Clinton says war vote was a mistake, but struggles to find the words

(Via Political Wire). The floodgates are open on withdrawal now. Hillary Clinton has admitted that her war vote was a mistake, that she would not have voted in favor of the war knowing what she knows now, and she favors withdrawal in 2006. The Politicker explains:But this is a subtle, important advance. She's said in the past that, had we known then what we know now, there never would have been a vote. Now, for the first time, she says she should have voted "No."

"[I]f Congress had been asked, based on what we know now, we never would have agreed" to give the president the authority to go to war, she wrote yesterday.

The New York Times has more of the letter Clinton sent out to supporters today:"I believe we are at a critical point with the Dec. 15 elections that should, if successful, allow us to start bringing home our troops in the coming year, while leaving behind a smaller contingent in safer areas with greater intelligence and quick strike capabilities," she wrote. "I call on the president both for such a plan and for a full and honest accounting of the failures of intelligence - something we owe not only to those killed and wounded and their families, but to all Americans." OK, she has said it, but damn is that ever a tortured, dentist chair type of admission. It certainly is a far cry from the way Edwards went about it: In an interview after the UNC speech, Edwards finally utters the words he'd assiduously avoided during the last campaign: "I voted for the resolution," he says. "It was a mistake." I don't want to criticize Senator Clinton too much for finally admitting the obvious. Still, apart from the content of her admission, I can't help but point out that there is something more than a little worrisome about her use of language in her admission. Quite frankly, she seems to be struggling with same hypercognition problems from which Gore and Kerry suffered in their general election campaigns. Clinton's answer reminds me of Kerry's tortured line about wanting to give the President the authority to go to war, but wanting to conduct the war in a different way, or some such piece of linguistic roadkill. All of the different, garbled and mangled lines he produced on the matter seemed to do little except give the impression that he did not even have a position on the war. If Clinton is going to struggle with her language the same way our last two nominees struggled, I don't want her anywhere near the national ticket no matter what her position on the war is.

By contrast, starting late in 2003, Edwards began to display the sort of strong communicative powers Democrats need in a national leader. It is clear from his blunt admission that his war vote was a mistake that he hasn't lost his touch on that front. Earlier today, frameshop guru Jeffery Feldman found much the same contrast between Feingold and Kerry when it came to discussing exit strategy. Feldman writes:

Kerry made a series of statements where he attempted to parse the difference between his position and President Bush's statements. According to John Kerry, the problem with the President's "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" was that it made the claim that the U.S. military belonged to the President's policy and not to the American people (hang on, here, it's hard to explain Kerry's arguments). He then went on to explain that Democrats are not calling for a time table for leaving Iraq, but were instead calling for a time table for success in Iraq which would allow for the U.S. military to leave (See the difference? Yeah...me neither).

Kerry was confusing, he was overly patrician. He was unclear. After listening to him speak for five minutes, it was not clear what his ideas were.

Feingold was the exact opposite.

Interviewed by Nora O'Donnell on MSNBC, Feingold was asked a series of questions where he was supposed to respond to the President's attacks on his position. Rather than answer those false charges, each time he reframed the debate. Each time he did this--he was fantastic. FANTASTIC!

Feingold made several points that were crystal clear.

My basic point here is that in Feingold and Edwards I find a basic quality that Democrats need to win the Presidency that I do not find in Kerry and Clinton. Not even taking their policies or biographies into account, right now in Feingold and Edwards we can see the ability to lead through language. Edwards and Feingold can inspire people to think like progressives. When they say something, they seem to have the ability to actually leave people with a clear impression of their beliefs. I just don't see this quality in Clinton and Kerry right now, and considering how long they have both been on the national stage, I'm not sure if there will ever be a time when they have that ability.

There is still time, of course, and I will keep an open mind. However, I just don't have a lot of confidence that things will change.

Tags: Democrats (all tags)

Comments

62 Comments

Good post, Chris
This is actually the best anti-Hillary argument I have seen in quite some time, and you see a lot of them in the liberal blogosphere!
by Steve M 2005-11-30 02:04PM | 0 recs
Feingold
My basic point here is that in Feingold and Edwards I find a basic quality that Democrats need to win the Presidency

You have to be pretty thick to forget that Feingold is the vote that put Ashcroft in the Cabinet and that Feingold voted to get Roberts his up or down.

You want the letter he sent me after I wrote, as a constituent, asking him not to vote yes on Roberts?  It's the same mealy-mouthed horseshit you always get from Russ "Holier than Thou" Feingold.

It's all about the benefit of the doubt.  It's STILl about the benefit of the doubt FIVE YEARS INTO IT.

If you guys get Feingold as your nominee you're going to be sorry.  Very sorry.

by sixteenwords 2005-11-30 02:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Feingold
Sorry about what? That he respects the institution of the government and president? Or that we finally will get the most progressive president the USA has seen since Kennedy/LBJ?
by KainIIIC 2005-11-30 05:56PM | 0 recs
Its a start
sigh.

However, I with you on the Edwards. Haven't be able to get exceited about Russ.

by molly bloom 2005-11-30 02:12PM | 0 recs
Edwards is one of the most
phony and plastic candidates I have ever seen.  He cannot even fake empathy well (or a smile, for that matter).  He's the classic candidate who tries too hard to look pretty and appealing but ends up looking a mile wide but an inch deep.  Sorry, he's unelectable.

Hillary's statement makes sense.  She's loaded with heft and gravitas.  It's much easier for other candidates to pivot and change their positions because they lack the stature and clout of Mrs. Clinton.  All eyes are on her and, because of this, it's more likely that people would paint her as a flip-flopper than they would Edwards or Biden.  Everyone knows HRC is the 800lb gorilla.

