Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

Now that it appears we have at least temporarily suffered a setback in the fight on Iraq, one of the things I expect many progressive bloggers will point out is that public opinion is overwhelmingly behind the idea of a timetable. Thus, it will be argued, because public opinion is on our side, Democrats should not have backed down to a series of veto threats from Bush. In the extended entry, as one means of exploring this idea, I include some numbers on public opinion and Iraq showing how the public is actually of two minds on how extensively Democrats should challenge Bush. Yes, the public wants the war to end, but it is unclear how far the public wants Democrats to go in opposing Bush in order to actually make it end.

Also, it is unclear how much public opinion really has to do with any of this anyway. A few weeks ago, only two Republicans in the House voted to override Bush's veto, just as only two Republicans in the Senate voted for the timeline. In the end, the Democratic leadership has neither the short-term ability to override Bush's veto, nor the somewhat less short-term ability to prevent enough Democrats from joining with Republicans to pass a total blank check. That is an issue of political power, not one of ethics or public opinion. Speaking in terms of power, the situation could have been handled much better politically, especially by not creating a self-imposed Friday deadline before funds were released unconditionally. That self-imposed Friday deadline was only time a "date for surrender" was actually floated in this entire fight. There was no need to do that, and it heavily undermined our negotiating position.

Then again, even if that mistake had it not been made it seems doubtful the outcome would have changed all that much. The self-imposed Friday deadline was only a small blip in the overall balance of power in this fight. In contemporary American politics, neither public opinion nor an occasional slip-up in the media does not directly equal political power. In Washington, D.C., for those who run the government, the public is quite distant and faceless, and long-term images and narratives matter more than occasional soundbites. By way of contrast, large donors, consultants, lobbyists, center-right opinion journalists and policy presentations from "think tanks" like Third Way are quite real. While we certainly seem to have public opinion behind us in terms of Iraq policy, and even though we now have a majority on Congress, we seem to lack the political power in those other areas to turn that public opinion into actual, legally binding policy. In fact, this is an important deficit we face not just in terms of the Iraq supplemental fight, but in terms of basically every policy issue, and every framing of every policy issue, that comes down the pipe. Public opinion just isn't enough anymore, especially when the next election is eighteen months down the road. If public opinion was the decisive factor, Bush's veto of the Iraq Accountability Act would have been easily overridden, and any benchmarks, timelines and troop readiness standards in the act would have been legally binding.

Given this, the biggest meta-issue for progressives after this phase of the fight should not be how we stiffen the resolve of the Democratic leadership, or how we get more Republicans to defect. Those are important issues, but they are somewhat narrowly focused. The overall issue is how we move from a solid base of about 160-175 progressive votes in the House, and 25-30 solid progressive votes in the Senate, to number far closer to a majority. Where can we make improvements in solid blue open seats, in primary challenges, and in seats currently held by Republicans? Further, where we are unable to replace members of Congress with new members who would vote better, how do we improve the voting behavior of current members of Congress, both Democratic and Republican? What campaign and messaging opportunities present themselves in the short term, and what infrastructure changes do we need in the long term? Only when we develop comprehensive answers to all of those questions can we develop a roadmap to building the political power necessary to win fights like the one over the Iraq supplemental.

Clearly, securing a majority of public opinion and a Democratic majority in Congress simply are not enough. It should be enough, but it isn't. Even if we have the trifecta, it might not be enough on a whole range of issues. Beyond public opinion, and beyond elective office, we need a majority in terms of political power as well. Right now, we just don't have that.
Public Of Two Minds On Democratic Opposition To Bush On Iraq

