Reid on the Surge

I assume there will be endless spleen about this post online:Frankly, I don't believe that more troops is the answer for Iraq. It's a civil war and America should not be policing a Sunni-Shia conflict. In addition, we don't have the additional forces to put in there. We obviously want to support what commanders in the field say they need, but apparently even the Joint Chiefs do not support increased combat forces for Baghdad. My position on Iraq is simple:
  • 1. I believe we should start redeploying troops in 4 to 6 months (The Levin-Reed Plan) and complete the withdrawal of combat forces by the first quarter of 2008. (As laid out by the Iraq Study Group)

  • 2. The President must understand that there can only be a political solution in Iraq, and he must end our nation's open-ended military commitment to that country.

  • 3. These priorities need to be coupled with a renewed diplomatic effort and regional strategy.
I do not support an escalation of the conflict. I support finding a way to bring our troops home and would look at any plan that gave a roadmap to this goal. OMG! Reid said that he doesn't support the surge! Now, I assume that in response to this, all of the bloggers who vented uncounted amounts of plasma into the atmosphere over one poorly phrased sentence on a Sunday morning talk show will apologize for jumping the gun. I am sure that hundreds of people will write posts admitting that focusing on one sentence from the majority leader in response to a "gotcha" question on a Sunday morning talk show was a little premature and frankly unfair to Harry Reid. I mean, we aren't in the position of declaring that because someone, once, made a bad comment about the "surge" in Iraq, that the only thing that matters when it comes to that person's view on the "surge" in Iraq is that one sentence. Surely, we are willing to take a broader view of that person's statements into account before declaring that someone, much less the incoming Senate Majority leader, is in favor of troop escalation in Iraq.

Or, maybe, there are elements in the blogosphere who are exactly like the establishment media that we so decry, and are not willing to cut any Democratic leaders any slack on any statements they ever make. Maybe there are some people, even in the progressive blogosphere, who drool at even the slimmest opportunity to attack Democratic leaders. Maybe the people attacking Reid online were acting exactly like the media pundits who couldn't trip over themselves fast enough to pounce on Kerry's one-word misstatement of a pre-written speech everyone in the media had a copy of beforehand--thereby knowing it was simply a mistake--in order to find any way possible to make Democratic leaders look bad, no matter how utterly unjustified and unfair. Maybe there are some people desperate for any proof that Democratic leaders are not progressive enough to deserve their support, thereby validating their personal identities as purely moral, progressive martyrs who are permanently un-represented by anyone with any actual power in American politics.

I would imply that there were people like this online, but then I would be engaging in the strawmen tactics I often decry. Even if I wasn't doing that, and I named names among bloggers who were unfair to Reid because he made one unfortunate comment, then I would be abusing my podium to make less powerful members of the netroots and blogosphere look bad. And I suppose, if it were not for the outcry, Reid would not have made such a clear statement on his opposition to escalation in Iraq. Or, maybe there was a way to encourage him to do that without acting an an utterly hysterical manner that only fueled the MSM buzz on the subject.

Since I am not going to talk about any of that, my original statement on this entire episode stands: now that we are in the majority, we need to move past endless parsing of the words our leaders say, and focus instead on the policies they intend to pursue. It was ridiculous in the first place to think that Reid supported troop escalation in Iraq, considering that he voted for a timeline thirteen months ago. Even if it wasn't ridiculous, we shouldn't have been parsing his words. Rather,we should have been focusing on his proposed oversight measures and legislative policy proposals, and critiquing those. We are not in the minority anymore, and we are not Republicans. In both cases, this means that our politics is more than our message. It is time we started acting that way. We have to make the transition to power online, too.

Update: What Atrios said.

Tags: Blogosphere, Harry Reid, Iraq (all tags)

Comments

55 Comments

Reagan's legacy to his party

Republicans in the last two decades have become hard-wired to say good things about each other; their first reaction is to defend a fellow Republican who is attacked.

