The Democratic Position is to Stop Funding the War

Obama's statements on the war are going to start to hurt his popularity among Democrats. As the article on Raw Story shows, Obama is clearly getting heat now from the Edwards camp for statements about funding of the Iraq war that Obama has been making, and the Republicans are using them against Democrats. Obama is in a bit of a branding dilemma over the Iraq war. His original effort seemed to be pointed toward Clinton-- vote the same as her for continual funding of the war, but continue pointing out that he was right at the beginning. And that probably works against Clinton, but it doesn't really work when he's getting top-tier pressure from a position more in line with the base of the Democratic Party.

Obama's been getting it from the netroots, and is now getting hit from the Edwards camp.

Looking at this from a political analysis, it's beginning to be the frame that Obama's got the movements position on not voting to begin the war, but the establishment's position (or rhetoric) on continuing the war. He's just not staked out the right ground on the war that would be in sync with a movement from within the Democratic Party.

When Obama says that "the vast majority of Democrats" are not interested in cutting funding of the war, he's just plain wrong.

I didn't have a poll back when I first questioned that assertion by Obama, but now we do:

Q50. If George W. Bush vetoes the legislation, do you think Congress should pass another version of the bill that provides funding for the war without any conditions for troop withdrawal, or should Congress refuse to pass any funding bill until Bush agrees to accept conditions for withdrawal?
                                   All   RVs   DEM    IND    GOP
Fund the war without conditions    43    44    24     40     73
Withhold funding until Bush signs  45    45    66     43     21
As I suspected, a vast majority of Democrats want to cut funding for the war, the Independents are split on the issue, and the Republicans have even less support of the funding than I thought was the case.

Overall, the public is split on the issue, so Democrats should be out framing the issue of cutting off funding for the war as one that benefits the troops, not screws them over.

Instead, Obama frames the question of funding of the war, over and over, as one of "making sure they've got the night vision goggles and the armor" for the war.

Obama supporters, I like the guy. I'm glad he didn't support the war, but I think he's hurting himself with his ongoing statements that link funding of the war to supporting the troops on the ground.

Let me pose a question of how Democrats can best gain public support to end the funding of the war (which is the Democratic position). Is it done by framing the end of funding the war as the lack of material support for the troops, or is it done by framing the end of funding as ending the war and bringing home the troops?

Tags: Barack Obama, Iraq War, John Edwards (all tags)



another issue here

is that Obama wants to run as a transformational candidate, but doesn't want to throw away the mostly glowing coverage he has been getting from the gang of 500 in the beltway. I think that has more to do with his framing of this than the fact that he had not counted on Edwards being a top-tier candidate.

I don't think Obama is consciously using a Republican frame--I think he is consciously using a mainstream media frame, which the mainstream media happens to have picked up from the GOP.

Obama will start getting trashed among the punditocracy if he does what Jerome suggests. I think he is not ready to risk that yet.

by desmoinesdem 2007-04-13 06:50AM | 0 recs
Well said, desmoinesdem

It's about making choices--or, Obama's failure to make them. Obama's been trying to make everyone happy and he's been doing a decent job of it. He's gotten praise from both the Nation and John McCain, from both Matt Ygelesias and Joe Klein. David Brooks has said nice things about him, as has Marty Peretz and Andrew Sullivan. He seems slightly more willing to piss off progressives than the establishment centrists.

Well, the honeymoon is over. You can't please both David Brooks and Daily Kos. It's time to choose, and on the question of Iraq, he seems to be making the wrong choice.

by david mizner 2007-04-13 07:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Well said, desmoinesdem

In your opinion.  You don't know its the wrong choice until its all played out.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 09:32AM | 0 recs

Or, to put it a little more bluntly, Obama's dilemma is that he wants to be a transformational candidate, but without actually transforming anything, except our cynicism about people who want to be transformational without transforming anything.

Anyone here ever hear of EST?

by Paul Rosenberg 2007-04-13 07:26AM | 0 recs
Oh my God, EST! Blast from the past
My roommate in NYC did EST complete with being trapped in the room without a bathroom break. Isn't this just the latest in "Postive Thinking"?
I prefer Patricia Limerick's "I'm not OK, You're not OK, and that's OK".  Embrace your dark side.
by Feral Cat 2007-04-13 07:49AM | 0 recs
It is not okay

to keep describing funding caps or defunding as harming the troops.  Obama unintentionlly is prolonging the war by doing so.  He harms the antiwar movement.

by littafi 2007-04-13 08:06AM | 0 recs
Well, you know

it's always been Feingold's secret mission to hurt the troops.

by david mizner 2007-04-13 08:15AM | 0 recs
Re: It is not okay

Stop with the strawman arguments.  Obama is one man, not the entire Antiwar movement.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 09:31AM | 0 recs
Re: It is not okay

Of course, Obama is not the entire antiwar movement. But he is a prominent person who gets a lot of media coverage and who says he opposes the war (he represents himself as an antiwar leader). By using militarist framing, Obama undercuts the framing that the antiwar movement is trying to put out (see RT's message or jsw's message for some examples). Obama's widely covered framing harms the antiwar movement.

There are three ways for Obama to stop hurting the antiwar movement: (1) stop using militarist framing, (2) stop calling himself an antiwar leader, (3) stop getting media publicity. I prefer option 1.

by RandomNonviolence 2007-04-13 10:03AM | 0 recs
Re: It is not okay

Again, that is an absolutely ridiculous arguement to say that one man giving one opinion is hurting the anti-war movement.  Either you think Obama is the most powerful politician in the world, which he isn't, or you are over exagerating.  Should Obama consider changing what he is saying?  Sure.  Is he damaging the anti-war movement?  No.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 11:30AM | 0 recs
Re: It is not okay

A month before the 2006 election, Sherrod Brown voted for the torture bill (Military Commissions, or whatever it was officially called). I still supported him, I still contributed to his campaign, I still voted for him, and I'm still very glad that he was elected. But his vote helped pass this terrible bill and his rhetoric on it, following the lead of John McCain, hurt the anti-war movement. Obviously, he didn't destroy the anti-war movement, but his comments and his vote hurt our cause.

If Obama was not running for the presidency and calling himself a leader of the anti-war movement, then his comments would not be very important. But because he is a serious contender for the presidency and because he represents himself as a leader of the anti-war movement, his comments are very important. When he uses militarist framing, it undercuts what the rest of us are trying to do. And since he gets about a thousand times as much media coverage as the rest of the movement, it has a big impact.

This doesn't mean he is destroying the anti-war movement and it won't survive or that we shouldn't support him. It just means he is hurting our cause.

by RandomNonviolence 2007-04-13 02:16PM | 0 recs
Bringing them home

Here's RT's unofficial Democratic cue-card on the Iraq vote:

1) It's Congress' job to decide whether or not we should be at war, and what our war goals and aims are.

2) Congress, in response to the will of the American people, has decided it's time to bring U.S. participation in Iraq's civil war to an end.

3) Congress has appropriated sufficient funds to keep our soldiers as safe as possible as they withdraw over the next year.

4) The President, by vetoing Congress' bill funding the withdrawal, would be substituting his judgment for that of both Congress and the American people to keep us at war.  That's not his decision to make - that's for the people, speaking through their elected representatives, to decide.

5) If he chooses to decide on his own to stay in Iraq, he can figure out on his own how to fund it.

by RT 2007-04-13 07:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Bringing them home

Couldn't have said it better myself!

by clarkent 2007-04-13 07:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Bringing them home


by RT 2007-04-13 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Bringing them home

I'll note that Obama, from what I've seen, gets points 2 and 4, but then he negates it with claims that the defunding the war will hurt the troops.

by clarkent 2007-04-13 07:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Bringing them home

Indeed - especially absent pointing out that Bush, not Congress, would be defunding the war.

But everything flows from #1 - that it's Congress' job to say whether, and why, we're at war.  If you don't say that, then everything else is on less-than-firm footing.  