In retrospect, Edwards needed much more seasoning before Kerry chose him.  I cannot think of one thing he added to the ticket.

by jgarcia 2005-11-30 03:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards is one of the most
Your point that Hillary needs to change positions slowly because of her stature is right. She can't afford to be the Murtha-type headline of the moment. She is planning on having staying power.

However, I'm not sure about the "heft and gravitas."  That is not what I have seen when I've met her. But she does give inspired talks that focus on shared values, concrete policy goals that reflect those values, and finishes with specific actions the audience can take to advance those policy goals. She's really good at that. (Sometimes the specific action is to give money; her success there is one objctive measure of how well she inspires.) But it is not gravitas. Fortunately, it is not the garbled "hypercognition" that fails to communicate a clear message.

by De Re Rustica 2005-11-30 04:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards is one of the most
Hillary is also the best human being ever.   I have it on good authority that she has the intellect of Einstein and the charisma of Elvis, Marilyn, and Ingrid Berman.

Plus she's got Bill Clinton. He will confer upon her all of his magic.    Did you know she's leading in the polls? That means she will win.  

Because I say so.  After you all are proved wrong, Hillary will ascend to galactic overlord.  And I will be her grand wizard, and I will extinguish this blog.

Agreed Edwards is a phony and nobody likes him.  After all, his atrocious career as an attorney convincing juries proves he can't communicate.  

by Andmoreagain 2005-11-30 04:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards is one of the most
I know you were being sarcastic. I am not. Edwards inability to communicate effectively on serious issues was exposed during the closing stretch of the presidential elections and the debate where he couldn't really vanquish cheney.
by Pravin 2005-12-01 06:44AM | 0 recs
No, that is a ridiculous criterion
Right, some superhuman could have delivered a knockout blow and had Cheney sobbing.

Your expectations for the effects of an event occurring in a VP debate are totally unrealistic. Cheney already had a pitiful poll numbers.

VP selections almost never make a difference.  Edwards bashers ignore this fact, and use it as an excuse.   There is no "there" there.

by Andmoreagain 2005-12-01 07:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards is one of the most
I find it funny you think he's phony and that he is only concerned about his image when he's the ONLY candidate that is willing to talk about poverty (supposedly a politician's death wish) so candidly.

Hillary's statement reinforces to everyone (well, maybe not you) the fact that she has no backbone.  In trying to grasp the center, she's lost principle.  Fine, Edwards voted for the war, but at least he has enough chutzpah to clearly admit that he made the mistake.

Also, that was not John Edwards in the general election campaign.  Kerry did not dare let Edwards expose how much he sucked as a candidate, so he fed Edwards the same canned bullshit that lost Kerry the campaign.  Edwards is back to himself after being released from political hell, and that's looking much better than what Hillary has to offer.

by bergerc84 2005-12-01 06:47AM | 0 recs
One thing
...about Edwards you certainly have right. He, really, truly, is the ONLY American politician, in either party, who speaks about poverty.

For that alone he commands a massive amount of my respect.

by LiberalFromPA 2005-12-01 09:10AM | 0 recs
It's very simple
Feingold and Edwards (and Dean) talk like HUMAN BEINGS.

Clinton and Kerry talk like dictionaries and lawyers and books and politicians.  Yeech.

by exLogCabin 2005-11-30 03:39PM | 0 recs
To Whom it Concerns
I don't care what Hillary, Biden, Lieberman or Kerry say in order save their political asses.  If any of these assholes is put up as the Democratic nominee in '08, I will either vote Green Party or not send in my absentee ballot.  They had their chance.
by steve expat 2005-11-30 04:13PM | 0 recs
Well that's helpful
wouldn't it be simpler and more direct to just vote for the Republican candidate?
by molly bloom 2005-11-30 04:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Seriously
A vote for a third party should serve as a wakeup call to the democratic party that they lost a vote that was easily winnable. The dems didn't get the message in 2000 and paid for it in 2004.
The message for a third party vote is "hey we dont like the republicans, but you suck so bad we can't even give you our vote. Dems lived in denial after 2000 that it was Nader's fault. In reality, it was the dems fault for not being able to convince 3rd party voters to vote democratic. If the democratic party had any self awareness, third party votes should be seen as a slap in the face more than votes for republicans.
by Pravin 2005-12-01 06:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Seriously
So, this Third Party vote that embraced a candidate with a platform that is way, way out of the mainstream is the key to future victories?  

That's a fantasy.  The 2000 third party vote was a coalition of idealists, cranks and fantasists, with a tiny slice of persuadeables.  Many more equally persuadeable sat on the sidelines or voted the other way.  That happens every election; you can't reach everyone you "should" reach.

The road to victory for Democrats is not in finding a mythical magical hidden left-wing vote.  

by Andmoreagain 2005-12-01 07:49AM | 0 recs
Respectfully I must disagree
Like it or not, no 3rd party has won the presidency since 1860. Like it or not, a vote for a 3rd party candidate merely increases a candidate whose stance on the issues you admit you don't like (the GOP) gets elected and gets to inflict more damage on the nation. And don't give me the phony George C. Wallace "not a dimes worth of difference between them" that Ralph Nader dusted off. Its not even close to being true. The worst you can say about Al Gore is that like Bil Clinton favored Nafta.

Would Al have invaded Iraq?
Would Al approve torture?
Would Al have propose the tax cuts for the upper 10%
Would Al have proposed NCLB and then not funded it?

There are differences. Candidates who get elected President are rarely perfect on all issues.

If the Green party really wants to grow they would put a lot of money into a region where they think they can win and build a strong party from the ground up. Get elected locally and to the state legislatures. Then congress and then expand their regional base.

by molly bloom 2005-12-01 09:26AM | 0 recs
Re: To Whom it Concerns
"I don't care what Hillary, Biden, Lieberman or Kerry say in order save their political asses.  If any of these assholes is put up as the Democratic nominee in '08, I will either vote Green Party or not send in my absentee ballot.  They had their chance."