We need to learn this lesson and learn it well.

by stevehigh 2006-12-19 05:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Reagan's legacy to his party

Republicans also take care of their own, which is something the Democrats don't do because they are too busy looking like Republicans.  Reid got taken to the woodshed (we always need to keep their feet to the fire) because he was willing to trust Bush - not for the words he used.  You know, the fool me once thing.  Elected Dems should know better than to trust this group of Republicans, and netroots/voters know better than to trust Dems not to buckle.  Maybe when we get a few more Conyers, Webbs, and Feingolds on board, we can relax a little and have a little faith.  Until then, Hillary, Obama, and the DLC suck up and sell outs need to be watched "loudly" and like a hawk.  

by dkmich 2006-12-20 01:20AM | 0 recs
Where did Reid say he trusted Bush?

I didn't parse that out of anything he said Sunday.

But a lot of folks wanted to beat up on a guy who's spent much if not most of the past weekend at Tim Johnson's bedside.  (Somebody actually said Reid sounded "submissive" -- I think he was just plain dead tired.)

by Phoenix Woman 2006-12-20 03:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Where did Reid say he trusted Bush?

By being willing to "accept as truth" from Bush that troops need to (fill in the blank), he was once again taking the administration at face value.  Reid would never have even brought up the subject of more troops IF Bush hadn't of brought it up first.  By agreeing with Bush - under any circumstance, he again put credance in what Bush was saying.  Ergo - he was will to trust Bush again.

by dkmich 2006-12-21 02:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Reagan's legacy to his party

I think that's right.

by Matt Stoller 2006-12-20 03:57AM | 0 recs
I find your observation tiresome

Conyers has an extraordinarily safe seat. If we confine our admiration to Democrats in his situation, we will find we have only a very few to admire.

Webb has demonstrated only his loyalty to his country, his disloyalty to the Republican Party, and nothing at all to the Democrats because he has been sworn in yet, hasn't take one tough vote. I like and admire the guy, but one reason he is not a sellout is that no one has had the chance to offer him anything.

Feingold said he planned to vote to impeach Clinton which marks him lousy in my book. He can be every bit as self-righteous as Lieberman. The McCain-Feingold campaign reform bill has hurt Democrats and Labor more than Republicans and  corporations.

See how easy it is to talk shit about Democrats?

by stevehigh 2006-12-20 05:14AM | 0 recs
Re: I find your observation tiresome

Webb didn't run as a DINO.  Yes, Conyers has a safe seat.  Your point being that no one can speak the truth unless they can do it safely? No wonder Dems are seen as weak and spineless.

by dkmich 2006-12-21 02:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Reagan's legacy to his party

Reid changed his tune to a better one thanks to public pressure. For too long have Democratic politicians gotten away with paying no heed to their own base. Way to go, Blogosphere, and keep up the good work!

by Liberal Avenger 2006-12-20 07:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

Thank You!  So much!

by leonard145b 2006-12-19 06:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

This is quite a big psychological adjustment for many here, me included.  But the basic fact is this: Democrats control the congress.  I would wager to say that at this point, Democrats are more powerful than Republicans.  For most of the Clinton Presidency, Republicans controlled Congress, but Clinton maintained the upper hand because of political savvy and because of strong public support (approval ratings).  Bush doesn't have a lot of political savvy, and his approval ratings suck.  

by gobacktotexas 2006-12-19 06:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

While I agree with your larger point, did it ever ocurr to you that maybe the way we do pounce our leaders and demand accountability is what causes these changes? Look, Reid did not misspeak, he acted like a coward trying to look all macho and it backfired, and people in the blogoshere held his feet to the fire...did some people go too far? Do some people act like the same MSM they decry? Yes.

But overall, demanding accountability from your leaders on policies, or whacked out statements is not a bad thing. If nobody had said anything, that little correction he posted would not have showed up. We do need to keep useless criticism that serves no one to a minimum, but when the fucking Senate Majority Leader appears to endorse escalation, people are gonna cry foul, and rightly so. The 11th comandment only goes so far....otheriwise you end up a blind follower excusing everything the leadership does for the sake of face saving and holding power.

by need some wood 2006-12-19 06:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

the way we do pounce our leaders and demand accountability is what causes these changes?