But once the issue is framed with Congress being the branch whose role it is to make that call, the rest of it is just falling dominoes: (1) this is our decision, (2) we decided, (3) we funded our decision, (4) it's not the President's decision, and (5) if he wants to be the Decider, he can be the Funder too.

by RT 2007-04-13 09:58AM | 0 recs
I agree, but also

whenever talking about President Bush relative to funding bills, I would include the words irresponsible, patronizing, reckless, stubborn, whining, or immature.

by jallen 2007-04-13 07:13AM | 0 recs
Re: I agree, but also

Fine with me!  I just provided a skeleton; I'm all for creative and effective ways of fleshing it out.

by RT 2007-04-13 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Bringing them home

And you are willing to have that blood on your hands as well if Bush decides to simply send them out there?

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 01:21PM | 0 recs
A real opportunity was missed.

Edwards nailed it when he said to reject funding of the "surge." That would have led to headlines like this: "Polls show public supports Democrats in blocking Iraq funding." That drives the media narrative in a different direction.

Now, it's all about making it clear that Bush is the one vetoing the funding and calling him out on it, rather than suggesting Congress is at fault. Bush is at 30-fricking-percent -- if a candidate doesn't think he or she can beat him on this issue with the American public, then that's not the right candidate.

by MeanBoneII 2007-04-13 07:07AM | 0 recs
Re: The Democratic Position is to Stop Funding the

As the whole veto thing plays out, I think we'll see consensus develop over Obama's strategy to deal with it: 9,CST-NWS-sweet13.article

Obama is, if all things, a realist.  Defunding might seem popular, and is on these sites, but it is a terrible idea and will hurt Democrats immeasurably if followed through.  To pursue it would be foolhardy and give the Republicans the noose they need to hang us with.  Obama realizes this, and I hope we start to as well.  His approach is the best policy:  short allocations of money that keep the pressure on the Republicans as we try to wittle down the votes to overturn the veto in later votes.

To answer the question:  Democrats have to frame the end of war as to be done in a responsible, organized fashion...separate from how it was conducted.

by Nasara 2007-04-13 07:09AM | 0 recs
As you describe it ....

It sounds almost exactly like what Hillary has been saying, and being attack for by many.

by dpANDREWS 2007-04-13 07:29AM | 0 recs
Obama Just Doesn't Get It

To answer the question:  Democrats have to frame the end of war as to be done in a responsible, organized fashion...separate from how it was conducted.
And you can't possibly do this is you keep repeating the GOP frame that cutting funding endangers the troops.

What Democrats need to do is repeatedly say, "We are for funding an organized redeployment, not more of a failed policy.  That's why a timetable for withdrawal has to be part of the supplemental."

But this sort of reframing is precisely what Obama is undercutting.

by Paul Rosenberg 2007-04-13 07:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Just Doesn't Get It


That is exactly the policy Obama presents in his bill.

by Sam I Am 2007-04-13 08:34AM | 0 recs
It's NOT What He Says

Dude's running for President.

If he can't clearly articulate a position--indeed, if he downright saboutages it--then "it's in his bill" is not an excuse.  Indeed, it only damns him further because it shows a lack of resolve.

by Paul Rosenberg 2007-04-13 03:24PM | 0 recs
How does a realist throw away options?

As far as I understand it, Obama is throwing away the option of defunding the war ... but is arguing that funding the troops without strings for a shorter period of time is somehow ratcheting up the pressure.

In what sense is funding the troops without strings for a shorter period ratcheting up the pressure if you telegraph that the next tranche will always be available until the end of President Bush's term of office?

by BruceMcF 2007-04-13 07:43AM | 0 recs
Re: How does a realist throw away options?

Excellent Point!!!!

by pioneer111 2007-04-13 09:19AM | 0 recs
Re: How does a realist throw away options?

No. The whole point is that the short-term funding bills are accompanied by bills that withdraw the troops, and those bills become harder and harder for the Republicans to keep voting against and upholding Bush's vetoes as the war drags on and the election grows closer. Keep putting the Republicans in the position of voting for keeping the troops in Iraq. Do it every month if necessary. Don't let them get through one vote and think it's over for another year.

by KCinDC 2007-04-13 10:22AM | 0 recs
But other than a spending bill, bills to ...

... withdraw the troops have to be veto proof. They have to be signed into law, whereas when Bush vetos a spending bill, he is refusing to fund the troops and failing to provide the resources that will allow the troops to remain.

And that veto proof majority may never come, while the simple majorities for funding tied to withdrawal have already been gathered.

by BruceMcF 2007-04-13 02:12PM | 0 recs
Re: But other than a spending bill, bills to ...

If you think that the media we have is going to be saying that Bush is refusing to fund the troops when a bill doesn't pass because of his veto, you're living in a world very different from mine. Bush has a much bigger megaphone than any Democrat, and we've seen from the coverage of Pelosi how eager the establishment media are to bash the Democratic Congress.

I certainly don't like the situation, but I see no reason to believe Democrats would have any chance of controlling the conversation if Bush decided to be stubborn and veto repeatedly.

by KCinDC 2007-04-14 07:38AM | 0 recs
Re: The Democratic Position is to Stop Funding the

Nasara, i 100% agree with you....For some reason, the blogs thinks that all Americans are for leaving tomorrow...They seemed to forget about what happened in Vietnam when Democrats felt they had public opinion on their side and defunded the troops...Public opinion quicly shifter against them and they've been paying for it for years when it comes to national security..Things went chaotic in Vietnam and a lot of people were massacred for the quick pull out.

The best way for democratic to handle Iraq is to stay out of the way of the GOP war...why do you want to get involve in a GOP war...If you move to defund the war, whatever happen in after, will be blame on you because you decided you was going to get involve.

Let Bush wage his war...It will only hurt Republicans...Just keep asking for a deadline.

People needs to understand that Iraq is a different beast and a sudden withdraw will inflame the territory.

Those blogs talker are taking a huge gamble that even if Iraq becomes another Darfur, they wont be blame for it eventhough they were the one to stop the funding....Ho did that theory go with Vietnam???

When we hear

by JaeHood 2007-04-13 11:42AM | 0 recs
even Republicans want to bring troops home

I saw this at Century of the Common Iowan: Apparently a recent poll of Iowa Republicans shows a majority want to withdraw all troops from Iraq within six months.

John Nichols discusses the poll at Common Dreams here.

by desmoinesdem 2007-04-13 07:14AM | 0 recs
It's not a "war". It's an occupation.

Even leaving aside the obvious formal problem that there's no declaration of war, what our military is doing at this point is not a war.  It's a colonialist occupation -- propped-up local puppet government, diffuse guerilla activity, no clear victory condition, no obvious withdrawal point, no clear rationale for staying other than "we're already here and people are shooting at us."

It's an occupation.

by jsw 2007-04-13 07:19AM | 0 recs
Occupation=Colonial War

Sure it's an occupation.  But so was Vietnam, in both its French and American versions.  Colonial wars are wars occupation.  That's what colonialism is all about: occupying other nations.

And when they get ticked off, well, then you've got yourself a colonial war.  (See 1776.)

by Paul Rosenberg 2007-04-13 07:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Occupation=Colonial War

I fear I was not clear enough.

Yes, of course this is a colonial war, which is resistance to occupation by a foreign power.  I'm not trying to quibble about whether or not people are killing each other.

I'm trying to suggest that as long as we keep calling it a "war", we're suggesting that there's some kind of clear victory condition, that there's a clear enemy, and we're using the Republican militarist frame (a militarist frame that many Americans of different political stripes reflexively share) of this entire colonialist adventure.  

So the goal is to call the situation by a factually correct name that doesn't also reinforce the Republican militarism and "nation at war" revanchism.

by jsw 2007-04-13 09:01AM | 0 recs
Fair Enough

I'm just reminding folks there's a reason why you can't win these things.

People forget, the French "won" in Algeria. They wiped out the resistence. Then a new generation of fighters appeared out of nowhere, and drove them back to France. So, even when you win, you lose.

We should know.  We were the first to kick imperial butt back in 1776.

by Paul Rosenberg 2007-04-13 03:30PM | 0 recs
Or in the words of the WWI song in the trenches ..

