our involvement there has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur."

by Winston Smith 2005-10-07 11:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Same old same old....
Hagel criticizes the war effort (as Emanuel does), says "stay the course" is not a plan (pretty much as Emanuel does), and offers no plan for withdrawal, with a timetable or without. He works himself into a lather but ultimately doesn't say a thing. Sounds no different to me than "I have a secret plan to end the war" in Vietnam.
Not to you, perhaps - but presumably you're not the audience that needs to be wooed here. Most 'undecideds' would likely hear a world of difference between:

The White House is completely disconnected from reality. It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq....We keep putting our forces who are over there in these impossible situations, asking them to do these impossible things...


On Iraq, we have a false choice between stay the course and get the same results and just pull up. I think Senator Levin laid out a very good agenda, which is we're going to have measurements. You can't say after two and a half years, like you asked the general before, two and a half years, nearly $400 billion, and we have one Iraqi battalion? We're going to set standards every way and measurements from the political process, economic process and also on the military and national security where Iraq has to stand up.

Which one sounds suspiciously like a rerun of Kerry's "...probably would have done the same policy but competently..."? Did we learn nothing from November 2004? btw Bush has nothing on Rahm Emanuel when it comes to garbled syntax....
by RobB 2005-10-04 07:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Same old same old....
I do agree with that.  I wasn't completely defending Emanuel, certainly not on message clarity (it's clear he didn't prep this, but had to say it when Russert asked the question, which is why I said I largely agreed with Chris).  I'm sure "I have a secret plan to end the war" was palatable to undecideds too.

All I'm saying is that Hagel is getting very upset without saying anything at all.  The only policy suggestion you can extrapolate from that is that we should ADD troops (when he says the force structure isn't enough and never was enough).

by dday 2005-10-05 07:40AM | 0 recs
Iraq AND Terrorism
Despite no mention of Iraq, I thought Rahm did a pretty good job.

How about mentioning terrorism?  It's on most voters minds but the Democratic Party hierarchy continuously chooses not to raise the issue.  No wonder voters assume that Democrats might not be able to take of the issue.  What are the Democrats afraid of?  Bush & Co. only real claim of success is no more terrorist incidents on our soil.  Democrats will once again lost fail to gain the majority if they fail to mention Iraq AND terrorism.

I have recently seen a possible 2008 Democratic candidate.  He did not speak about terrorism.  He mentioned Iraq briefly.  With so-called party leader of this type no wonder folks like Emanuel fail to raise the issues.  

by purinola 2005-10-04 05:32PM | 0 recs
DNC surveys
Every now and then I get a 'survey' from the DNC, asking me to rate 10 issues in order of importance. Iraq is NEVER listed as an issue.So I write "IRAQ" in big block letters across the survey, and send it back, without a check of course. The truly sad thing is, I know that NO ONE at the DNC gives a rat's ass about Iraq or any other issue of importance to the average working person. Which is why 2004 was the last election I will ever vote in.
by samdinista 2005-10-04 08:46PM | 0 recs
Re: DNC surveys
Lets start our own party.
by Winston Smith 2005-10-04 09:04PM | 0 recs
Re: something bold is missing
That's bold. But it's also really crappy public policy.

People are living longer, and are healthy enough to stay in the work force longer. As it is we're getting pretty close to the point where the average person will spend half or his or her life out of the workforce. That's not a sustainable way to run a country.

Remember, we play tohe political game to take power, but the end goal is enacting good policy that will help America, nto doing whatever will keep us in power. There is no crisis in social security now. Let's not create one.

by dantheman 2005-10-04 09:47PM | 0 recs
Agree mostly, but...
What about that higher education thing. A bold new proposal! In line with the basic values of Democrats! Something confrontational, something most Republicans won't agree with but that most Americans will love.

What's more, it's true, and it's good public policy. A free college education for everyone will help keep our economy competative in the 21st century.

So for the most part, yeah, it needs some work. But the college thing is a step in the right direction.

by dantheman 2005-10-04 09:53PM | 0 recs
33% Support &quot;Out Now&quot;
The numbers couldn't be any clearer.  The left are the only ones who can't seem to comprehend them.  

The Democratic Party supports a strategy to stabilize, which would be success, and then leave.  The left supports a strategy to say we're going to leave now, preferably in failure, but then stick around and stabilize on the sly.  

In any event, the Democratic Party has a strategy on Iraq and it is the strategy that most Americans support.  The left just doesn't want to hear it, and worse, doesn't seem capable of recognizing it's the exact same plan they have.

by sandy 2005-10-05 01:17AM | 0 recs
Here's what the Dems should do
Just simply say something like this (only make it shorter and punchier):

"We backed Bush on the war because like most other Americans after 9/11, we trusted that our president to do the right thing.  But now, after years of a bloody war in which tens of thousands have died and which was fought over a lie, the time has come to admit that Bush was wrong and to set to work to end this terrible mistake."

by Phoenix Woman 2005-10-05 05:59AM | 0 recs
Sick of Rahm's emails
They keep pestering for me to give more money to them, but when you hit "reply" to their emails it's bounced as they don't want any input.

seriously, I mean, why bother sending email if you don't wan't responses?

I know there's other ways to get in touch but between the DCCC and the rest, all pestering me for money in that same format, it's getting tiring.

and yet, if you raise Iraq, you're "bad" for the party's prospects (oops I mean DC establishment congressmen who will toe the line with Bush in 2007) in 2006

by Schadelmann 2005-10-06 01:30PM | 0 recs
Taking a page from the West Wing last week...
I think your right. Democrats need to break the stigma that we can't win on National Security.

But in this case, if the Democrats like Rahm aren't saying much about Iraq, its probably because they have nothing to say. Consistently whining about the situation has not improved our standing. Americans simply don't look at our talk as strengthing our position in Iraq. They see us as critcizing the troops, not the President. Right or wrong, this is the way it is. Thats why I would take not use the "withdrawal" nomenclature as much as I would use the "redeployment" nomenclature. We need to finish Iraq sooner rather than later so we can redeploy our troops to better positions in the War on Terror.

Sure, some of that talk is just symbolic. And I heard someone comment that this is just a way for the Liberal Hawks to justify the war, but so what? We need a resolution sooner rather than later and we're not going to get everyone who voted for the war to apologize. So deal with it. Yes, move on. And lets move forward quickly to get our troops out of this untenable situation and get Iraq into something of a best case scenario at this point, even if its not ideal.

by Adrock 2005-10-07 05:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Like It's 2002
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by posco 2006-04-26 10:38AM | 0 recs


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