Please, in the name of God don't vote Green. The Green party is a big reason why we got Bush and are battling against the forces of evil on so many fronts. You are right to be appalled at Lieberman--he proved how politically useless he is during the VP debate against Cheney in 2000 and he seems to be the last person outside the Bush administration who thinks the war is going well. And I think the Dems who voted to give Bush the authority were being willfully naive to imagine he would use that authority only if it became necesyning that they voted for the war itself is pathetic. And you are right that the Dems need someone willing to speak straight, otherwise we'll lose and we'll deserve to lose. But even so, surely the Green-leaners have learned by now that there *is a difference between Democratic political hackdom and Republican anti-New Deal, anti democratic process, anti-international law ture believers.

Keith

by keith johnson 2005-11-30 05:30PM | 0 recs
Re: To Whom it Concerns
I am going to say this over and over.  It is far better to have a Republican elected in 2008 then a "moderate" Democrat like Clinton, Biden or Bayh.  ONLY progressive policies will enable the incomes of average Americans to rise and ONLY by achieving this goal will the next President be popular.  

So, if someone like Clinton is elected, with her corporate light policies, nothing will get better in her term of office, the Democrats will be blamed and probably by the end of her term and certainly by the end of any second term she may have (Clintons are good at getting themselves elected and reelected, though not other Democrats) the Rs will come back offering "tax cuts" which the middle class will buy into in desperation even though these policies suck for them in the long run and we will have another 12-20 years of ultra conservative government.  No thanks.

by Andy Katz 2005-11-30 06:56PM | 0 recs
Re: To Whom it Concerns
It is so frustrating to read posts like these that give zero though to the Supreme Court, the third branch of government, afterall.

Were you aware those are lifetime appointments?  Are you also aware they are nominated by the President?  And are you aware that they decide civil rights and things like the legality of  CORPORATE regulations, etc...

Tax cuts, tax increases, programs, even Social Security programs, and corporate laws can be changed year-to-year at any fucking time.  No supermajority needed and one Congress can undo what another one does with the simple passage of a bill.

The High Court is different.  Think about it.  

by jgarcia 2005-11-30 07:16PM | 0 recs
Re: To Whom it Concerns
"It is so frustrating to read posts like these that give zero though to the Supreme Court, the third branch of government, afterall.

Were you aware those are lifetime appointments?  Are you also aware they are nominated by the President?  And are you aware that they decide civil rights and things like the legality of  CORPORATE regulations, etc...

Tax cuts, tax increases, programs, even Social Security programs, and corporate laws can be changed year-to-year at any fucking time.  No supermajority needed and one Congress can undo what another one does with the simple passage of a bill"

Exactly. A supreme court composed of Federalist Society fanatics who don't believe the Federal Government has the right to enact worker safety laws, minimum wages, environmental protections would make it impossible for an eventual progressive government to fix the mess the right wing could cause. But even without that, here's what would happen if an inadequate Dem lost to another right winger: we'd dig ourselves even deeper in to the hole, and we'd be in so deep that by the time a rea; progressive government won they'd at most be able to get us part way back to where we are now.

Keith

by keith johnson 2005-12-01 05:16AM | 0 recs
Re: To Whom it Concerns
Here's the key though (for me).  Electing the wrong Democrat, one that is not progressive enough to succeed, will lead to many Republican presidents in the future to appoint Supreme Court members.  

Obviously, you can reject my premise that because of globalization and modern market forces it takes progressive policies to gain economic benefits for all or my premis that if a moderate Dem is elected and pursues moderate econmic policies that are unsuccessful, the electorate will swing back to Republicans and their "at least we will cut your taxes" argument for a generation.  However, if I am right about these two points, the best thing to do for the Supreme Court would be to refrain from voting for a moderate Dem in 2008 if he/she gets the nomination.

by Andy Katz 2005-12-01 06:27AM | 0 recs
Not true
This is evidently not true. A moderate Democrat, Bill Clinton, presided over one of the largest expansions of the American economy, one in which ALL Americans benefited. And no, you can't give all the credit to the DotCom Boom. The economy was happily growing at a high rate well before dotcom became part of the vernacular.

I, for one, am in favor of having a strong, liberal President. If you gave me a choice between Feingold or HRC, I'd go with the former.

But I'll take a moderate Democrat over a Republican nut-job any day of the week.

by LiberalFromPA 2005-12-01 09:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Not true
The economic times are much different then in the 1990s; e.g. China was not nearly the economic player it is today.  Clinton's remedy of free trade and balanced budgets forced by domestic spending cuts are not going to help the economy in the 2000s
by Andy Katz 2005-12-01 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: To Whom it Concerns
What did voting for Nader have to do with Hillary Clinton supporting the Iraq war? Dems have only themselves to blame for this mess. If they didn't lose control of the congress and did not act like wimps, Bush's 2000 election would not have been as disastrous. Also if Dems learned their lesson from losing votes to Nader in 2000 , then 2004 would have gone to the Dems.

No party should feel entitled to a vote.

by Pravin 2005-12-01 06:33AM | 0 recs
Fine
vote green. Just please dont come here and complain when President Sam Brownback is appointing Priscilla Owen to the Supreme Court in 2009.
by jj32 2005-11-30 10:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Fine
We could just as easily as you why you don't vote for a third party candidate and put an end to Republican rule. Who the hell are you to be so smug about a person's right to vote. As long as they did not vote for the winning candidate, they have every right to complain as much as you do.