... about why they were fighting for such a moonscape ...

We're here because We're here because We're here because We're here,
We're here because We're here because We're here because We're here,
We're here because We're here because We're here because We're here,
We're here because We're here!

You can, if you prefer, sing it to the tune of La Macarena.

by BruceMcF 2007-04-13 07:48AM | 0 recs
My God, You're Right!

You can sing it to the tune of La Macarena.

Maybe the Bavarian Illuminati are behind it all!

by Paul Rosenberg 2007-04-13 03:33PM | 0 recs
Edwards has to be licking his chops. Hillary too.

Edwards is going to claim the anti-war candidate status among the top three, and the Clinton camp is going to rightly point out that Obama's 'a different type of politics' theme is baloney if he is going to keep using the talking points you mention (re: night vision goggle, etc.) and votes the same as Clinton on war funding.

Obama is going to have to walk his talk at some point or his campaign is going to stall.  The buzz surrounding him now isn't going to last forever.

by dpANDREWS 2007-04-13 07:27AM | 0 recs
And You Were Here Folks

The day the candidacy of Barack Obama died.

He has can no longer be an anti-war candidate with his position against defunding and against Reid-Feingold (and for Gregg, against Kerry, against Murtha).

The guy gave on speech 5 years ago and has been wrong ever since.

At a minimum, his netroots support will collapse.

There is only won candidate among the Big Three for Reid-Feingold and Murtha: John Edwards.

by philgoblue 2007-04-13 07:40AM | 0 recs
Re: And You Were Here Folks

Little early for that Phil. Remember, that "won" candidate was carrying Pom Pons in the lead up to the war, and only repudiated his position when it was politically advantageous to do so.

by Benstrader 2007-04-13 07:47AM | 0 recs
Re: And You Were Here Folks

... that was, of course, the same month that Murtha came out against the occupation and the first month that Senator Obama saw fit to give a speech on the occupation.

That 12 months between the end of the 2004 race and Edwards WaPo editorial, while John Edwards was busy with helping his wife with her cancer treatment and setting up his Poverty Center at UNC Law, among other things ...

... would, I think, have given ample time for someone working as a Senator, with consideration of US foreign policy in an overseas entanglement as one of the things he is being paid to do, and who had spoken out against the war at the outset to continue speaking out and advancing the state of the debate, at a time when so few Senators were speaking out.

by BruceMcF 2007-04-13 07:56AM | 0 recs
I agree and commend Edwards

for all of those things. It doesn't change the validity of my previous post.

by Benstrader 2007-04-13 08:22AM | 0 recs
Re: I agree and commend Edwards

In August 2007, Edwards told his staff to begin doing research and options for a major change in his position.  Go look at the Gallup polls from then until the spring of 2007 and you will find that the American public had very mixed feelings about the war.

by philgoblue 2007-04-13 10:10AM | 0 recs
You can't mean 2007

by jallen 2007-04-13 10:18AM | 0 recs
I'm sure he means 2005. Wrong ...

... odd numbered year ... given that November 2005 was when the op-ed was printed (including the admission that his vote was wrong, which seems to have been adamently argued against by his political consultants).

by BruceMcF 2007-04-13 02:14PM | 0 recs
What point are you trying to make?

That Edwards is completely poll driven? To be honest, this post further validates my point.

I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt on your first line "Edwards told his staff to begin doing research and options for a major change in his position." to mean that Edwards changed his position, THEN asked his staff to look into options forward. But in August 2-5 2005 (the year I think you meant), CBS polling found 48% thought the war was going well, 50% thought it was going badly.  45% thought it was making us more prone to terrorist threats, 14% thought it was making us safer from terrorist threats.

Once again, I am not intimating that I know what his thought process was, maybe he changed his mind from the purest of intentions, but he did not do so until it was politically advantageous to do so.

by Benstrader 2007-04-13 11:40AM | 0 recs
Your point is that Edwards is poll-driven?

But that would be a silly claim. He was the most progressive southern Senator elected to the Senate in the 1990's. He established his Poverty Center pre-Katrina, before "poverty" moved up above the noise in polls on issues that Americans were concerned with. His support for organized labor throughout his Senate career and in the two plus years after were obviously not driven by any polling showing a tremendous surge in popularity in organized labor.

I guess what you mean to say is that you think that Edwards is completely poll-driven on this single topic, despite not being poll-driven on any other issue.

by BruceMcF 2007-04-13 02:18PM | 0 recs
So the question comes down to one ...

... of credibility.

The timeline is consistent with either narrative. It is consistent with the decision to support the IWR vote, vote against funding the invasion, and then admit that it was wrong to give Bush the authority in the IWR vote all being made based on a keen political nose for sensing which way the winds are starting to shift.

Its also consistent with those decisions being made in the way and for the reasons John Edwards has said.

So he plausibly is telling the truth, and he plausibly is simply swinging slightly in advance of the political winds because he can sense that they are about to shift.

That's why I look at his actions after the failed 2004 campaign. Starting a Poverty Center, pre-Katrina, is evidence that the Two America's stump speech in 2004 was not just talk. He put his time and effort into an issue that all the conventional wisdom said was "nice", but politically inexpedient.

And, indeed, he would have received advice in 2005 that admitting that he was wrong was politically inexpedient. Indeed, Hillary seems to have decided that admitting that it was a mistake to given George W Bush that authority is never politically expedient, and she was part of one of the most successful teams at judging political expediency that America has ever seen.

by BruceMcF 2007-04-13 02:07PM | 0 recs
Re: And You Were Here Folks

This is the most ridulous post I have seen on here in a good long while.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 11:31AM | 0 recs
Too chickenshit to impeach Bush

Sad, really, considering a number of Republicans would rather be rid of this anchor tied around their necks.

by jcjcjc 2007-04-13 07:30AM | 0 recs
You mean to convict Bush.

The House impeaches (indicts), the Senate convicts or aquits. If the widespread view is correct that the Senate will acquit irrespective of the merit of the charges in the impeachment, then proceeding with an impeachment by the House is a waste of their time.

by BruceMcF 2007-04-13 07:59AM | 0 recs
Re: You mean to convict Bush.

The widespread view is based on where Senators stand right now. But if the House actually impeached and began to hold hearings -- and all the malfeasance that the Bushies have been doing for six years  was actually aired and the American public got incensed enough -- then where Senators stand might change.

I don't know if it would or not, but don't dismiss impeachment based on conventional wisdom. CW said the Democrats were unlikely to win majorities in the House or the Senate in 2006. And CW said economic populists could not win Senate seats in places like Montana, Ohio, and Virginia. But our effort changed the situation and we won.

The current hearings are doing a great job of exposing Bush malfeasance. Impeacment hearings might be even better (or maybe not). Let's wait a month or two and see how things play out. But don't take impeachment off the table -- it could be exactly the right next step.

by RandomNonviolence 2007-04-13 09:30AM | 0 recs
Re: You mean to convict Bush.

I have that the other way around. Hearings ... already underway ... to dig up skeletons may uncover something that will change the situation in the Senate, and if so then impeachment hearings in the House (which are prior to, rather than after, impeachment) would be part of the process of exploiting that opening.

by BruceMcF 2007-04-13 01:30PM | 0 recs
Stop Funding the War

I like Obama well enough, but I have the impression that his main strength is to utter lofty-sounding idealisms in the manner of JFK.   Not that it's a bad model, but he can't get by with that schtick forever.  He has to start articulating really clear policy positions.

by global yokel 2007-04-13 07:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Stop Funding the War

He has on some issues, on others he hasn't.  They will come out over the course of the campaign, unfortunately for many on the netroots who are into the instant gratification of technology, if someone doesn't say it right away, they get upset.

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 11:34AM | 0 recs

I wish Dems would stop talking about defunding the troops and start talking about defunding Halliburton and the War Profiteers.

Our troops deserve more than to be pawns of Neo Conservative Theory. We have an adminstration that has shunned the public mandate for withdrawal in order to serve a military industrial complex which thrives off eternal occupation.