One of the problems the Democratic congressional leadership faces on Iraq is that the public is somewhat of two minds on what they should do to change course. For example, two months ago Pew produced polling that most people did not think Democrats in Congress were going far enough to stand up to Bush:
Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. March 21-25, 2007. N=1,503 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.
"Do you think Democratic leaders in Congress are going too far or not far enough in challenging George W. Bush's policies in Iraq, or are they handling this about right?"
Too Far: 23%, Not far enough: 40%, About right: 30%, Unsure: 7%
A quick look at the partisan breakdown of these numbers shows that a majority of Democrats, 56%, and a plurality of Independents, 40%, thought that Democrats in Congress were not going far enough. Only 7% of Democrats and 20% of Independents thought they were going too far. While it is possible that those numbers changed after Democrats sent a bill with a timeline to Bush's desk, there is no data either way. Anyway, and unfortunately, while the public thinks Democrats need to go further in challenging Bush, they also accept the Republican frame Congress will be held responsible. From a recent CNN poll:
CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll. May 4-6, 2007. N=1,028 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.
"Who do you think is MORE responsible for the fact that the U.S. troops currently in Iraq have not yet received additional funds: President Bush, because he vetoed the Iraq funding bill passed by Congress, OR, the Democrats in Congress, because they passed an Iraq funding bill that they knew Bush would veto?"
Bush: 34%, Congress: 44%, Both (vol): 14%, Neither (vol): 4%, Unsure: 4%
There are probably justifiable arguments to be made about the wording of this question, but a poll from CBS last month really sums up this split well:
CBS News/New York Times Poll. April 20-24, 2007. N=1,052 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3

"Currently, President Bush and Congress disagree about what to do about U.S. troop levels in Iraq. Who do you think should have the final say about troop levels in Iraq: the President or Congress?"
President 35%--57% Congress

"The Democrats in Congress have proposed to fund the Iraq war only if the U.S. sets a timetable for troop withdrawal, too. George W. Bush has stated he will veto that proposal. If George W. Bush does veto it, what should the Democrats in Congress do next: should they try to withhold funding for the war until George W. Bush accepts a timetable for troop withdrawal, or should they allow funding for the war, even if there is no timetable?"
Withhold funding 35%--56% Allow funding
Aaarrgghhhh!!!! By an overwhelming margin, Americans think that Congress should have the final say, but by an equally overwhelming margin, they think Congress should do what Bush wants. Make up your mind, America. This seems to indicate to me that they agree with Democrats on Iraq policy, but that they also accept Republican framing that withholding funds would be abandoning troops in the field. These two positions are ultimately contradictory, and probably based in the Democratic failure to challenge Republican "cutting funding for the troops in the field" frame back in December-February. And so, we are left with an electorate that agrees with us on Iraq, but doesn't actually want us to carry out those policies if Bush fights back. Given these contradictions, I am really not sure what impact temporary capitulation to Bush on Iraq will have on Democratic popularity in Congress. In both cases, by sending a timeline and then caving, we are taking the popular route. Certainly, some elements of the base will feel frustrated with the leadership. However, low approval ratings from fellow Democrats did not hurt congressional Democrats in 2006, and that frustration could disappear if Democrats achieve real Iraq success is slowing the war down the road.

Tags: Congress, Democrats, Iraq, Machine, Media, polls (all tags)

Comments

39 Comments

I don't find this result surprising...

It was pretty obvious that eventually there would be a "no-strings" bill passed for the President to sign.  It was really more a question of how Democrats would frame the fight.

In some ways, there has been some progress:  forcing Bush to veto a timeline, a vote on Reid-Feingold, and so on.  Clearly, there aren't the votes to end the war yet...and won't be until a significant number of Republicans decide to abandon Bush.

September doesn't mean much except for the simple fact that it's closer to the 2008 election than today.  There will be many more votes in the next several months, each one likely to gain a little bit more support.  When will Repubs see the coming electoral disaster?  That's anyone's guess.

One thing's for sure...it's virtually impossible for Congress to "negotiate" with this President.  It's always about holding a cacophony of voices together on the same page while Bush stands alone on the other side.  That's an almost impossible standard to meet, so I give the Dem leadership some props for keeping things together this long.  There's little point playing poker against a player who's never going to fold...and seems perfectly content to use brave Americans as hostages.