You should be bitching about your candidate's inablity to get the votes of those who voted third party. For the record, I did want Bush gone so bad, I voted Democratic in 2004. But I still have respect for those who voted 3rd party.

by Pravin 2005-12-01 06:36AM | 0 recs
TYPO
TYPO
We could just as easily ask you
by Pravin 2005-12-01 06:36AM | 0 recs
Re: To Whom it Concerns
I don't care what Hillary, Biden, Lieberman or Kerry say in order save their political asses.  If any of these assholes is put up as the Democratic nominee in '08, I will either vote Green Party or not send in my absentee ballot.  They had their chance.

If you do so then you'll deserve what you get. Unfortunately for me, I'll end up suffering for your reality absent self-centered view of presidential politics.

In case you haven't noticed, no one is "put up" as the Democratic nominee. Candidates announce, raise money, and try to convince a lot of people to vote  for them in what has always been a grueling and very complex process.

I have a suggestion: before you punish everyone with your potential personal temper tantrum in 2008 find a presidential candidate you can support for that cycle and work your ass off for them from now until then. If you don't do so, you're just blowing a lot of smoke and are no smarter than the pontificating gasbags on the cable news networks.

Since you have such a finely developed sense of the strengths and weaknesses of all of the potential presidential candidates, would you enlighten us about those who will be seeking the nomination for the green party?

You try to make what you think is a sophisticated political point on a progressive site devoted to politics, instead you express yourself like a petulant foot stamping little child.  

by Michael Bersin 2005-12-01 02:11AM | 0 recs
Look at your own party's failings
It is this smug sense of entitlement that is causing the party to fail. You don't deserve a vote by default. You work to earn votes. No one should be guilt tripped into voting for your candidate just because the other guy sucks. Instead of getting pissed off at third party voters, why don't you get pissed off at yourself for supporting a candidate who lacks the ability to beat a Bush or Cheney type. Why don't you get pissed off at your own party for trotting out such losers?
by Pravin 2005-12-01 06:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Look at your own party's failings
...Look at your own party's failings...

Ah, the "no difference" meme.

Well, let's talk about your party's failures - you see, if you're going to be successful you'll need an organization in every single precinct in the country. I suggest you enlist your party's numerous activists in that essential task for 2006 and 2008 as soon as you can - for without such you'll never be anything but spoilers. How do you get activists? That's a good question - it takes hard work, an ideology (or belief system, whatever, you pick the term) that others can buy into, and persistance.

But that would be too, difficult. Instead, you'll throw bombs and complain that the world is unfair. Roll your sleeves up and get to work. Find a local or statewide candidate you can support and work your tail off for them. Create your party, or take over one from within. Start "earning" those votes.

Again, that would be to difficult for you. It's so much easier to recycle "conventional wisdom" about those "unresponsive" national parties.

Gee, for your ilk the "no loaf" of the republican party (hey, god looks after fools and idiots, it's their loved ones who suffer)is better than 90% of a loaf(or 75% or even 5%) because the great masses will rise up in their misery and smite the man.

Amateur.

by Michael Bersin 2005-12-01 08:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Smug again
I did not cry that you were not voting for my candidates. You are whining. I can live with the fact that you may not vote for the guy I like. So I do not really have to prove my efforts to you.  But you can't. So you need to  tell me what your side did to attract voters like me.

Don't pretend Democrats are not corrupt. Who let Bush get away with all this stuff? People like HIllary, Pelosi, and the democratic party's inability to win congress. Just like neocons control Bush, you don't think some democrats are a little intimidated by AIPAC?

By the way, I did vote Kerry because my limit for tolerance of the greater evil was reached. But you do not see me lecturing those who still chose to vote third party because they did not care for Kerry. That's the difference between you and me. I have respect for the right to vote for anyone. I want Kerry and his supporters to be embarassed what they did with Dean supporters in the campaign and how they made it tough for some independent voters to support them. I contributd to Dean but by the time the primaries rolled over to GA, I was virtually disenfranchised thanks to other state voters playing "oh i am such a clever pollster. Let's play the who is more electable game instead of who is the best candidate."

Why arent people like you looking at the third party votes and asking the democratic leaders why more isnt done to attract those votes? Unless you hold them accountable, you will not improve the party in the long term. It's not only third party votes that should bother you, but the amount of non votes among the eligible voters. It is the responsibility of the leaders you support blindly because you think you have only  one of two choices to feel as bad for each non vote as for every vote cast for one's opponent.

The republicans got it by inspiring their rabid religious base. Too bad people like you don't get it. Excuse the smugness on my part, but you get what you dish out.

by Pravin 2005-12-01 10:01AM | 0 recs
Re: The No Difference thing
Don't twist  my words to represent me as implying that many think there is no difference between the parties and that explains their third party votes. That is way too simplistic and misleading on your party. You reduced yourself to the level of a republican operative with that dismissiveness. Maybe some of us believe in the fact that there isn't enough of a difference and that sending a message to the lesser evil that they need to improve their candidates at the expense of the greater evil is a gamble worth taking. the gamble did not pay off for some of us in 2000 because we underestimated the denseness of the democratic party. But a few setbacks like this, sooner or later, someone will get the message that they are votes to be had if you look outside the box.
by Pravin 2005-12-01 10:06AM | 0 recs
Yawn
Yawn. So, you still won't do the hard work of either building a party at the precinct level or talking it over at the same.

Typical.

I wrote about this at another place a long time ago:

"There is no difference" represents the epitome of a lack of understanding practical reality and the ramifications of the choices one makes. It is the smug self righteousness that there is only one true way, and that we do not have to accept responsibility for that choice. It tells us that to achieve one's pipe dreams we can make others suffer for our hubris. It tells us that only we matter and those less fortunate are, well, out of luck.

"There is no difference" tells us that we can move furniture in the living room while the house is on fire and in danger of burning down (or, if you prefer, rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic while it's sinking).