The Bush Administration has had 4 years to get it right, and now they are requesting a war czar, showing they haven't a clue as to what they are doing.

They have broken the commitment they made to the armed services of the nation by invoking endless tours of duty, tearing men and women away from their families for years on end, removing our best and brightest from higher paying jobs which are leaving their families back home in dire financial straits. They have left our brave injured veterans to fend for themselves in rat infested hospitals.

This president has put his pride above the well being of the nation. The 2006 election sent a message to the President. He rejected it. It's time to stop asking, and start withdrawing.

I am a big Obama supporter, and I have faith in his abilities as a leader. But his actions of late reek of a consultant advised general election strategy, which will be the road to nowhere.

by Benstrader 2007-04-13 07:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Framing

Related but unrelated...

FEINSTEIN - goes wobbly on bringing oil companies to account.

FEINSTEIN - Dianne Feinstein resigns committee post amid scandal; accused of war profiteering /

This war is good business for both sides it seems?

And what about that oil deal in Iraq?

by SandThroughTheEyeGlass 2007-04-13 08:42AM | 0 recs
Don't like the frame, but agree w/ the strategy

I agree that Obama needs to do a better job of rejecting the premise that any democrats will cut off funding for the troops.  Obviously a fully funded withdrawal is very different than denying any soldier necessary resources.  That said, I think the strategy he's advocating is preferable to cutting off funds for the mission.  

First, although a funded withdrawal is clearly distinct from "cutting off funding for the troops," that's exactly how the media and the GOP are going to spin it.  And that WILL hurt democrats in 2008.  In contrast, if we simply keep sending back versions of the current supplamental, which I think is what he's advocating in favor of at this point, I think we can break the GOP without our own caucus imploding.  Keep in mind, anti-war guys like Jim Webb are very much against cutting off funds for the war too.

Second, taking that kind of an action now doesn't preclude actually cutting off funding in 3 or 4 months.  Stopping a war from the legislature takes time, in large measure b/c the Senate allows a minority to really slow things down.  That was true during Vietnam and its still true today.  I want everyone home yesterday as well, but I think that will probably take a few steps.  


by HSTruman 2007-04-13 07:47AM | 0 recs
It sounded very much like he was in ...

... favor of continuing to send back the current supplemental, two days ago.

The question is whether he is willing to fight for that, or whether he is happy to declare support for that while at the same time undermining it by pushing the idea that funding without strings on the installment plan is going to be some form of pressure on the White House.

by BruceMcF 2007-04-13 08:01AM | 0 recs
Re: It sounded very much like he was in ...

That's a fair question that I suppose time will help us answer.  I suspect he'll do the right thing, but certainly will support holding him accountable if he doesn't.  

by HSTruman 2007-04-13 08:53AM | 0 recs
To be fair

That poll question refers to the President's veto, and the Democrats plan to insert withdrawal language into the funding. Its not a clear-cut question asking whether Congressional Democrats should cut funding.

Such a poll was taken in late March: s/live/2007-03-26-poll.htm

"8. Would you favor or oppose Congress taking each of the following actions in regards to the war in Iraq?

Denying the funding needed to send any additional U.S. troops to Iraq:
Support 36  Oppose 61  "

by Va Blogger 2007-04-13 07:49AM | 0 recs
My 83 year old Independent Dad says to get the

heck out now.  He's voted for President all over the place, but mostly Republican. (Loved Jimmy Carter, though).  He's been pretty conservative since 2000, but he called last nite to tell me that he knew who he was fighting in WW II. But we don't know who or what we are fighting for in Iraq.  The corporate establishment has had their run.  It's time for the people to have a shot at being at the front of the line.

by Feral Cat 2007-04-13 07:52AM | 0 recs
Re: My 83 year old Independent Dad says to get the

And that is why one should always follow the Powell doctrine for warfare... so you have a clearcut enemy, public support, etc.  Instead Powell caved to pressure, and Rumsfeld was a friggin moron.

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 09:29AM | 0 recs
Time to take a deep breath

Look, I completely agree with the criticism that Obama has been contributing to some unhelpful framing on this issue (then again, that particular framing was pretty well-established before he said anything and doesn't seem very likely to be changed no matter what we do).

I think Obama is right on the substance, though.  I don't think the Reid/Feingold route is the right one to take right now.  It won't play well politically, even with the overwhelming disatisfaction with the war in this country.  People underestimate how powerful the GOP message machine can be when it is working in unison and when the mainstream media accepts their framing of an issue.  The debate will instantly be about endangering troops and if the eventual Democratic nominee supported that measure, he or she will be hammered for it in the general election.

Remember, Clinton/Obama/Edwards will not be running against Bush in '08.  The GOP nominee will have more room to maneuvre on the Iraq issue than Bush does and will have the universal, unflinching support of every Republican (something Bush does not have now).  

If Bush vetos the resolution, the much smarter response at this point is to pass the funding in very small increments so that he has to keep coming back to Congress every month for more money.  That way the headlines will constantly focus on the lack of progress in Iraq and not the supposed Democratic desire cut off supplies to the troops.  

by Anonymous Liberal 2007-04-13 08:00AM | 0 recs
People also don't understand how ...

... important it is for the successful operation of that system for Democrats to continue to play along with longwinded nuanced positions that do not convey their essence in a soundbite.

While the right wing noise machine will not carry a soundbite selected by a large consensus of Democrats, conservative Big Media will do so. However that sound bite has to be able to take a licking and keep on ticking. Its got to stand on its own as a telegram to the American public without the strong messaging support that the right wing sound bites will receive.

"Mr. President, fund the troops."

That'll cut through. All the Joe Sixpack and Soccer Mom voters you want to gather together in a sports bar or at the side of the field at halftime can grasp that.

That is why it is so important that Obama is not telling the base one thing and doing another thing when talking to conservative Big Media.

If Obama will support the idea of sending the current bill back in the event of a Presidential veto, and STFU about caving in to the President on the instalment plan, then that would count as an important contribution to the fight.

by BruceMcF 2007-04-13 08:09AM | 0 recs
A couple of points.

1) We should be trying to end the war rather than hoping to run on it.

2) If Bush vetoes the funding, then he's the one cutting off money AND rejecting the will of the people. If a candidate doesn't think he can beat Mr. 30% Approval Rating on this, that really says it all.

by MeanBoneII 2007-04-13 08:11AM | 0 recs
Re: A couple of points.

1) We should be trying to end the war rather than hoping to run on it.

But that's just not going to happen with Bush in office.  Moreover, pushing hard on Reid/Feingold right now will only unify the Republicans in opposition, thereby making it harder to build a veto-proof coalition that is actually capable of doing something.

2) If Bush vetoes the funding, then he's the one cutting off money AND rejecting the will of the people. If a candidate doesn't think he can beat Mr. 30% Approval Rating on this, that really says it all.

I agree, but it's winning the message battle isn't as easy as you make it out to be.  The mainstream media has already deeply internalize the whole 'cutting off funding' logic and they will trumpet the Republican talking points.  Plus, Clinton/Obama/Edwards are not going to be running against Bush in '08.  They'll be running against a Republican candidate who has much more wiggle-room and the kind of unified Republican support that Bush hasn't had since the '04 election.  

by Anonymous Liberal 2007-04-13 09:12AM | 0 recs
Re: A couple of points.

1) We should be trying to end the war rather than hoping to run on it.

But that's just not going to happen with Bush in office.  Moreover, pushing hard on Reid/Feingold right now will only unify the Republicans in opposition, thereby making it harder to build a veto-proof coalition that is actually capable of doing something.

You think we can put together a veto-proof majority in this Congress?  That's crazy.  the reason that we need to press harder and harder on the Republicans is so we can make it clear to the American people where we and the Republicans stand, so come 2008, they will make the right decision- vote in a Democratic president, and maybe even a filibuster-proof senate.  This is why we must fight.  Compromising (caving) on something acceptable to enough Republicans will only make us complicit in the continuation of this war, and give us zero cred come 2008 when we are saying we want to end it.

by jallen 2007-04-13 09:36AM | 0 recs
Edwards is right on this.