I didn't see the show so I don't know about the tone Reid took overall, which is ultimately the most important thing on a sunday show, but I do agree with the above.

While its true that the tooth-gnashing over this may seem overwrought in hindsight, but I doubt there are no hard feelings over this long-run. Given that, I think it's a good thing that people are watching closely and raising a ruckus when they think somethings going wrong.

I mean, it's not all going to be pretty, but the general tone of online political voices is an increasingly vital avenue of public expression. Harry Reid and others are earning trust and respect, and maybe in the coming years they'll build enough to have more people give them the benefit of the doubt.

On substance Chris is right, the transition to power means putting action at the forefront. Policy is more important than word-parsing, yes, but governing -- enacting policy and having it stick and wokr -- is about message too. It's not at though this stuff doesn't matter.

And really, can you really blame people for being a bit over-cautious about backsliding?

by Josh Koenig 2006-12-19 10:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

Yup

by Matt Stoller 2006-12-20 03:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

I knew what he meant when he said it.

I just thought he shouldn't have said it. And I still don't.

If the subject is the deployment of more troops -- an idea that's polling at 11% approval -- the proper play is to invite the president to make his case, and weigh it openly and fairly then.

Responding to a question about a surge with a counterproposal for a different kind of surge was unnecessary and and a foolish risk.

Does I oppose Reid's leadership as a result? No.

by Kagro X 2006-12-19 06:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge
Strange that you would respond to a questiont aht I never asked--that you oppose Reid as leader.

One of my pont was that you used the largest online podium in the country to make consecutive posts on a single sentence Reid said, but I doubt you will spend any time on that same podium pointing out that he corrected the statement.

Which, I am sure, will be the same way the estblishment media acts.
by Chris Bowers 2006-12-19 07:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

Clever use of "I will not use strawmen" as a rhetorical tactic. Good to model the behavior you seek.

by demondeac 2006-12-19 09:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

Is it really that strange? There are others besides you who read this forum, and some of them may have had that question.

As for whether or not you do, who cares? It was a point I thought deserved some attention, because lots of people who do oppose Reid as leader also seized upon his comments, in an entirely different fashion, and used my posts to do it.

You're absolutely right, though. I have no plans to post that he corrected his statement. I understood his statement perfectly, and never took it to mean anything other than what he said. So what would I post on?

It was a mistake when he said it, and now that it's "corrected," it's still a mistake.

What's more like the "establishment media," if you ask me (and since it clearly bothers you, I acknowledge here that you didn't), is the way you've misread what I wrote, and have decided to make an issue of it. Which is pretty much what you accuse the "establishment media" of doing with Reid.

Why do I think you misread it? Because you think a "correction" would be of value to me. And none of my posts were about whether or not Reid "supported" the surge. They were about making the president sell any surge he wanted, and not proposing any that weren't already on the table.

by Kagro X 2006-12-20 03:51AM | 0 recs
Eating One's Own

One of my points was that you used the largest online podium in the country to make consecutive posts on a single sentence Reid said, but I doubt you will spend any time on that same podium pointing out that he corrected the statement.

Of course he won't.  It was mentioned to him repeatedly that Reid later on that day (on C-Span, per Kossack OneCrankyDom)expanded on his statement by saying that the only way he'd back additional troops would be as cover for a withdrawal (which is standard military procedure for when a large military force leaves an area that's not fully pacified).  And even just looking at Reid's ABC This Week comments alone, it was obvious that this is what he meant.  But Kagro and a non-trivial number of other Kossacks blew that off in their eagerness to go Lord of the Flies on Reid.  (One of the commenters over at DKos actually said that Reid sounded "submissive".  Um, hello?!?!  Reid's spent most of the past week at Tim Johnson's bedside.  Could it be that between this and getting ready to take over the Senate, he might be just a wee bit tired?)