"There is no difference" is patently false and very much like every clueless high school busybody who put on a Christmas pageant for the poor to brighten their day, ignoring the fact that they were ill, homeless, hungry, and cold.

"There is no difference" doesn't bother to stick around to find out what happens, and doesn't care.

"There is no difference" is the hand that grabs the last match as it is lit, letting the self generated wind extinguish that last hope for a warm fire because, well, they read about this really cool way to set the sticks when you build a fire which may, in certain circumstances, make your fireplace draft more efficient except we're outside and it's below freezing and that was our last match because at the last campsite there was "no difference" either and playing with the fireworks in Florida was so much fun...

Timeout: people who are naive and unsophisticated should be mocked.

"There is no difference" says that no loaf is better than 39 out of 40 slices. And besides, the people that won't give us any bread will cause the hungry masses to rise up and change the system overnight.

"There is no difference" says not making a choice relieves one of any responsibility when the truly bad choice triumphs.

"There is no difference" worries about their own souls, but can't fathom the suffering of others because, well, it's good for their souls.

"There is no difference" is where one goes to hide because they were too lazy to do anything but pontificate in the abstract and didn't want to soil their souls doing the hard work of planning, organizing, educating, and getting out the vote at the precinct level.

by Michael Bersin 2005-12-01 12:25PM | 0 recs
You dont get it
Not everyone has the time to take part in politics. There are many people to swamped with work and it is the job of politicians to lend clarity to their message. And don't you dare personalize this. I never said I will always vote 3rd party regardless. I made the personal choice to vote Kerry because I did weigh the ramifications of going with pure idealism. Or are you dense? So I dont know where you get off lecturing me. I did mention that now, didnt I. Why I continued to discuss this issue was that I was still able to respect the other people's right to vote third party and it wasnt as stupid or reckless as you imply.

As far as the no difference, your excerpts of your old arguments are idiotic in this discussion because that is not the position we are arguing. Many of us acknowledge that there is a difference. And yes, we understand the potential short term loss. We never claimed that there would be an immediate revolution. It is ridiculous how simplistic your assessment is. Each of us have a different threshold. Mine was reached in 2004 and not in 2000. it may take some people another 4 years to reach it. And if you want them to reach it sooner, you better ask your leaders to do a better job of reaching out to them. Not everyone has the time to work in politics as you suggest. It's the real world.

by Pravin 2005-12-01 01:24PM | 0 recs
That says it all
...Not everyone has the time to take part in politics...

You're here now, aren't you?

Ah, I see, you're from the "consumerism" school of political activism.

by Michael Bersin 2005-12-01 01:37PM | 0 recs
When words fail...
...try pictures. Or car magnets.


by peaceposmike 2005-11-30 04:25PM | 0 recs
Re: When words fail...
The best magnet I have seen is a ribbon that says "I support jingoistic cliches."
by schwompa 2005-11-30 05:34PM | 0 recs
Kerry as spokesperson
I actually have a lot of respect for Kerry, but his speech today just highlights again why we MUST stop making him the spokesperson for our party.  It was a horrific reply speech.  I was flipping through the talk radio stations, as I do from time to time, and the wingers were absolutely gleeful at his "timetable for success" kludgey mess of a phrase.  For good reason - Republicans will make great hay out of identifying us all with that bizarre, wishy-washy half-distinction.

This is a guy who needs to be a Senator involved in making policy, but not a national figure.  And it only makes it worse if - as kos is reporting - Kerry actively muscled aside Jack Reed to do this.  If that's true, someone needs to seriously grow some backbone and tell Kerry that we love him and all, but to back off.

by arenwin 2005-11-30 04:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Kerry as spokesperson
Quotation with slight edits:

"Each day to facilitate the process by which the United States washes her hands of Iraq someone has to give up his life so that the United States doesn't have to admit something that the entire world already knows, that we have made a mistake.

Someone has to die so that President Bush won't be, and these are my words, 'the second President to lose a war.'

"We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to dies in Iraq? How do ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

"But we are trying to do that, and we are doing it with thousands of rationalizations..."

Until Dems like Hillary and Kerry can answer the question: "How do ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" I have no patience for them.

The Dem who best answers that question will win in 2008. I like Mark Matson's from above

by dereau 2005-11-30 06:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Kerry as spokesperson
Bush would be the 3rd.  The US achieved absolutely none of it's goals when James Madison declared war on Canada and Britain in 1812.  Although Jackson and others did prevent Britain from re-annexing the US, I'd say Madison lost the war.

I'm assuming you're thinking of Nixon as number two.

by Flynnieous 2005-11-30 08:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Kerry as spokesperson
well done. Bush is the third. Thanks
by dereau 2005-12-01 05:43AM | 0 recs
Feingold and Edwards....
Learn from the past mistakes.

Don't run Senators.

And if you do, you damn sure don't run Northern senators (we've tried that a few times in the past, you know.... Kerry, Dukakis, Mondale, Humphreys). And since he pretty much acted like one, add Gore to that list too.

Nowe, we could try running, I don't know, say a SOUTHERN GOVERNOR. I know we are only 2-0 for running those since JFK (Carter & Clinton), so why try that again?

The only other candidates I'd be for are governors from other states such as the West. People say you can't do that anymore, that people have to have foreign policy experience. Garbage. No one voting on foreign policy is going to vote for Democrats if we speak of policy in the way Republicans do. We have to run someone who can say whatever they want since they haven't had to vote on it any other way.