More and more, it's all about 2008.

by rashomon 2007-05-22 03:20PM | 0 recs
But if it's about 2008...

  ...why are the Democrats doing the unpopular thing and giving a heavily disliked president a blank check on a war that the public doesn't want?

 In what universe is that a rational political calculation? Have the harsh lessons of 2002 been relegated to the dustbin already?

 Approval ratings for Congress were slowly inching up as the Democrats temporarily showed some resolve. Watch them drop into the teens now...

by Master Jack 2007-05-22 04:02PM | 0 recs
Re: But if it's about 2008...

Did you even read the extended post?

It's ALSO the popular position to cave in as they're doing now.

by MNPundit 2007-05-22 04:34PM | 0 recs
Re: But if it's about 2008...

If that's true, then Congress' approval ratings should soar as a result of this cave.

It'll be a quick test of your argument.

by Master Jack 2007-05-22 04:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

Well, two obvious points:

-Our hold on some of these seats is tenuous at best.
-Electing a Democratic President in 2008 is more important than increasing our majority in the House.  Obviously, having a surplus of 50 or 60 votes in the House is good, but it's not as important as having a President who's not going to veto our bills.  Would we be having these same issues if we had a Democrat in the White House right now?  I think not.  (Never mind the obvious point that if we had had a Democratic President for the last eight years we wouldn't have been in Iraq in the first place.)

by Tom 2007-05-22 03:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

Nothing is obvious.

by SandThroughTheEyeGlass 2007-05-22 04:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

Bush and the Neocons are a particularly bellicose group, but it is not just them -- generally US policy is to dominate and control other countries for the benefit of US corporations ("US interests"). In the past liberal Democrats have launched lots of invasions and wars: Korea, Vietnam, Bay of Pigs, Dominican Republic in 1965, etc.

What we need are progressive Democrats who will change US foreign policy to one where the US supports human rights, international law, and negotiation instead of the US trying to control everyone in the world via military means. There are progressive Democrats doing this, but they are very few in number and get very little media coverage.

A Democratic president is less likely to invade and occupy other countries, but this is not a sure bet.

by RandomNonviolence 2007-05-22 06:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

The public knows what it wants but does not know how to get there yet.  

They aren't settled on what do to about it.  Hence, the bind the Democrats in Congress find themselves in.

by jgarcia 2007-05-22 03:53PM | 0 recs
Messaging is the problem

 We don't have any strong spokesmen in the media. Olbermann, maybe, but he's not technically a Democrat.

 The Democrats in the media, those who DO purport to speak for the party, are pleasant, amiable pushovers like, say, Donna Brazile, who tumble into Republican frames like wrestlers on a mat. We need more Cliff Schechters out there -- Democrats who strongly and forcefully make their points and don't give ground to the liars on the other side.

 Media Matters has amply documented the lopsided pro-Republican bias on the Sunday talkshows. Have the Democrats ACTED on this information? Have they even TRIED to rectify this?

 Our messaging is abysmal. It was abysmal ten years ago, and it's abysmal today. There seems to be no realization within the party that this needs to change, and I include Howard Dean in this observation. And that's where those ridiculous, reality-challenged 44-34 splits come from. How hard could it have been to convince the public that the original vetoed timeline bill gave Bush all the money he wanted?

 As for the "posturing for 2008" argument, that was the same excuse for the original 2002 blank check. Look how that worked out.

 I don't see how Democrats win in 2008. They were elected to end the Iraq war. They're enabling it instead. The public isn't stupid.

 

by Master Jack 2007-05-22 03:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Messaging is the problem
The media is certainly part of the problem, but not all of it. Consider that the main policy group assigned to give presentations to freshman Democrats is Third Way, for example. That is an important form of power that has nothing to do with the media.
by Chris Bowers 2007-05-22 05:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

Here's how:

-Protests, both in DC and in front of individual Reps' and Senators' home offices.