From the article linked above in Jerome's post:

Edwards, who is generally seen to be in third place in the campaign, made it clear with a subsequent comment that he was referring to Obama.

"This is not a game of Chicken. This is not about making friends or keeping Joe Lieberman happy. This is about life and death," he added.

Edwards' reference to "playing chicken" pointed back to an AP interview that Obama gave on April 1 while campaigning in Iowa.

"I think that nobody wants to play chicken with our troops on the ground," he said, according to the Associated Press. "I don't think that we will see a majority of the Senate vote to cut off funding at this stage."

by littafi 2007-04-13 08:11AM | 0 recs
Much tougher...

standing up to fellow Democrats than he was in debating Dick Cheney. Also wish I had seen this backbone when the Swift Boat ads attacked John Kerry relentlessly.

by Benstrader 2007-04-13 08:25AM | 0 recs
This Democrat has

been interested in cutting funding of the war for a long time.  

I wanted the Kerry-Feingold bill to pass last year.  Obama and Clinton voted no.

To me, opposition to the war at the beginning, annd I opposed it, means ending it ASAP, cutting the funding.  I wanted this war over in 2003, 2004, etc.  We supported Dean for that reason in 2003 and 2004.

In his pursuit of the presidency, Obama is harming the antiwar movement,  It likely is unintentional, but it's happening.  

by littafi 2007-04-13 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: This Democrat has

One man is not the antiwar movement.  That's a big strawman argument.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 09:26AM | 0 recs
Re: This Democrat has

Perhaps, but I think my views reflect the majority of those opposed to the war since 2002 and those who have come to oppose the war.  

by littafi 2007-04-13 10:05AM | 0 recs
Re: This Democrat has

I would agree on the netroots, I would disagree elsewhere.  Looking at the number of people against the war, and the number for and against defunding (I'm talking all people, not just Dems) the numbers are much larger for those supporting withdrawal than those supporting Defunding.  

For the record, I Disagree that 66% of dems is a VAST majority, but that is opinion and it is a majority.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 11:39AM | 0 recs
Re: This Democrat has

"One man is not the antiwar movement.  That's a big strawman argument."

Actually it isn't.

While Obama isn't not the antiwar movement, even the smallest part can hurt the whole. The anti war movement will without doubt easily survive and continue to do there work.

To say that Obama cannot hurt the anti war movement, not even in the slightest is not saying that Obama is not that important, but that he is completely inconsequential.

We both know that Obama's is quite consequential. And we both know that his comments will not doom the movement in the slightest, but his comments made their work on this specific subject a little harder non the less.

Not a value judgement on my part, but just an observation of fact.

by Ernst 2007-04-13 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: This Democrat has

there = their

by Ernst 2007-04-13 01:15PM | 0 recs
Re: This Democrat has

I gonna just go ahead an disagree with you on this.  I'm avoiding posting more, because some of the other Bullshit in the comments has gotten me to a point where I would probably start tearing into those who don't deserve it, and since you post is a respectful one, you wouldn't deserve it.

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 01:27PM | 0 recs
Switching from Obama to Edwards

I've been leaning Obama but now the pendulum is swinging towards Edwards. I love Obama's personality and charisma, and I am sure that he would be a great president, but Edwards is more bold and honest. He knows what is at stake in America today: the people vs giant corporations and a lunatic right wing. Obama should have learned from Kerry: don't be too cautious, don't be wishy washy, don't appease the Republicans. Obama has the right values but he is too green and makes the same mistakes as Kerry did in 2004 and Gore in 2000. Edwards has learned from 2004 and is exactly right on the issues and on the messaging. Even though he is pushing an agenda well to the left of any Democratic candidate in recent memory he is still the most popular Democrat in the field.

But let me also say: Hillary must be defeated. That is number one. She will destroy the Democratic party if she wins the nomination. She will lose us 100+ house seats. If Obama is closer to beating Hillary in January 2008 then I will switch back to Obama again.

by Populism2008 2007-04-13 08:26AM | 0 recs
Sorry to hear that

Well, follow your instincts, but I would say consider this:

Do you honestly think Edwards has what it takes to beat Clinton?  In terms of popularity?  Fundraising?  I don't, but that's my opinion.

Also, wasn't the flaw with Kerry and Gore that they didn't have a message, and were just a bunch of walking policy proposals?  That was what I took away from 2000 and 2004.  Obama has a terrific message of both renewal and cooperation, and he has been very consistent about that message and about his policies.  

Edwards in many ways is running a very traditional campaign.  What's Edwards message?  Health care?  Unions?  Two Americas?  White sheets?  Those things are fine, but they don't inspire, and that's what we need in a candidate - someone who gives people a reason to run to the polls.

I like Obama because I think he would be both a good candidate and a good president.

by Nasara 2007-04-13 08:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Sorry to hear that

Also, wasn't the flaw with Kerry and Gore that they didn't have a message, and were just a bunch of walking policy proposals?

That's just it - Edwards does have a clear message backed up with policy proposals: Economic fairness at home, restoring America's moral leadership abroad.

by clarkent 2007-04-13 09:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Sorry to hear that

Just because you don't want to see a message because you don't like him doesn't mean there isn't one.

It's pretty obvious that he has a clear message that is linked and consistent throughout his policy proposals. This isn't just my (and Edwards supporter) opinion. If you've been following the media analysis from the likes of the hotline, EJ Dionne and David Brooks (when they speak on NPR) you'll see that even the punditocracy and insider trade pubs think Edwards has the most focused and clear-cut message of what he wants to do and what he how he wants to change the country.

It's economic populism. It's moral leadership in the world.

by adamterando 2007-04-13 09:42AM | 0 recs
Good answer, thanks

I am not sure that Edwards has what it takes to beat Hillary, and this is what holds me back from becoming a fully convinced Edwards supporter.

by Populism2008 2007-04-13 11:14AM | 0 recs
It's going to be very hard to recover from...

...a third place finish in Iowa. The media will portray that candidate as the LOSER. Edwards will win Iowa. At that point it's going to be Edwards vs. whoever comes in second.

by MeanBoneII 2007-04-13 11:21AM | 0 recs
Tell Obama

He takes questions on his site, and deserves the heat on this one,  so that he knows who he undercuts with his latest rhetoric. gestquestion

This is what I wrote -

Senator Obama -

I have admired your opposition to the war, yet I find your current position to be bereft of leadership. This president has made clear that he will not end this war, that he will not accept timetable for the war, no matter what the American people say. Thus we are given the choice between continuing the war (Congress acquiesing to a lawless President) or ending the war (cutting off funds). Cutting off funds does not endanger the troops, it benefits the troops. It honors their service and dignity by showing that we as people believe they deserve more than to be pawns in neo conservative theory. This President, VP Cheney, Sen. McCain, and Sen. Lieberman are filled with the sin of pride, putting their egos before the welfare of this country. This endless occupation is destroying the armed services, as well as the families of the brave, noble, patriotic, and self sacrificing men and women who serve. What message does it send that while they are willing to put their lives on the line to protect us, we will not do the same to protect them? Framing the issue of Congress doing it's duty to serve the will of the American people as "defunding the troops" is wrong. We are defunding war profiteers and an lawless administration which has no plan (i.e. looking for a war czar 4 years in). Be a leader. Stop asking. Start acting.

by Benstrader 2007-04-13 08:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Tell Obama

"Cutting off funds does not endanger the troops"

I am sorry, but that assertion is simply wrong.

by Sam I Am 2007-04-13 08:40AM | 0 recs

If you buy into the false GOP rhetoric that cutting off funds means freezing the military's bank account today, then it makes sense.

But cutting off funds in Congress simply sets a date for when funds will expire, which will be months later, thus, the Military will have plenty of resources to withdraw and exit responsibly and safely, unless the President chooses otherwise, thus he is the one endangering the troops.

by Benstrader 2007-04-13 08:50AM | 0 recs
Re: How?