Just my .02

by USCKB 2005-11-30 04:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Feingold and Edwards....
Um, alot of factual mistakes in your post.  Dukakis was never a Senator.  Neither Mondale nor Humphreys was a Senator when they won the nomination and then lost the general (though HHH was a Senator when he lost the nomination in 1972, that does not seem to be your point).  And I understand you could be saying that anyone who was ever a Senator makes a weak candidate, but it does not seem to be your point either as you dont mention Gore.  And if you are saying any guy/women who was Senator would be weak, even if he she is no longer a Senator, you are overlooking the fact that Truman and LBJ were both Senators, as was JFK.  They went 3-0 in elections.

I think the whole Seantor vs non Senator is superficial.  Kerry lost because he is, in fact, a weak and waffling candidate, and because it is very hard to beat a "war president," not because he is a Senator.  Take his background and his general stand on issues that he ran on but add the moral conviction of a Wellstone, Feingold or Edwards and Kerry would have won.

by Andy Katz 2005-12-01 06:38AM | 0 recs
War Vote
I still believe the vote to authorize war was the correct vote on the assumption Bush was trustworthy.  We needed that vote to get weapon inspectors into Iraq* and keep them there.  It worked, we got the inspectors in.  But Bush wasn't trustworthy and Bush pulled the inspectors out.  I wish Democrats would have called him on it at the time, but basically none did.  And since they went along with the lie that they "voted for the war" back when the war was popular, they lost the chance to be honest today.

.

(* I believe the inspectors entered Iraq the week before the vote, but it was clear by then what would happen.  If the vote had failed they may have been kicked out.)

by Mark Matson 2005-11-30 04:53PM | 0 recs
My biggest problem with Hillary Clinton...
...has nothing to do with her voting record, her seeming coldness, or any of the other traditional anti-Hillary issues.

My biggest problem with her is simply this: She's a TERRIBLE public speaker. I'm not even talking about her choice of words; I'm talking about her actual VOICE. I heard her MC a couple of Dem. fundraiser dinner things (the Jefferson thing in Iowa, I believe, among others), and while her normal speaking voice is fine, her "on the air"/loudspeaker voice is HORRIBLE.

I realize this is an incredibly superficial thing, but it does make a difference, at least as much as Feingold being Jewish (or twice divorced, or a Senator, for that matter) makes (and I say this as a Jewish guy myself who is actually starting to move towards Feingold's camp).

by Brainwrap 2005-11-30 05:08PM | 0 recs
pfeh
Hillary Clinton doesn't have any beliefs to sound clear about. She doesn't want to be President to DO anything, she just wants to BE PRESIDENT.
by tatere 2005-11-30 05:18PM | 0 recs
Re: pfeh
While we're at it, let's uncritically recirculate right wingnut memes and talking points on progressive sites like this.

Frickin' amateur.

by Michael Bersin 2005-12-01 02:17AM | 0 recs
Re: pfeh
I agree with you completely tatere.
by Andy Katz 2005-12-01 06:56AM | 0 recs
Breaking News!
HRC says she believes the earth is round rather than flat after much consternation and realizing 95 percent of the public was already a head of her. Says Hillary, "I knew the earth was round, before I voted for it being flat."
by bruh21 2005-11-30 05:24PM | 0 recs
Hillary would win in 2008.
However Mark Warner is going to beat her and whomever the Republicans put up. He is really something take a look at his State of the Commonwealth speeches and you realize he has a public philosophy, frames the debate instead of having to reframe it and unlike the regressive or progressive views of the world his view is transendant and rational and is symbolized by the Authoratative parenting style which only a small percentage of our population has been able to master so it will give us a resounding victory in 2008 and allow us all to say. "Novus Ordo Seculorum" which when translated philosphically roughly means, "A New Order for the Ages Now Begins"
by strrbr 2005-11-30 05:57PM | 0 recs
Senator Clinton and Iraq
Senator Clinton is struggling with something John McCain has already embraced as a winning strategy: either we do the job in Iraq correctly or we don't do it at all; and we are currently not doing the job in Iraq correctly. Half measures only kill U.S. troops and encourage civil strife. We are now endeavoring in half measures. While it is true that special operations are far better suited to train Iraqi forces to protect themselves, special operations cannot rebuild the massive Iraqi infrastructure. If we measure success by training Iraqi troops, then we can be successful with a few thousand special operators. If success is measured in a rebuilt Iraqi infrastructure, then a vast amount of troops are needed to maintain adequate security and support. The troops might have to be multinational, but someone has to rebuild the infrastructure. Disregarding the infrastructure while training Iraqi forces is pointless unless the Bush Administration is confident that such forces could provide their own security and support, which confidence would be misplaced.  The Iraqis need financial means to sustain security and support. Without the infrastructure, there is no financial means except from an external source. Consequently, there must be vastly more soldiers in Iraq to rebuild its infrastructure so that Iraqi forces can be self-sustaining. Otherwise, the United States is merely endeavoring in futility and should precipitously withdraw.    
by Romach 2005-11-30 06:07PM | 0 recs
Hillary Slowly Losing Momentum..
For the first time since the end of 2004, the MSM and major Democratic Party donors are beginning to critically examine the inherent difficulty Clinton will have in both a general election and in the Democratic Primaries.

David Geffen may have been the first major donor to realize this, but he surely won't be the last.  Don't get me wrong, Clinton will still have more cash than all the other prospective candidates, but that will NOT be enough to help her win in Iowa, NH, or South Carolina.  

Give me the TRUE Straight-Talk Express in 2008: Clark/Feingold.

