Is the Public Ahead of the Netroots on Iraq?
by Matt Stoller, Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 06:27:23 PM EST
This Washington Post/ABC News poll has some interesting information.
Would you support or oppose Congress trying to block Bush's plan by creating new rules on troop training and rest time that would limit the number of troops available for duty in Iraq?
Support: 58 percent
Oppose: 39 percent
Unknown: 4 percent
If the AP story Sirota cites below is correct, then the Democratic leadership is way behind the public on Iraq. And what about us? These are the leadership poll results from late November.
I don't know if these have changed much, and I hope they have dropped somewhat. Dean is hurting us in Nevada, Pelosi is not able to manage the mandate on Iraq, and Reid is a disaster in the Senate. Our leaders do not respect our politics, but more importantly, they do not seem to respect the public will. And that means that come 2008, it's going to be Hillary Clinton, otherwise known as John Kerry redux, versus Rudy Reagan Giuliani.
I would hope that we change our behavior and hold our party accountable soon. The mechanism for doing so is criticism, and perhaps primary challenges against some prominent Democrats who are among the worst of our obstacles. I'm not going to pretend like I will be able to rustle up primary challenges through the blogs - that's not what happens. These things occur locally and organically. But I will support any credible primary challenger who goes up against a party centrist that has hurt our framing on Iraq, or is unwilling to stick their neck out for key progressive policies. And yes, that means progressive caucus members should no longer be able to coast on their voting records while putting forward eighty five different plans for Iraq without talking to each other.
You may not want to believe it, but the DLC is still in charge of the party in the form of the New Democrat and Blue Dog caucuses, as well as a whole crew of consultants warning the party off of dealing with Iraq. Business lobbyist centrists rule the roost, with progressives pushed to the side everywhere from the think tank world to Congress to the Presidentials (no, there is no progressive in the race, and though several have instincts that way no one has developed yet into a genuine liberal).
This is unusual, and possibly a first in the history of the netroots - we have leaders to which we are loyal that are nonetheless not representing us. In 2002, we led the public on Iraq, believing it was a bad war before most others did, and we called out Democrats. In 2005, we led on Social Security, making the right call before all the Democrats did, calling out bad Democrats. Now, however, we are willing to cut slack for our leaders, even though they are very wrong and the polls show they are wrong. Never before have we been unwilling to criticize our leaders for making the wrong decisions. Never before have we had a leader we believed in make an unprincipled choice, and held them accountable. If we don't acknowledge this and begin to hold our leaders accountable, we will be for the first time behind the public that we have heretofore led. And if we are not careful, we will become just another calculating interest group to be placated with occasional red meat rhetoric, beholden to the soulless rhythms of the DC media machine as we delude ourselves into believing we are principled and somehow different from all the outsiders-turned-insiders who have come before us.