-Petition drives, with petitions delivered on a daily basis to their offices.

-Well-organized call-in, email and LTE campaigns.

-Anti-war parties, held in peoples' homes, to develop grass-roots bonds.

-Joining forces with anti-war conservatives and libertarians.

-TV, radio, print and internet ads.

-Concerts, festivals, sit-ins, peace-ins, even labor strikes.

-Targeting the most egregious Dems in their states and districts with negative ads.

All designed to unite, consolidate and focus opposition to the occupation, give it more political prominence and power, and pressure congress to change.

Political power comes through numbers, organization, money and action. We might not have the money but we have or can come up with the others.

by kovie 2007-05-22 04:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq
All that just focuses on Iraq, not on the broader issues of political power. Not that Iraq isn't the major issue of our time, its just that progressives face deficits in terms of power on all fronts, not just in this fight. Unless we solve the underlying problems, any victories will be few and far between.
by Chris Bowers 2007-05-22 05:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

Power is gained through a variety of means. One is to focus on one or two issues and win on them. The religious right did this with abortion and gay rights in the 70's and 80's and in so doing got a huge seat at the GOP table. Not that I in any way approve of their policy goals or beliefs, or many of their methods. But it's indisputible that they attained a lot of power by focusing on just these issues.

I know that progressives want to address tons of issues--quite rightly--e.g. labor rights, the environment and global warming, energy, fair trade, civil rights, civil liberties, election reform, etc. But since Iraq is the major issue of our times AND happens to be a huge issue for progressive, it seems an obvious one on which to try to make headway and in so doing advance progressives' power.

And realistically, it's going to drown out most other issues for the next few years so there's really no choice but to focus on it, politically speaking.

by kovie 2007-05-22 10:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

This should really help.

http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007 /05/bush_authorizes.html

by judyo 2007-05-22 04:22PM | 0 recs
MODERATE/BLUE DOG DEMS RESPONSIBLE FOR MAJORITY

Via Kevin Drum, this speaks to the difficulty a small-tent progressive movement has in influencing the Iraq issue:

HOW WE WON....Did Dems win in 2006 by electing a bunch of centrists and moderates? I remember that was a hot topic of conversation back in November, but it's easier to evaluate now that we have a few months worth of voting records to look at. The answer, according to Nicholas Beaudrot, appears to be yes. (In the House, anyway.)

http://ezraklein.typepad.com/blog/2007/0 5/they_were_only_.html

by ChicagoDude 2007-05-22 04:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

Can you send this to mcjoan at DKos? You seem to be one of the few people willing to look at the situation rationally.

by MNPundit 2007-05-22 04:32PM | 0 recs
Whoops, today it's Devilstower not mcjoan!

mcjoan is pretty good today.

by MNPundit 2007-05-22 04:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

So, given the events that have transpired, was it a mistake to ever have passed the original bill with the timelines?

I fail to see how this is going to sway undecideds, especially Republicans, to join the withdrawal cause. If anything, they will see that those who stuck their neck out were hung out to dry.

I understand that we can't expect miracles overnight, but given the position we are in regarding trade, lobbying reform, and Iraq, how much real progress have progressives made? Or have we simply gotten lip service?

I know we have a thin majority in both houses, but it is a majority. How do we know, that once we have  veto proof majorities, that we won't be told that Democrats can't do anything radical that would lose the veto proof majorities?

by Benstrader 2007-05-22 04:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq
No. I think passing the bill with timelines, and having it vetoed by Bush, was both a defining moment of contrast between the two parties and a demonstration that they only thing keeping the war going (at least at its current level) is having a Republican in the White House. Even if we didn't get everything we wanted, that feels like anything but a mistake to me.
by Chris Bowers 2007-05-22 05:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

But wasn't that defining moment completely undercut by today's capitulation?