I think the eagerness to eat our own stems from a fundamental difference in how the right and left operate in this country.  The farther left one goes, the more likely one is to have a very cynical and morale-destroying view of politics, one that serves to keep one from engaging.  (To be fair, Saul Alinsky, who himself was a committed Communist, tried to get around the American progressives' distaste for long and sustained deep political involvement and the compromises this entails -- coupled with a sort of loser's chic that made certain liberals less likely to back a movement when it actually had a chance of succeeding -- but he didn't get very far before he died in 1972.)  I think that this stems in part -- especially at the extreme-lefty end of the spectrum -- from the doctrine that democracy is but a way station on the road to the Workers' Paradise.  There's also the Leninist idea of "heightening the contradictions", in which it's believed that the best and quickest way to bring about the Workers' Paradise is to assist the capitalist bosses in making life so miserable for the proles that they rise up in revolt; the German Socialists tried that in 1934 when they backed Hitler, and  it was Ralph Nader's reason for being the spoiler in 2000.  (Note also that in 2000, Pat Buchanan peeled off far less of the right-wing vote from Bush than Nader peeled off from Gore -- less than sixth as much, in fact.)

This distaste for deep involvement in democracy is part and parcel of American progressivism and has been since its inception.  (I used to be part of  an e-mail list called "Socialist Liberty", filled with the sort of people who equated Paul Wellstone with Jesse Helms; whenever any prominent Socialist or Communist such as David McReynolds dared run for political office, even as a Socialist or Communist, he or she would get TONS of flak from other Soc/Coms for selling out and buying into a corrupt system that needed to be left alone to die of its own foul weight.)  And this distaste has only got stronger:  Many lefty/progressive groups over the years have got out of electoral politics altogether, even as righty/religious groups have got MORE political; recently there was an article on this phenomenon, but of course I don't remember enough key words from it to find it in Google.

The bitter irony of the American left's long distaste for/retreat from electoral politics -- a  stance that only in the last couple of election cycles is starting to turn around -- is not just that this is happening even as the right-wing churches and other conservative groups are getting more involved in Republican politics; it is that money and time spent in politics pays better dividends in terms of getting what you want than in almost any other field of endeavor.   Here's an example, paraphrased from memory from a writer whose name escapes me (otherwise I'd be linking directly to him):

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett want to spend thirty-odd billion on charitable causes around the world, when just one billion given to, say, DFA would ensure that truly progressive Democrats not only took over the party, but had the resources to go fully mano-a-mano with the Republicans in every single district -- and that would ensure the election of politicians who would back policies that would do much more lasting good than even a thirty-odd-billion-dollar charity could accomplish.  (What's the point of backing a microcredit program in a country that George W. Bush is attacking, either economically or militarily?  Better to get Bush and his fellow travelers out of office first, THEN work on the problems outside of America's borders, knowing that you can do so without America's political leaders working against you.)

Here endeth my rant for the day.  I hope.

by Phoenix Woman 2006-12-20 04:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

And no, I don't approve of everything Reid has done.  But I'm not going to attack him when he's done nothing wrong.

by Phoenix Woman 2006-12-20 04:26AM | 0 recs
Mine goes to Eleven

Too many people have their bullshit detectors set on 11 from the first 6 years of the Bush administration. That was justified by Bush's repeated lies but nothing that Reid, or Pelosi, or Obama, or HRC, or any Dem has done in the last 6 years justifies that level of scrutiny.

Turning the internal bullshit detector down to 5 from 11 is good for your blood pressure and good for your country.

by joejoejoe 2006-12-19 06:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Mine goes to Eleven

Agreed. It will take some time though to build trust.

by Josh Koenig 2006-12-19 10:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

My memory will be a little hazy, and I'm too lazy to find the transcript. But I do believe that the question about the surge came right after a question from George S. about the possibility of cutting off funding for the troops. Reid said no. Then comes the question on the surge. You have to see the expression on the face and not just the words on something like this. It wasn't as if Harry was jumping up and down with enthusiasm. I took his measured response to mean that he would not try to deny funds (even if he could) for the effort.

Again, the context of these questions was along the lines of "Would you try to deny funds" as opposed to "Are You in Favor of a Surge?"