This is a bit of an ethical and moral argument.

If Bush continues to fight and troop funding runs out (as you specify above) and he keeps them at war, yes Bush is endangering the troops.  He is the main one endangering them.

Now, you are a politician, and you see what our monster of a President is doing and killing the troops based on stupidity.  You have a chance give them the better equpiment, but you chose not to... knowing or strongly feeling Bush will NOT pull out the troops.  You don't think you would ethically and morally bear some of the responsibility for their deaths.  Not all, not most, but you would bear some.

Even worse, knowing that Bush will do it and knowing that if you give them money they might have a better chance than if they run out of funding and Bush keeps them out there, you are telling me you wouldn't feel guilty about not giving them that money, EVEN if BUSH is the main person responsible for them still being there.

That is the crux of Obama's argument.  If he thought that Bush would pull out the troops if the war was Defunded; I have no doubt in my mind he would support it in a heart beat.  But Obama doesn't think Bush will pull them out.  He is pretty sure that Bush will keep them out in the field as the funding runs down and eventually out.  He is pretty sure that Bush will have no problem taking an End justifies the means approach and will undersupport the soldiers, causing more deaths if it will win the war.  He thinks this based on the substandard equipment that many personnel have gotten during the years of the war.  

Now he may be wrong... Bush might be forced to pull out if Congress defunds much like what happened in Vietnam.  Edwards and others are willing to take the gamble that Bush, like Nixon with Vietnam, is more of a human being than he lets on, and wouldn't put them in harms way if they weren't going to get the necessary money to continue the war.  This is a High Risk and High Reward proposition, it could lead to the end of the war, but if Bush decides to not withdraw and underfund the troops, it could also mean the deaths of a lot more men and women.  Obama's is the safe approach.  He supports withdrawal, but if there is no way that the War will end and Bush will not withdraw for any reason, he wants to make sure that the troops will not be put into a worse situation.

This all hinges on two big issues... Would Bush actually remove the troops in the face of a Withdrawal and Defunding Bill being passed and would the Senate be willing to back it up with an impeachment conviction if he won't?  If you or any politician thinks he will remove the troops and the Senate would back up Bush's refusal with an impeachment conviction, the taking Edwards and others approach is the right way to go.  If you are pretty damn sure that Bush is going to keep those troops in Iraq even if the money runs out

To Obama, this is a moral decision, not a political one (as evidenced by the fact a majority of Dems support defunding)... he supports the moral end of the war (which is proven with his Iraq bill and his support of the supplemental bill), but he feels so strongly that Bush will not remove the troops even if defunding is passed, that his moral position is that if the war WILL NOT END, he'd rather make sure the troops are fully funded than the troops not having the necessary support because of lack of funding.  Morally, he doesn't want to feel responsible or guilty for the deaths of a lot more troops that could possibly be saved if the funds are there... in the event Bush is willing to fight an illegal war.  

Can he say it better?  Absolutely.  But to say he is pro-war is simply not true.  He isn't pro-war.  He wants to end this war.  He just distrusts Bush to follow the law and actually do it.  He distrusts Bush to act like a human being.  

That's a main reason I support his plan and defunding makes me nervous... my distrust in Bush to follow the law and End the war or do the right thing and remove the troops if the funding disappeers is so great and my distrust in the GOP to do the right thing and support impeachment conviction if Bush breaks the law and doesn't follow a congressional mandated withdrawal is great.  At this point, I think the best approach is the 3 month funding, it sends a message.

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 12:30PM | 0 recs
Re: How?

If Bush is willing to keep troops in the field even without authorized funding, then he is probably willing to spend money he has not been authorized to keep the troops going. And, of course, when the funding runs out, the support troops won't all quit and refuse to service the combat troops. They'll continue working and just not get paid (or maybe Bush will pay them anyway). And the defense contractors will probably just keep producing equipment even though they don't have contracts, assuming that they will eventually be paid.

So the troops are not likely to be cut off. However, this path will provoke a political crisis (and maybe a military mutiny). And Bush, refusing to obey the law and refusing to negoitate with Congres, will not look very good. Already, most people in this country think he's arrogant, bullheaded, and doing a very bad job. Refusing to obey the law or negotiate should cause even more people to think it is time to impeach him and put someone responsible in place.

Continuing to fund the war because Bush is a callous warmonger is a pretty terrible option. Enabling a madman is unconscienable. If that is really Obama's thinking, then I expect a lot of his supporters would be appalled.

by RandomNonviolence 2007-04-13 02:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Tell Obama

Your comment requires explanation.  Why exactly do you think a fully funded withdrawal endanges anyone?

by HSTruman 2007-04-13 09:03AM | 0 recs
Off target.

Are we still taking Obama to the woodshed with a remark that he made over a a week ago...?

Also, my understanding he wasn't referring to Democrats in general - like us -- but the supposed Democrats that 'he' plays with in the Senate.  The ones' that behind the scenes, have a strategy to drag the war out until 2009, coz it's good for the election, the ones' the Senators that wring their hands in public about the war, but WILL not vote to stop funding?

I dunno it's seemed pretty obvious to me what Obama was alluding to.

by SandThroughTheEyeGlass 2007-04-13 08:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Off target.

I would say it is for his comments yesterday that he is not at the place yet where he will vote to cut off funding, and more generally, not backing Reid-Feingold or the Murtha plan.

I would also say that much of the criticism is about his failure to lead on the issue, when his website boasts of LEADERSHIP ON IRAQ. OPPOSED TO THE WAR FROM THE START, CLEAR PLAN TO END IT.

I never thought I'd say it, but Rahm put it well -  "The President and his stay the course plan are increasingly unpopular. A Time Magazine poll released a little more than a week ago found that, when given a choice, 68% of Americans endorsed a proposal to withdraw combat troops compared to 28% who favored maintaining troops in Iraq 'as long as needed until the Iraqis can handle the situation themselves.' This is a clear comparison between our plan, which the American people overwhelmingly support, and the President's plan."

by Benstrader 2007-04-13 08:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Off target.

I agree with the leadership part... but again with him presumably being a DLC outsider, as Feingold is, he would be really hanging himself out there, if he tried to lead and try and cut off funding without backing from his own party about withdrawal plans, and firm benchmarks that a majority of the DLC senators are definitely not interested in, and as past actions have shown would be all to ready to stab him in the back if he did...?

Also, with regards Rahm, I will give him some credit for finally coming out and stating the obvious about what the people want, but what I'm more interested in is how much the spending bill relates to what we want?

BECAUSE, it's my understanding (pls correct me if I'm wrong) that the House and Senate bill hasn't been conference committee yet? -- but Rahm (DLC) and Holbrooke are already coming out in the media saying that Democrats are going to be presenting to Bush basically the Senate non-binding bill, ignoring and already bargained away many of the aspects of the stronger house bill? -- i.e. with no withdrawal plan, and more importantly no achievable verifible benchmarks...?  All that's being left as Holbrooke says is A GOAL?

Does our fight with the WH really stop here?

To be honest, I think Obama is wise to hold-off for the time being.

by SandThroughTheEyeGlass 2007-04-13 10:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Off target.

All true. My only response would be that Feingold has put himself out there time and time again, always with the Beltway CW saying that it's political suicide, only to be proven right in the end.

While holding off could be a prudent move, it belies the leadership on Iraq message.

by Benstrader 2007-04-13 12:03PM | 0 recs
And it turns out, back on Fox...

turns out the report was true and has been confirmed by the Obama campaign. electioncentral/2007/apr/13/yes_obama_di d_an_interview_with_fox_0

not going to make a diary on this like yesterday, Obama seems to be having a hard time here enough as it is.

by okamichan13 2007-04-13 08:53AM | 0 recs
Re: And it turns out, back on Fox...

SO be it.  I don't think it really is that big of a deal.  One interview is one thing and it wasn't exclusive, he did it for all the stations.  As long as he doesn't repeatedly go on it, or give them exclusives, then I don't have a problem with it.