by Benstrader 2007-05-22 05:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

The only thing that comes out of this is that the the party and those running under its banner looks weak. I am not exactly sure how polls don't matter here, but they do matter on issues like a primary that are months off.

by bruh21 2007-05-22 04:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

    As long as the American people and the Democratic leadership accept Republican framing that funding the troops (sacrosanct) is the same as funding the Iraq government, we are going to be stuck in Iraq.  What I feel has been missing from the Democratic effort to get out of Iraq is the reluctance of Conservative Democrats to attack the Iraq war in the same terms that Republicans have used to get out of nation building and foreign aid for years. Like tag team wrestlers, why can't the Democratic Party take turns attacking war policy from both the right and left, each speaking to their home state constituents?  If circumstances do not permit unity of message at least you can have unity of effort.  Why not mention that the Bush built Iraq government is the emperor without clothes? Republicans are attempting to build an army for an Islamic Iraq theocracy, which is sympathetic to Iran, and the Iraqi people we are arming are hostile to the US.

    One suggestion before I get flamed back to lurking: Mark Kirk - Republican-  Illinois 10th District. With Barack Obama exciting Democrats in Illinois, a Dan Seals rematch looks good.

http://www.nytimes.com/cq/2007/04/11/cq_ 2546.html
Seals-Kirk Rematch Seems Likely in Illinois 10th - New York Times

by JennaV 2007-05-22 04:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

Why wouldn't the Dems keep sending the funding bill with timelines back to the President? If he continued to veto it, he would be the one blocking funding for the troops, not the Democrats, and the Democrats would look strong and principled.

Maneuvers like this validate Pres. Bush's assessment that Democrats engage in political theater and reinforces the idea that Democrats can't be trusted on national security.

After 2000/2002/2004, Republicans would constantly state "Elections have consequences." I wish the Democrats felt the same way.

by Benstrader 2007-05-22 05:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq
Like I said, I simply don't think they had the ability to do so indefinitely. Eventually, enough of the caucus would have broken, joined with the Reps, and passed a blank check bill.

The Democratic caucus is a fundamentally different animal than the Republican caucus. This comes partially from representing far more "Bush" districts than Reps represent "Kerry" districts, but mostly it has to do with elections not fundamentally altering the location and infrastructure of political power. Democrats may have won the 2006 elections, but those elections did not cause a collapse of the Republican Noise Machine, DLC-nexus, or conservative movement. Political power still exists in spades for those groups, no matter who holds elected office. Public opinion and a congressional majority are simply not enough to pass the kind of legislation we seek.
by Chris Bowers 2007-05-22 05:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

So why did Democrats play this game in the first place?

I don't see how Democrats providing a funding bill that Bush would continually veto would equate to the Democrats denying funds. George Bush and this war are not getting any more popular. If anything, I think the Republican caucus would be the first to crack, seeing what devastation was wrought upon their party in 2006 due to their support this president's failed policies.

I believe the reason that reason that the Rep. Noise Machine, DLC Nexus, and Conservative Movement have not collapsed is due to the fact that Democrats have not "stepped on their necks" by pushing them into voicing their support of extremely unpopular positions (against stem cell, against minimum wage, against fully equipping our troops, against health care for children)

by Benstrader 2007-05-22 05:45PM | 0 recs
Betrayal by elites is the more powerful narrative
Much as I would like to believe Chris's narrative that all we have to do is elect more Democrats -- OK, OK, "progressives" but pragmatically that's going to come down to Democrats -- tonight I'm feeling that this alternative narrative, by Matt, is the more powerful one:

The basic narrative is that the story of the open left is the story of betrayal.

Bingo...
by lambert 2007-05-22 05:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Betrayal by elites is the more powerful narrat
"Much as I would like to believe Chris's narrative that all we have to do is elect more Democrats"

That's my narrative, huh? IT must be why I wrote:

"Beyond public opinion, and beyond elective office, we need a majority in terms of political power as well. Right now, we just don't have that."

