Sunny Downtown Najaf (political cartoon)

Crossposted from Town Called Dobson

click to enlarge

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The Iraq Moral Dilemma

I'm cross posting this from my "NH for Progress" blog (  It's my attempt at addressing what I see as shortcomings or shortsightedness in response to the Iraq problem.  It's a bit long winded, but I hope you  stick with it. Its not really a position I really want to take, parts of it read straight out of W's playbook, but I really think it there's some merit to it, worthy of discussion anyway...

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Hillary Throws In the Towel: No Stopping Escalation

New posts at May 8th

Buried in the NY Times article "General Says New Strategy in Iraq Can Work Over Time," is a rare moment of candor from Hillary Clinton, which shows that by default, she is already firmly in the camp for the escalation: “We know the troops are moving. We know that we’re not likely to stop this escalation." The full passage from the Times:

“We know this policy is going forward,” said Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York. “We know the troops are moving. We know that we’re not likely to stop this escalation. But we are going to do everything we can to send a message to our government and the Iraqi government that they had better change, because the enemy we are confronting is adaptable.” (yesterday, NY Times, "General Says New Strategy in Iraq Can Work Over Time")

Anyone still for Hillary in 2008? That's right Al-Maliki! You'd better change or else! The enemy we're confronting is (substitute your word-of-the-week: adaptable,determined, ruthless, cunning.) Politicians like her are why people hate politicians. She is the Repulicans' dream opponent, so they can make her the next "voted against the war before I voted for it" punching bag.

Middle East torture-regime allies"moderate?": "Our enemies are quite explicit about their intentions.  They want to overthrow moderate governments..." (George Bush, State of the Union address)

Toll-free numbers for congressmen, connecting all offices: (800) 862-5530 or (800) 833-6354

May 8th

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Is McCain Even Less Popular than Bush Among Indies?

The new Financial Dynamics poll (.pdf) commissioned by The Hotline and Diageo, and as always it has some interesting information. Perhaps the most interesting data concerns two slightly differently worded questions regarding the proposed increase American troops being sent to Iraq. One half of the poll's respondents were asked if they supported "President Bush's" proposal to increase troops while the other half were asked if they supported "John McCain's" proposal. The results may surprise you as they did me.

Do you favor or oppose President Bush's proposed strategy of increasing the number of American troops in Iraq by as many as 20,000 troops over then next few months? TotalRepublicansIndependentsDemocratsStrongly favor1731233Somewhat favor1526127Somewhat oppose910127Strongly oppose53254979Neither favor nor oppose (not read)4632Don't know/refused (not read)2211
Do you favor or oppose Senator John McCain's proposed strategy of increasing the number of American troops in Iraq by as many as 20,000 troops over then next few months? TotalRepublicansIndependentsDemocratsStrongly favor2134249Somewhat favor163269Somewhat oppose109157Strongly oppose44163470Neither favor nor oppose (not read)44101Don't know/refused (not read)66104

As you can see, calling the increase in troops McCain's plan rather than Bush's leads to a slightly higher level of support, but also a higher level of indecisiveness among respondents. But the far more important statistic that jumps out from this comparison is support among Independents, who are thought to be McCain's bread and butter demographic.

Independents are actually less likely to support escalation if it is framed as McCain doctrine than they are if it is framed as President Bush's. They are the only partisan group to do so. Even Democrats are slightly more likely to support the increase in troops if it is listed as McCain's plan than they are if it is listed as Bush's. True, as I noted above, there is also a higher level of indecisiveness, both broadly and among Independents specifically, about "McCain's" plan than there is about "Bush's". In part, this can be chalked up to the fact that the President has received more coverage for supporting the plan than the Arizona Senator. Additionally, the fact that Americans' sentiments about Sen. McCain are less solidified than they are about the President plays a role in this. As a result, the level of opposition to a McCain plan for escalation is lower than that of a Bush plan.

All the same, the fact remains that, at least according to this survey, Independents are less likely to support a McCain-backed escalation than they are a Bush-backed one -- a stunning fact given the President's dearth of support among Independents and the Senator's one-time strength among them. In case you needed confirmation that the number of Independents supporting John McCain is decreasing rapidly, this may be it.

If Wishes Were Horses...

When 60 minutes commentator Pelley pointed out that it was his administration "that created the instability in Iraq", Bush replied that his administration, "took care of a source of instability in Iraq." When Pelley challenged Mr. Bush's answer by stating how much more unstable it is now, the President said it was not his decisions but "decisions [that] have [been] made" by, perhaps, Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy.  All are part of the World of Wishful Thinking over which this president presides.  

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