Oh, and one more thing. It's not "The Surge." It's the "McCain Gambit."

by Bob Miller 2006-12-19 06:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

It's not "The Surge." It's the "McCain Gambit."

I like "The Bush/McCain Escalation."

"The Surge" is slick, but I don't think it serves any of our ends. It sounds cool (Surge!) and in implies temporary.

This is likely to be a permanent escalation of hostilities, even if not in total troop numbers. If we escalate and have to draw back boots, that will probably mean more bombing, both from our air force and from insurgents.

Escalation is not just about deployments, it's about ratcheting up the level of the violence overall, which is why it's the wrong idea.

by Josh Koenig 2006-12-19 10:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

The surge question came first. Reid answered that he'd support it only if it were extremely short term and part of a withdrawal plan.

The follow-ups were:

1) How do you know the surge will be temporary?
2) You've said you won't cut off funds. Will you instead condition them on meeting goals and benchmarks?

Reid wouldn't answer either one, which was a separate problem.

by Kagro X 2006-12-20 03:53AM | 0 recs
Wondering...

A week or so ago it came out that Emmanuel sat on his knowledge of the Foley affair for about a year.  Would you decry those that went after Emmanuel?

I understand the point of this post is to ask people that are allied with the general notion that a Democratic majority is a good thing to take a breath and stop hyperventilating at every perceived misstatemnet or boneheaded verbal error.  I don't disagree.

On the other hand, where you won't name names, I will.  Sirota and others (I put myself in his category, if not in his class) provide a value to the party.

In '94, there were all sorts of shenanigans afoot - mailroom scandals, check kiting, etc.  Our majority lost touch with the people - and vis a vis.  With a loud minority constantly pressing the case, we are much more likely to keep our political leaders honest and responsive.

And one more thing:  we still haven't heard anything of substance from either House about exerting their will and bringing about an end to this war.  Reid's plan is garbage - we didn't elect democrats to end the war in a year; we elected Democrats to end the war pronto.  And they can do it.  Nancy has the power of the purse and all it would take is for her to announce that no appropriations for extending the conflict or permanent bases will be passed.  In the alternative, Reid could announce the same thing - either house can bring about finality.  But we aren't hearing any of that.  Instead, we get milquetoast equivocations like the one Reid uttered.

Like I said, I basically agree with you.  I don't think it's to anyone's advantage to be screaming harpies.  If anything I think my contention is one of degree rather than one of substance.  I just allow a lot more room for excitability than you do - especially when we are talking about prolonging an unwinnable "mistake" for another year.  How many lives will be wasted?

by Mike Stark 2006-12-19 06:54PM | 0 recs
or maybe

Or maybe Reid should have potentially angered the Special Olympics crowd by pointing out that you would need to be a fuckin' retard to suggest a surge.

by Bob Brigham 2006-12-19 06:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

Me?

I'm leaving my b.s. detector at eleven, thanks. If you think for a second that Senator Reid didn't reverse field on this one after getting lit up for his stupid support of Bush...

Yer very naive.

If you visit Congress.org you will find a large number of letters to the good Senator telling him that his statement was wrong and that he better mend fences...quick.

That's how democracy works. The people speak and the elected folks listen. Or...

They're fukin' gone.

by Pericles 2006-12-19 06:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge
"If you think for a second that Senator Reid didn't reverse field on this one after getting lit up for his stupid support of Bush..."

Umm... did you read the second to last paragraph? Are you willing to cut anyone any slack? I friggin' said the same thing.
by Chris Bowers 2006-12-19 07:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

Yeah...ya did.

And you are right.

by Pericles 2006-12-30 05:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

Yeah...ya did.

And you are right.

by Pericles 2006-12-30 05:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

"Start redeploying troops in 4 to 6 months"?