I don't care one lick who the Republicans put up if the above combination is our ticket. Clark would wipe the floor with McCain on National Security/Foreign Policy issues seven days a week, and twice on Sunday.  Imagine Clark and Feingold actively campaigning in places like Missoula, Montana, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and Bristol, Tennessee.. This ticket puts nearly every State in the Union into play.. Furthermore, I welcome a true debate with the best we have to offer, and the best the GOP have to offer (which isn't much).  

by Hadi 2005-11-30 07:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Slowly Losing Momentum..
Um, where's your link?  Btw, it's EASY for Clark to be "straight talking" when he's never held office and never had to take a stand that had consequences.
by jgarcia 2005-11-30 07:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Slowly Losing Momentum..
There were several separate segments on CNN alone today that discussed Clinton's Iraq difficulties. MSNBC has run several stories over the course of the last two weeks as well.  The mere fact that the MSM has temporarily stopped repeating the Dick Morris meme of "Liberals will vote for Hillary regardless of how far right she veers" is telling in my opinion.

As for the Geffen comment, do a basic Google search for his exact words during a Q & A in New York from earlier this year.  You'll find it well-documented in numerous credible outlets.

Your comment regarding Clark never having taken "a stand that had consequences" is outrageous.  I guess confronting Milosevic, hammering out the Dayton Peace Accords, and launching the highly effective Kosovo Campaign weren't "taking stands that had consequences," despite the fact that he risked his personal reputation and, most importantly, the lives of HIS soldiers, in order to do what he [and what history has shown] were the right moves.

by Hadi 2005-11-30 08:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary Slowly Losing Momentum..
Im not a Clark supporter but my guess is that someone who had two tours of Vietnam as an officer and who ended his military career as the head of NATO took some "stands that had consequences."
by Andy Katz 2005-12-01 06:41AM | 0 recs
Even Tim Robbins ridicules Hillary
Supposedly, Tim Robbins blasted her on the radio today. I see her support withering when her record comes under scrutiny.
by Pravin 2005-12-01 06:45AM | 0 recs
Struggles To Find Words
I'm one of the constituents who got the letter. Chris called it perfectly. It took 11 painful paragraphs to get here:

"I take responsibility for my vote, and I, along with a majority of Americans, expect the President and his Administration to take
responsibility for the false assurances, faulty evidence and mismanagement of the
war."

The letter then winds on interminably. See for yourself:

Dear Mr. :

I know that Iraq is a subject of interest to you and to many of my
constituents and I want to share with you the following update written on
November 29, 2005.

The war in Iraq is on the minds of many of you who have written or who
have called my office asking questions and expressing frustration.  
When the President addresses the nation tomorrow on the war, the American
people want and deserve to know how we got there, why we are still
there, how we have executed the war and what we should do now.  In short,
the President must explain his plan for the war in Iraq.

There are no quick and easy solutions to the long and drawn out
conflict this Administration triggered that consumes a billion dollars a week,
involves 150,000 American troops, and has cost thousands of American
lives.

I do not believe that we should allow this to be an open-ended
commitment without limits or end.  Nor do I believe that we can or should pull
out of Iraq immediately.  I believe we are at a critical point with the
December 15th elections that should, if successful, allow us to start
bringing home our troops in the coming year, while leaving behind a
smaller contingent in safer areas with greater intelligence and quick
strike capabilities.  This will advance our interests, help fight terrorism
and protect the interests of the Iraqi people.  

In October 2002, I voted for the resolution to authorize the
Administration to use force in Iraq.   I voted for it on the basis of the
evidence presented by the Administration, assurances they gave that they would
first seek to resolve the issue of weapons of mass destruction
peacefully through United Nations sponsored inspections, and the argument that
the resolution was needed because Saddam Hussein never did anything to
comply with his obligations that he was not forced to do.

Their assurances turned out to be empty ones, as the Administration
refused repeated requests from the U.N. inspectors to finish their work.  
And the "evidence" of weapons of mass destruction and links to al Qaeda
turned out to be false.

Based on the information that we have today, Congress never would have
been asked to give the President authority to use force against Iraq.  
And if Congress had been asked, based on what we know now, we never
would have agreed, given the lack of a long-term plan, paltry
international support, the proven absence of weapons of mass destruction, and the
reallocation of troops and resources that might have been used in
Afghanistan to eliminate Bin Laden and al Qaeda, and fully uproot the
Taliban.

Before I voted in 2002, the Administration publicly and privately
assured me that they intended to use their authority to build international
support in order to get the U.N. weapons inspectors back into Iraq, as
articulated by the President in his Cincinnati speech on October 7th,
2002.  As I said in my October 2002 floor statement, I took "the
President at his word that he will try hard to pass a U.N. resolution and will
seek to avoid war, if at all possible."  

Instead, the Bush Administration short-circuited the U.N. inspectors -
the last line of defense against the possibility that our intelligence
was false.  The Administration also abandoned securing a larger
international coalition, alienating many of those who had joined us in
Afghanistan.  

From the start of the war, I have been clear that I believed that the
Administration did not have an adequate plan for what lay ahead.

I take responsibility for my vote, and I, along with a majority of
Americans, expect the President and his Administration to take
responsibility for the false assurances, faulty evidence and mismanagement of the
war.  

Given years of assurances that the war was nearly over and that the
insurgents were in their "last throes," this Administration was either not
being honest with the American people or did not know what was going on
in Iraq.

As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I heard General Eric
Shinseki, the Army Chief of Staff, tell us that it would take several
hundred thousand troops to stabilize Iraq.   He was subsequently mocked and
marginalized by the Bush Administration.

In October 2003, I said "In the last year, however, I have been first
perplexed, then surprised, then amazed, and even outraged and always
frustrated by the implementation of the authority given the President by
this Congress" and "Time and time again, the Administration has had the
opportunity to level with the American people. Unfortunately, they
haven't been willing to do that."

I have continually raised doubts about the President's claims, lack of
planning and execution of the war, while standing firmly in support of
our troops.

* After my first trip to Iraq in November 2003, I returned troubled by
the policies of the Administration and faulted the President for
failing to level with the American public.   At the Council on Foreign
Relations, I chided the President for failing to bring in enough
international partners to quell the insurgency.