Please don't put words in my mouth--it is both insulting and exasperating. It also doesn't help me respect what you have to say. If you can so blatantly misread me, why should I listen to you? The entire point of this post is that beyond elective office and beyond public opinion, contemporary political power lies in other sources, such as "large donors, consultants, lobbyists, center-right opinion journalists and policy presentations from "think tanks" like Third Way."

And by the way, I co-authored the piece with Matt that you quoted.
by Chris Bowers 2007-05-22 05:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Betrayal by elites is the more powerful narrat

I thought Chris' post was a good analysis of the situation in Washington right now.  While the progressive infrastructure has grown exponentially over the past five years, we're still years away from pushing aside the dominant mode of thinking in DC.  Broderism, K-Street, and the military-corporatist complex still hold many of the levers of power.  I believe they're losing ground, but the rate is not nearly quick enough for genuine progressive change to take root.

That being said, we've come along way since W's reelection in 2004.  I believe progressive change will come in Washington, but it will take time and effort.

by dmfox 2007-05-22 05:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Betrayal by elites is the more powerful narrat

Still, today's capitulation was just stinging.  Even with conservative influence still pervasive in Washington, had the Democrats framed the debate better months ago, I doubt we have this humiliation today.

by dmfox 2007-05-22 06:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Betrayal by elites is the more powerful narrat

Chris:

I'm going to assume that you were as full of pain as I was last night, and ignore the parts of your comment that I think came from that. That said:

1. I'm glad that you're the co-author of the "Betrayal by Elites" post, because it's excellent and perceptive. However, since Matt Stoller is the only author listed in the heading of the post, he is the single author that I cited.

2. It's possible that the shorthand "all we have to do is elect more Democrats" distorts your  position in a fundamental way; it's certainly a position taken by many other large blogs, and perhaps that distorted my reading.

3. "Electing more Democrats" may also be the exact right thing to do; did I say that it wasn't?

Nevertheless, how else am I to interpret the following:


The <u>biggest meta-issue</u> for progressives after this phase of the fight ...  is how we move from a solid base of about 160-175 progressive votes in the House, and 25-30 solid progressive votes in the Senate, to <u>number far closer to a majority</u>. Where can we make improvements in solid blue open seats, in primary challenges, and in seats currently held by Republicans? Further, where we are unable to replace members of Congress with new members who would vote better, how do we improve the voting behavior of current members of Congress, both Democratic and Republican?

I don't see another way to handle "the biggest meta-issue issue" than by "electing [a "solid base" of] more Democrats." Surely, you are not advocating electing progressive Republicans, if such an animal were to exist? Or a third party? Or
I agree that my shorthand doesn't capture the qualifications that follow "Further," but shorthand doesn't capture qualifications.

3. To your point that "contemporary power lies in other sources" (from your comment): Yes, we are well aware of that. Our shorthand for what we need to do is shove the Overton window left. Which I think we both would agree desperately needs to be done.

4. Since the paragraph on the "overall issue" of, if not "electing more Democrats," achieving "comprehensive answers to all of those questions" -- those answers seemingly destined to accomplish little if, in fact, more Democrats are not elected -- follows the paragraph on "other sources," my reading of the post was that these sources were instrumental to the "biggest meta-issue" rather than ends in themselves.

5. On rereading the post (again) I see this -- with which I also agree (see links above):


Clearly, securing a majority of public opinion and a Democratic majority in Congress simply are not enough.

And is not a larger, more effective Democratic majority the "biggest meta-issue" here?

It should be enough, but it isn't. Even if we have the trifecta, it might not be enough on a whole range of issues. Beyond public opinion, and beyond elective office, we need a majority in terms of political power as well. Right now, we just don't have that.