The Levin-Reed plan (http://www.senate.gov/~levin/newsroom/re lease.cfm?id=257387) was introduced six months ago today. It called for beginning a phased redeployment "by the end of the year". That's less than two weeks from now.

by darrelplant 2006-12-19 07:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

the whole episode reveals a long term hypocrisy of the blogosphere.

harry reid's position on the war has never been any different than hillary's.  

and one has to regard it as fairly obvious that had barack obama or hillary clinton (dems who don't court and have been openly critical of the blogosphere) said the exact same thing, that petty inconveniences like context would hardly get an iota of attention.

i know what hillary meant when she said we needed more troops after the initial invasion.  that meant she was absolutely uncritical of the war in any way shape or form and passionately hates real progressive principals.   duh!!!

i know what barack obama meant when he said some dems are not altogether tolerant of people of faith.  that meant he wants a cross on voting ballots.  duh!!!

i know what harry reid meant when he said he'd agree to a surge if it got troops out by end of 2007, too.

it meant he was being setup by the media.

and he misspoke.

it was just one sentence.

we need -- for once -- to never forget the context.

and it would be ridiculous to think he would actually support a surge before withdrawal.

we all know what everyone means.   i am certain we do.  even people who choose not to to make their point.

Maybe there are??  but i think i know what you mean.  just maybe about other dems besides Harry Reid.

by Stewieeeee 2006-12-19 07:11PM | 0 recs
Waaah!

"some bloggers" dared to take one of Our Leaders at his word!  

we need to move past endless parsing of the words our leaders say, and focus instead on the policies they intend to pursue.

So we're supposed to ignore what Our Leaders say and assume that they "intend" (at some point, when it's convenient) to do what each of us wants them to do?  In the meantime, though, let's all be sure to not ever criticize Our Leaders, because we should know that they will do what is best.  

And I suppose, if it were not for the outcry, Reid would not have made such a clear statement on his opposition to escalation in Iraq.

You're exactly right.  And that is what, in my opinion, bloggers are supposed to do.  Call bullshit.  Hold powerful people accountable, even if they're Democrats.  

Blind loyalty and deference to authority figures is what Republicans/Conservatives/Fascists do best.  

It really all comes down to what you believe the role of blogs, progressive blogs in particular, should be:

- an extension of the Democratic Party apparatus, whose mission is to control negative opinion and manufacture consensus for policies the Party wants to push

or...

- a bottom-up medium for citizens to communicate with their representatives, to organize and push for policies that will benefit them  

by shystee 2006-12-19 07:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Waaah!

forcing anyone to choose between those two things, imo, weakens both.

by Stewieeeee 2006-12-19 07:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Waaah!

finding cute ways of not addressing somebody's point is weak, imo

by shystee 2006-12-19 09:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Waaah!

if your point was to rebuke anyone who believes the role of blogs is this:

an extension of the Democratic Party apparatus, whose mission is to control negative opinion and manufacture consensus for policies the Party wants to push

in support of those who believe the role of blogs is this:

a bottom-up medium for citizens to communicate with their representatives, to organize and push for policies that will benefit them  

then i think my response is precisely on point.

the binary seems to assume that what the citizens want will never, a priori, coincide with what the party wants, and i guess that's a fair outlook to have.  i'm as cynical as the next person.  but in the rare instance of the wanting to push for things that do benefit citizens, controlling negatives and manufacturing aforementioned consensus can't hurt.

sorry if i was too glib.

by Stewieeeee 2006-12-19 11:04PM | 0 recs
Uh, Chris

I am reminded of a line from The Godfather:

"Who's being naive, Kay?"

The message to the Democratic leadership from the apparently way-too-touchy-for-Chris-Bowers portion of the electorate is simple:  do a better job of appearing on TV.  It matters.

We can never "move past" parsing public statements because neither the Republicans nor the corporate press/media are ever going to "move past" picking apart everything Democrats say in order to make them look bad.

by James Earl 2006-12-19 07:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Uh, Chris
If you want to act exactly like they do, that's fine. But I bet you a lot of money tht it quickly leaves our new majorities with 30% approval ratings by February.