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: The Democratic Position is to Stop Funding the

Barrack Obama is the new Joe Liebermann; pursuing a cynical course of appealing to the netroots and the vast majority of citizens who want out of Iraq while assuring his backstage backers that nothing will change on the ground in The MeatGrinder through carefully measured comments which he 'explains away' by standing on 'principle'. What's that when it's at home Barrack?

His equivocation and Janus like approach has made my decision for me.

It's Edwards all the way.

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out Senator Liebermann Obama.

by Pericles 2007-04-13 08:55AM | 0 recs
Re: The Democratic Position is to Stop Funding the

I saw the democrats in the wilderness for many years after defunding a war that was unpopular because the people who could not think in reality demanded it.  When  they did what the demanding ones wanted they paid the price for decades.  

The armchair generals on the left think this is the only way to end it.  Sorry but, what will happen is you will kill more soliders who Bush will take his anger out on.

Edwards is thinking pie in the sky and his followers are not seeing that all he is doing is pandering and throwing red meat.  This is the same guy who wants the death penality and voted for this damn mess that people like Obama are now trying to find a responsible way out without the troops suffering more.

Rah rah for Edwards.  It is his fault he voted for it but, people like mydd think he is wonderful and the people left holding the bag are to blame.

by vwcat 2007-04-13 09:04AM | 0 recs
Re: The Democratic Position is to Stop Funding the

I saw the democrats in the wilderness for many years after defunding a war that was unpopular because the people who could not think in reality demanded it.  When  they did what the demanding ones wanted they paid the price for decades.

That's BS. The Democrats lost their edge on national security because they got us into Vietnam, not because they got us out.

by clarkent 2007-04-13 09:14AM | 0 recs
Re: The Democratic Position is to Stop Funding the

Actually I would say its because Reagan increased Military spending to ridiculous amounts and then along with the Burgeoning RWNM, spun it that GOPers were strong on National Security.  The collapse of the Berlin Wall and the USSR during Republican Presidencies didn't help at all and letting the GOP continuiously attack Bill for his lack of military service and not spinning that properly put the nail into the coffin... until W's incompetence dug up the grave and reanimated the corpse.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 09:18AM | 0 recs
Re: The Democratic Position is to Stop Funding the

You might say that, but you'd be wrong. The Democrats lost their lead on national security in 1967 with a Democratic president intent on increased US involvement in Vietnam.

by clarkent 2007-04-13 09:38AM | 0 recs
Re: The Democratic Position is to Stop Funding the

I'd have to disagree with you on that and say you are a bit wrong... It may have been the beginning of it, but the entrenched argument that exists today is due to the Reagan era.  

Guess we will have to agree to disagree.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 12:33PM | 0 recs
Re: The Democratic Position is to Stop Funding the

Guess we will have to agree to disagree.

I suppose so, but you really should look at the polling. The Democratic advantage on national security was lost in 1967, as we became more enmeshed in Vietnam. The gap has been wide ever since, but we made some gains after defunding the Vietnam War, and in the first part of both the Carter Administration and both of Reagan's terms. We also gained at the end of the 80s.

by clarkent 2007-04-14 10:14AM | 0 recs
Great Comment

Note that jerome and other defunding advocates are more concerned about framing than the actual consequences of their policy.

They can even win the frame war for the time being, but these chickens will come home to roost.

Feingold and Kucinich.  God love 'em.  I sure do.  They have every right to say and believe what they want.  We're a big tent.  To the right and the left.

But if this became a party platform policy, we're screwed.

Even if the framing worked for now, we'd be screwed on this eventually.

And as you note, there are other ways to go about bringing the troops home.

by Stewieeeee 2007-04-13 09:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Great Comment

Unfortunately with a monster like Bush, I don't think Defunding will work.  I think impeachment or a new president is the only way this war is going to end.  Bush will defy congress and use signing statements and will invoke a showdown... and I'm not sure if we can get that many GOPers to support impeachment and removal.

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 09:20AM | 0 recs
Posts of Vehemency and Posts of Civility

My position with some of your posts wasn't what you were saying, it was how you were saying it.  When people call him a traitor or an empty suit (and not you didn't use these exact words) and that sort of labeling, thats going to inflame any strong supporter of a candidate.  Imagine your (or anyone elses) reaction if someone called Warner that when you were working for him, or if they called Dean or called Edwards an Empty Smile (all Smile and No Brains) as I heard some GOPers call him in 2004.  That's the kind of crap that sets me off and comes off as attacking.  I'm not going to call anyone out here now, but there are several very vehement supporters of CLinton and Edwards who constantly do this on a regular basis... and as an Obama supporter when they do, it pretty much feels like a direct insult to myself and the many other Obama supporters on here.  The really hypocritical part is when they then rail against anyone who says the same thing about their candidates (such as an Obama supporter using the Pretty Boy statement on Edwards)... of course there are Obama fans just as guilty, myself included although I am trying.

I am fine with critical posts on my candidate and really anyone should be.  THere are people on MyDD who give rational critiques... and if they jump the gun on the story, they will apologize and admit being wrong.  I try to do this (and I have gotten some Edwards facts wrong like misreading the article with the Feminist who I thought said Edwards would be the equivalent of the first female president, but unfortunately I misread it and was wrong... she didn't say it; much like the reporter with the Elizabeth Edwards AP story, the reporter on that story took a LOT of liberties... and I misread it as well. and when shown I was wrong, I apologized and admitted it), people like Okamichigan13 and Jallen try to do this too.  Tarheel is decently good with it too.  Those people have earned my respect for offering valid criticisms in a respectful way and not hurling insults at the candidates like Teenagers or school children.  For the most part they realize that with emotions running high, people take insults toward their candidate personally and try not to do so.  Are they perfect (and am I)?  No, but we all do try.  Others could learn that lesson well.

As to your post, I thought it was excellent and respectful to the candidate and to his supporters.  You said you think he is hurting himself and you disagree with him and that to me is a very respectful, courteous position.  Your writing reflects that well in this post, and as a passionate Obama supporter who has been an active regular on MyDD for 3 years now, I appreciate that more than words can describe.  I hope others will see this as model of discourse when discussing progressive and Democratic candidates and stop creating diaries either pulling a faux news and trying to spin a particular comment in a different way than the candidate meant (which I have seen supporters on all 3 sides do) or just vehemently insulting the candidate.  Hopefully they will work to propel the debate so that when criticisms arrise, those people, like myself and other passionate supporters of candidates can bring their prospective to the candidate specific blogs and their supporters, as I did with Obama and the Fox News and CBC debate.  I'm not foolish enough to say I was responsible, but on his official HQ blog when I said it needed to happen, A LOT of debate popped up and I think if the candidate doesn't read it, some advisors are.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 09:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Posts of Vehemency and Posts of Civility

Well said.  Good debate is healthy and it is important to keep all candidates' feet to the fire.  but trashing candidates and misrepresenting their views is not helpful to our overall goals.  I was disappointed in a few posters on Dkos who continually harangue on Edwards war vote.  Then it becomes a flame war.  Obama and Edwards are both good candidates.  

I support Edwards and see Obama making missteps.  But I'm sure that all candidates will make missteps.  Although I would rather not have this issue to complain about Obama.  I'd rather we were all on the same page with bringing the troops home.  It is too important.  I do think he is wrong, but some seem to agree with him.

by pioneer111 2007-04-13 09:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Posts of Vehemency and Posts of Civility

And that's fine with me.  I don't support defunding more because of the fact i don't trust Bush to do the right thing and withdraw if funding runs out, nor do i trust Senate Republicans to convict if he defies Congress and breaks the law on withdrawal.  That's why I think morally Obama is taking the right approach; he wants to end the war, but he doesn't trust Bush to obey the law and do it.

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 12:40PM | 0 recs
Re: The Democratic Position is to Stop Funding the

I personally think some of the netroots attacking of Obama has more to do with pouting because Edwards is  mired in 3rd and so, they hope to turn people against Obama.

by vwcat 2007-04-13 09:15AM | 0 recs
Re: The Democratic Position is to Stop Funding the

Maybe, maybe not.  But you don't help your cause and come off like a jerk when you constantly say it.  Say it once, don't repeat ad nauseum.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 09:22AM | 0 recs
False choice

The poll presents two opposite choices, neither of which is Obama's position.  