* I spoke out often at the Armed Services Committee to Administration
officials pointing out that the estimates they provided about the war,
its length and cost lacked even basic credibility.

* And I challenged Secretary Rumsfeld more than once that he had no
benchmarks to measure actual progress which would lead us to believe we
had a strategy that was working.

* Last month, I signed a letter with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid
and dozens of other Democratic Senators voicing strong concerns that,
without a solid plan, Iraq could become what it was not before the war:
a haven for radical Islamist terrorists determined to attack America,
our allies and our interests.  The letter asked the Administration "to
immediately provide a strategy for success in order to prevent this
outcome."

* Just a few weeks ago, I joined a bipartisan majority in the United
States Senate in voting for an amendment to the Defense Authorization
bill calling upon the President and his Administration to provide answers
and a plan for the war.  

It is time for the President to stop serving up platitudes and present
us with a plan for finishing this war with success and honor - not a
rigid timetable that terrorists can exploit, but a public plan for
winning and concluding the war. And it is past time for the President, Vice
President, or anyone else associated with them to stop impugning the
patriotism of their critics.

Criticism of this Administration's policies should not in any way be
confused with softness against terrorists, inadequate support for
democracy or lack of patriotism.  I am grateful to the men and women of our
armed forces and have been honored to meet them twice in Iraq. They honor
our country every day with their courage, selfless dedication, and
success in battle.   I am also grateful to the thousands of unknown men and
women in our security forces and around the world who have been
fighting the larger war against terrorism, finding terrorists' cells,
arresting them and working to prevent future attacks.  And I applaud the brave
people who have been risking their lives every day to bring democracy
and peace to Afghanistan and Iraq.

I recently returned from visiting Israel and Jordan, seeing first hand
the tragedy of spreading terrorism.  As a New York Senator, I believe
New York has a special bond with the victims of such terrorism, and we
understand both the need to fight terrorism and the need for a clear
plan in Iraq so that we can focus our resources in the right ways to
prevent it from again reaching our shores.

America has a big job to do now.  We must set reasonable goals to
finish what we started and successfully turn over Iraqi security to Iraqis.  
We must deny terrorists the prize they are now seeking in Iraq.  We
must repair the damage done to our reputation.  We must reform our
intelligence system so we never go to war on false premises again.  We must
repair the breach with the Muslim world.  And we must continue to fight
terrorism wherever it exists.  

Like all Americans, I hope the Iraqi elections are a true expression of
democracy, one that is committed to majority rule, minority rights,
women's rights, and the basic rule of law.  I hope these elections will
finally put the Iraqi people on the road to real security and
independence.

If these elections succeed, we should be able to start drawing down our
troops, but we should also plan to continue to help secure the country
and the region with a smaller footprint on an as-needed basis.  I call
on the President both for such a plan and for a full and honest
accounting of the failures of intelligence - something we owe not only to
those killed and wounded and their families, but to all Americans.

We have to continue the fight against terrorism and make sure we apply
America's best values and effective strategies in making our world and
country a better and safer place.  We have to do what is right and
smart in the war against terrorists and pursuit of democracy and security.  
That means repudiating torture which undermines America's values.  That
means reforming intelligence and its use by decision makers.  That
means rejecting the Administration's doctrine of preemptive war and their
preference to going it alone rather than building real international
support.

I know when America leads with its values and fearlessly faces the
facts, we make the best decisions.  That is what is missing at the highest
levels of our government, and what we desperately need now - answers to
the questions about Iraq that only the President can provide.   I hope
he will level with the American people and provide us those answers in
his Annapolis speech and give us the plan that has been sorely lacking.

Sincerely yours,
Hillary Rodham Clinton

by JohnS 2005-12-01 03:15AM | 0 recs
Great post, but the comparison between Feingold
and Kerry is a piece by somebody who supports Feingold and thought that he could win some support for his candidate by having a cheap shot at Kerry on kos's site (we all know to what ends kos would go to attack Kerry).

I love both Kerry and Feingold and his analysis is not helping anybody.  It simply bypass the fact that Feingold was giving an interview for himself while Kerry had to juggle with the very various positions of the Senate for a Democratic response.  So, yes, he had to parse words even more than he would do it normally in a TV interview.  Anybody who saw him this morning on the Daily Show will understand what I mean.

I know many people here hate Kerry for a number of reasons (who amazingly go from he is to conservative to he is too liberal), but you dont have to carry RW talking points to oppose him.  He has inspired a lot of people during the campaign, and, when it comes to non-insiders (ordinary people) he still does.

by hello 2005-12-01 04:52AM | 0 recs
Clarity
After 8 years of Bill Clinton's "triangluation", 4 years of Democratic "moderation" and John Kerry's "ultra-nuanced" approach, I think the Democratic party, particularly it's base, and perhaps the country as a whole, has moved beyond the sort of rationalizing that Sen. Clinton is now using. Nothing against Sen. Clinton. It's just something we don't want to hear.

We want clear answers. That's why we like Feingold. That's why we like Hackett. That's why we like Schweitzer. And perhaps that's why we'll like Warner (I'm putting a lot of hope in you, Governor).

I don't think it's anything Sen. Clinton can say or do. I think it has more to do with what we, the Democratic base, are looking for, and right now, it is not what she represents.

by LiberalFromPA 2005-12-01 09:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Clarity
Though Im not nearly as high on Warner as most people here are, I still say AMEN.
by Andy Katz 2005-12-01 02:04PM | 0 recs
Clarity matters
As an independent voter, I will vote for candidates who don't agree with me on every issue, but I won't vote for candidates I don't feel I can trust, or who seem to be hiding what they really think, or who change what they think with the political winds.
by Lex 2005-12-01 10:57AM | 0 recs

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