Here is a different approach that I would suggest: point out that the whole game of parsing public statements instead of looking at actual policy is childish, and has led us into an era of unproductive politics. that serves as a broad assualt on our current media culture that could go a long way.
by Chris Bowers 2006-12-19 07:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Uh, Chris

No, I don't want to be like The Others, but I do think we need to be aware of what they will do and conduct ourselves accordingly.

Reid's verbiage didn't surprise me.  It's typical of Washington.  Oliver Willis had a post on a related quote attributed to Chris Dodd.  The headline was The Senate Rots Your Brain.  There seems to be something to that; the last senator elected president was Kennedy, before the soundbite.

I am a little surprised at your vehemence on this.  It is, after all, the normal rattle and hum on a political blog.

by James Earl 2006-12-19 09:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Uh, Chris

"Frankly, I don't believe that more troops is the answer for Iraq."

That's how Reid begins his HuffPo article. That's not the same thing as

"If the commanders on the ground said this is just for a short period of time, we'll go along with that."

which is what he is quoted as saying in the Washington Post article you linked to the other day. If he doesn't think it's the answer, he doesn't think it's the answer. If he's willing to accede to extending Bush's plans for prosecution of the Iraq war, that's an entirely different matter.

And I might point out that it's hardly bloggers alone who questioned Reid's comments. The same WashPo article has these quotes:

"So I think you'd have to ask very serious questions about the utility of this." -- Sen. Jack Reed

"I respect Harry Reid on it, but that's not where I am." -- Sen. Edward Kennedy

What "actual policy" are you suggesting we look at with regard to sending more troops to Iraq? I've been watching the "actual policy" going on there for the past four years. Could you possibly be more specific?

by darrelplant 2006-12-19 10:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

it's true; given the media's history of covering democrats, we obviously have to consider the potential damage of giving our opponents ammo when we're keeping our leaders honest. i sorta think the reid backlash was justified; he needed to clarify that statement and i'm glad he did.

there are usually more republicans (or at least iraq hawks) than democrats on the national shows anyway, so we gotta take better advantage of our opportunities if we want to take the presidency and really turn this thing around. harry's gotta take his game to the next level, he's the MAJORITY leader by golly!

by arbitropia 2006-12-19 07:37PM | 0 recs
Of couse not

Now, I assume that in response to this, all of the bloggers who vented uncounted amounts of plasma into the atmosphere over one poorly phrased sentence on a Sunday morning talk show will apologize for jumping the gun.

Of course not.  Instead, they will take credit for forcing Reid to change positions.

Same as it ever was....

by Disputo 2006-12-19 08:10PM | 0 recs
Btw

Reid's choice of forum (Huffington Post) to post his response does underscore what I have noticed for quite some time -- the adults are leaving DailyKos.

by Disputo 2006-12-19 08:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Btw

Or maybe they go to HuffPo because the common folk are separated from the celebrity.

by PsiFighter37 2006-12-19 09:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

It bother me here when people say Chris is "too touchy" or "too sensitive" or that he used an "unnecessary tone".  What the fuck does that have to do with this!?

For god's sake...he's a fucking person!  Let him express whatever he wants, however he wants.  

And if you haven't figured it out yet...this is how Chris posts.  Not all of the time...but when he feels passionate about a post...we get to feel it.  And that's what I love about him.  He's upfront, emotional, and real.  I'll never forget when he first mentioned that one of his guilty pleasures was Project Runway.  haha.  you got to love it!

by Ian Campbell 2006-12-19 08:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

Here is a different approach that I would suggest: point out that the whole game of parsing public statements instead of looking at actual policy is childish, and has led us into an era of unproductive politics. that serves as a broad assualt on our current media culture that could go a long way.

This could even be useful as the subject of a separate post. It bears repeating

by justathought 2006-12-19 09:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

Its not that we worry so much personally about what our beloved Dems have to say while on TV: WE understand them, and what you say is, true, Chris. But I think we worry more about the future consequences of their words.
We already know how they can use words taken out of context in their smearing ads and media attacks. That's what worries me when they screw up.

I guess we all want them to be a cut above, not torn apart by these assholes in future campaign ads and Media assaults.