I'm willing to wager that if it was a 3 choice poll (adding in an option such as short term funding, or a revised proposal) that something between these two options WOULD be supported by the vast majority of people.  

by GaryK 2007-04-13 09:17AM | 0 recs
This is ridiculous.

Let's see what the Edwards camp said about the war: TOTAL WITHDRAWAL except for "preventing sectarian violence fro spilling over into other countries," "protecting Americans doing humanitarian work," and "protecting embassies."

Did you ever bother honestly parsing that statement?

I hate to break it to you, but "Preventing sectarian violence from spilling over," at the very least, means making Kurdistan an American protectorate. Because eastern Turkey is majority Kurdish and wants to become part of Kurdistan, and the Turks' chief general, who is now attacking PKK forces in Turkey, wants to move into Kurdistan proper, "to root out Kurds giving sustenance to Kurdish insurgency in Turkey." Sound familiar? And Iranian Kurds have been waging guerrilla warfare against the Iranian government for years. Furthermore, since there are pro-American Sunni tribes fighting sectarian war against generally anti-American Shiites and anti-American Sunnis (many Sunnis are coming from Saudi Arabia and Syria), that leaves the door wide open for permanent American involvement with the Sunnis as well.

As for the humanitarian work, that can mean anything anybody wants it to mean -- including protecting the US troops, which are doing a hell of a lot more humanitarian work than any NGO -- so I won't even bother parsing it.

And as for the embassy thing, that could mean different things too. But fundamentally Edwards isn't offering a different recipe from Hillary even if he is couching it in pandertastic language.

Richardson is simply pandering, period. You can believe him all you want, but that's the way it is. Whichever Democrat gets inaugurated will be a prisoner of a lot of Bush's choices, and although lots of Democrats and more than a few Republicans wish that were not the case, it is the case.

As far as withholding money is concerned, you had better game that one out so you know exactly what you're doing. Fundamentally, this bill is shot through with pork, so Bush will be able to veto it and sustain the veto. Bush -- and more importantly the Army itself -- have the guns, and Edwards and Richardson can play a great semantic game but in the end, the Pentagon can shift funds from other government agencies and cause a non-Pentagon shutdown over war funding. In that event, Republicans and conservative independents will rally to Bush.

Obama is being honest. He may have "given the game away," but actually defunding the war and micromanaging it would be suicidal. Democrats have built up no little sympathy within the Pentagon, but the Pentagon would bash the hell out of the Democrats if this came to pass.

The public blames the GOP for national security problems now. It does not blame the generals. Given a choice between the generals and Pelosi/Reid on the national security crucible, who do you think will win?

by jforshaw 2007-04-13 09:26AM | 0 recs
Re: This IS ridiculous.

You are just flat out incorrect, those troops will be outside Iraq.

Face, it, it's over.  Obama is no longer seriously anti-war.

by philgoblue 2007-04-13 10:17AM | 0 recs
lol no kidding they will be outside of Iraq

Kurdistan will be its own country by then, so the American troops will have been withdrawn from Iraq! Touche! Edwards 2008!

by jforshaw 2007-04-13 10:36AM | 0 recs
Re: This IS ridiculous.

That's just wrong.  Supporting withdrawal means you are trying to end the war.  His non-support of funding is based off a distrust of Bush to do the right thing.  He may not go far enough for you and that's an argument I can respect, but to say Obama isn't against the war is a ridiculous argument.  Don't make those ridiculous statements, you are a much better person than that.

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 12:51PM | 0 recs
Re: This IS ridiculous.

So if not Kurdistan, where do you think they'll be? Not Iran or Syria, obviously. Turkey, who is so pissed about spilling sectarianism that it wants to invade Kurdistan (n. Iraq)? Remember, Turkey denied the US basing/operational rights for the original invasion, so Turkey's out.

The Sunnis and Shias are fighting over Iraq. The potential for sectarian spillover is entirely encapsulated in Kurdistan.

We also happen to have no friends in that area, except for Kurdistan. Assuming Edwards has any clue about what he's talking about, the bases will be in Kurdistan. This is no different from what Hillary is saying.

I knew foreign policy was never Edwards' strong suit, but give me a break.

by jforshaw 2007-04-13 01:09PM | 0 recs
Obama's position on funding

Considering Obama's ever-changing position I find it frightening that he won the MoveOn debate.

by Rob Joseph 2007-04-13 10:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's position on funding

He didn't among those who actually watched at a party.  He came in a distant third.

by philgoblue 2007-04-13 10:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's position on funding

I am not worried about Edwards or his camp because he will be out of money and out of the race within 6 months. Him and his camp are grasping for air by trying to attack Obama.

Obama will so blow him out of the water like he did the Clintons

by mdiogu 2007-04-13 12:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's position on funding

At the party, not among people who watched or listened at home.

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 12:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's position on funding

His position on this has never changed.  He has been against it from day one, He has been for withdrawal, but doesn't trust Bush enough to remove the troops if the funds disappeer.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 12:53PM | 0 recs
'Withhold' is not the same thing as 'cut-off'

Your entire premise is flawed. Obama is right that the vast majority of Democrats don't want to cut-off funding of the war, in the sense of depriving the troops of support while they're in the field. That doesn't mean that we don't also want Bush to sign the supplemental (with funding), as long as there are strings attached, especially a timeline.

I, for one, would have answered the poll in the way most Dems did: I want to withhold funding UNTIL BUSH SIGNS a supplemental with strings attached. I don't want to cut off support for our troops. Does that make sense? Can you see now what Obama is saying?

by James Gatz 2007-04-13 10:57AM | 0 recs
Re: 'Withhold' is not the same thing as 'cut-off'

I don't think that is what Obama has said in his statements, he is speaking about funding the war.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-04-13 12:44PM | 0 recs
Re: 'Withhold' is not the same thing as 'cut-off'

He is also saying he doesn't trust Bush to follow the law and act like a human being and remove the troops if the funding is gone.

by yitbos96bb 2007-04-13 12:55PM | 0 recs
Re: The Democratic Position is to Stop Funding the

Obama's position is realistic...Anyone that thinks that we can defund the war anytimne soon, are just dreaming....How can you defund the war when you have troops on the scene??....Sometimes, it boggles my mind when i hear people on the blogs writes very extreme stuff like this.

Obama is just speaking plain truth....The Liberal base might go along with leaving Iraq tomorrow, but if things goes chaotic in Iraq, the Dems will be blame for that, and dont tell me you will be able to point your finger at push.

We were careless getting in, now we cant recklessy leave and have another darfur in our hands.

As long as Bush is President, this war will keep going...

Obama is for a deadline..Give Bush untill the end of his presidency to end this war, and once a new democratic president is elected, he/she will do whatever she/he has to do to end the war.

Bush will not withdraw troops out of Iraq and i hope some people would stop being unrealistic about leaving tomorrow.

by JaeHood 2007-04-13 11:23AM | 0 recs
Re: this is ridiculous

jforshaw: I agree about Edwards Iraq plan.

Edwards position about withdrawing but staying near gives the impression that the troops will be out of harms way.  The only way American troops will not be engaged in the region is to be out of the region.  You can't prevent genocide and spillover as bystanders.  It's also not going to take just a few troops to do all the things he wants to do under his plan. Unless Richardson clarifies his ,"no residual troops in Iraq" to include AND THE REGION, then his plan is also no different than Edwards, which I don't think is all that different than Hillary's or Obama's.  All of their plans will mean troops in and/or around Iraq, but still engaged with Iraq militarily.

I'm a Hillary supporter, but I am not here to sell her plan.  You know what it is and you may agree or disagree.  I am really trying to point out what I think is big thing that is often overlooked in the discussion about the Edwards plan.  

by Kingstongirl 2007-04-13 01:14PM | 0 recs


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