I see the distinction between political and electoral power here, but only in electoral power is there the notion of a "majority" -- votes that are counted. If political power flows from these "other sources," I don't see what a "majority" means in operational terms. What would a "majority" of think tanks mean? And surely the overall architecture (see links above) of the "other sources" is just as important as a "majority" of any single source?

In conclusion, I still see competing narratives, and I note that this issue, the subject of my comment, is not addressed by your response:

1. Betrayal by elites, where betrayal is active and complete by the Republican Party and the authoritarian movement generally, and partial and complicit by the Democratic Party.

2. Elect more Democrats (and make them better)

with a third, and subsidiary narrative, of

3. Shove the Overton window left (your "other sources")

#3 we can do "ourselves alone." But #2 and #1 are in deep conflict. How do we resolve the conflict?

by lambert 2007-05-23 04:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Betrayal by elites is the more powerful narrat

Certainly Olberman agrees.

by lambert 2007-05-23 05:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

Sorry Chris.  I have always enjoyed your posts but this one is a genuine load of crap.    

by guyjames 2007-05-22 05:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

No, it's not. These are hard problems.

by lambert 2007-05-23 04:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

The Democrats had the power to demand more.  They folded on the framing, and then they folded on their principles.

This "compromise" is nothing more than another blank check.  I guess the Democrats either forgot, or ignored, what put them in power in the first place.  Look back at the Delay years and all the heinous legislation the Republicans could get passed.  We have 57% of the country stating that they want Congress to take control of the war, and yet Democrats in Congress debate on Republican terms.  Sham, sham, sham.  Rahm Emanuel, my congressman, can spin this any way he wants, but a humiliation is a humiliation.

Where do the presidential candidates stand on this?

by dmfox 2007-05-22 05:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

Rahm Emanuel is a big part of the problem.  He and his missing finger are one of the biggest impediments to progressive change in Washington.  

by jgarcia 2007-05-22 06:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

Chris, I am greatly appreciating your march toward reason here. This is the type of analysis we need more of in the netroots. Without it, the only ones making this type of argument will be the so-called centrists. And they won't make the argument in the way that someone from the netroots will. It doesn't mean we have to not have the other arguments. But we need a balanced approach.

by blackmahn 2007-05-22 05:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

Actions to take:
Immediate pressure on the Dem. presidential candidates to take a stand against capitulation and any further funding of the Iraq occupation by the capitulators.

Public attacks on the capitulators, make their appeasement the issue. Make it clear that supporting the troops means bringing them home alive and not in a box.

Recuitment of progressive candidates in the new few months to run strong primary campaigns against the Bush appeasers.

by cmpnwtr 2007-05-22 07:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Public Opinion and Political Power On Iraq

Regarding making seats bluer, we're about to see an extremely Democratic seat get less progressive in the special election in CA-37.  Of the two front-runners, Jenny Oropeza just sold out labor in voting for anti-worker Indian gaming compacts, and Laura Richardson is quite moderate and also fairly homophobic.  They'll replace Juanita Millender-McDonald, and it's an old guard race where identity politics drove who was running and progressives got screwed.  Unless Millender-McDonald's daughter Valerie can pull a stunning upset, which is highly unlikely, the caucus in the House just got weaker.

by dday 2007-05-22 07:35PM | 0 recs
Key is Dem leaders accept Repub frame

This one: 'We'll support the troops by providing Bush a bill he can sign; we'll never play chicken with the troops.'

When the leadership decided to accept that frame (consciously? was such monumental stupidity actually planned?) the Iraq funding fight was lost. As long as they continue to accept it, the game is lost.

The leadership and our main Presidential candidates, who get most Dem MSM time, need to argue a new frame ("Every time we fund, he vetoes. Bush is defunding the troops when he vetoes our funding bills." It would take time because accepting the Republican frame has penetrated deeply, but the polling numbers would change fairly soon, as the nightmare goes on month after month.

by fairleft 2007-05-22 10:33PM | 0 recs

Diaries

Advertise Blogads