But should we bitch at them about it, no, they already know how we feel, we showed them that on November 7th.

by djjimz 2006-12-19 10:09PM | 0 recs
Vietnam

Vietnam was lost because amateurs back in the united states thought that since they could see it on TV they were experts on it.

This entire argument amounted only to a tactical decision that wasn't really in our scope - ie. does the us send in more troops for the last quarter, then bring them back or just pullback now

that decision is one for the generals, isnt it
- this is what I said earlier. since my position is the same, i guess it must still be ok ?

by heyAnita 2006-12-20 02:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

I don't see the problem with how people reacted.  After maybe 6 months it might be different, but we currently have no legislation to go on and we certainly shouldn't cut him any slack untill then.

by sterra 2006-12-20 03:38AM | 0 recs
Chris is complaining about the wrong Dems

What a bunch of bloggers - even the Brain Trust that is MyDD - write about Uncle Harry matters not one jot.

The money quotes following his surge interview came from his two key chairmen on Iraq, Kennedy and Biden.

They more or less said he was barking - my piece on Sunday.

Their voices were a thousand times louder than the bloggers'.

The key point: if there had been proper coordination between senior Dems, it wouldn't have mattered that Reid surged: Kennedy and Biden would have spun for him.

Because they didn't, that tends to prove that coordination on the Iraq issue is lacking.

Pace Chris, I think that that is the real issue.

by skeptic06 2006-12-20 03:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

Chris,

One of the reasons for the 'pounce' is that a fair number of Democratic senators and congressmen have a long history of stabbing the base in the back (e.g., bankruptcy bill, Alito closure fight, estate tax).  Trust is a two way street:  a lot of the Democrats haven't earned it.  Hopefully, they will earn our trust once they starting enacting good legislation.

by mfeld356 2006-12-20 04:32AM | 0 recs
EVERY Word Matters from "leaders",

unless you ain't worth a shit as a leader.

The thugs have been casting about / thrashing about for the next bunch of lies to hide all the crap, AND

the worse our "leaders" are with our message, whatever the fuck that is, the more time the thugs got to figure out their latest pack of EFFECTIVE lies.

Their lies weren't effective in '06 cuz Katrina and Iraq are so bad, NOT cuz we're so good.

IF you can NOT go on Meet The Press, or whatever sunday morning horseshit show he was on,

and attack,
and look nice,
and advance US after decades of US losing,
and NOT fuck up,

then screw you - including Harry.

IF there was some kind of nice easy coherent soundbites from the Dems about their policies, instead of random voices with random messages, imagine how much easier it would be to fight these fascist bastards?

ummmm... but maybe I am asking too much of the opposition 'leaders' from the last 6 years of getting cornered, cowed and crushed by bushco?

rmm.

by seabos84 2006-12-20 06:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

ABC News
December 20, 2006
By HOPE YEN

WASHINGTON Dec 17, 2006 (AP)-- The Senate's top Democrat offered qualified support Sunday for a plan to increase U.S. troops in Iraq, saying it would be acceptable as part of a broader strategy to bring combat forces home by 2008.

President Bush's former secretary of state, however, expressed doubts any troop surge would be effective, noting U.S. forces already are overextended. "The American Army isn't large enough to secure Baghdad," said Colin Powell, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman during the 1991 Gulf War.

Reid: Brief Troop Increase OK in Iraq

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Says He Would Support Temporary Troop Surge in Iraq...

Look, Reid realy, realy said this stupid thing. In the mass media, no less! But we are supposed to overlook this stupidity. Even a most humble blogger such as myself, does not commit idiocies of this magnatude. And I do nt make hundreds of thousands of dollar a year to not make these mistakes. But I am somehow "insensitive" if I am so callous as to not give this overpaid hack a break. Yeah, right!!!

by blues 2006-12-20 12:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

These people are like the guy at Kos who wants to primary every single Dem office rep and senator in order to pull the party to the left.  

by markg8 2006-12-21 09:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on the Surge

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by manuelz 2007-03-09 12:32AM | 0 recs

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