Obama: For Redeployment Before I was Against It

I'm not steeped in the minutia of legislative amendments, counter amendments, nor parliamentary rules that affect passage of one bill over another.  I understand that often, in close legislative combat, the name of the game is not to outright kill a bill, but to load it with poison pills, etc., so that the opposition is less likely to vote for a benign sounding bill.  I write all this to indicate that I know that there's often a lot more going on behind the passage of a bill or amendment than what at first meets the eye -- I know that.

That said, lemme ask a question: back in June of 2006, why would a reportedly anti-Iraq war Senator, which had the foresight to oppose the war when he was a state legislator, oppose an amendment that stated the following?

To require the redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq in order to further a political solution in Iraq, encourage the people of Iraq to provide for their own security, and achieve victory in the war on terror. [link]

The above is the text of the Kerry Amendment, calling for phased withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, which the junior Senator from Illinois opposed -- now, granted, many others opposed the amendment as well, including HRC.

In his defense, the junior Senator from Illinois, Sen Obama, offered the following excuse:

[L]et's say that a phased withdrawal results in fifty thousand troops in Iraq by July 19, 2007. If, at that point, our generals and the Iraqi government tell us that having those troops in Iraq for an additional three or six months would enhance stability and security in the region, this amendment would potentially prevent us from pursuing the optimal policy.

It is for this reason that I cannot support the Kerry Amendment. Instead, I am a cosponsor of the Levin amendment, which gives us the best opportunity to find this balance between our need to begin a phase-down and our need to help stabilize Iraq. It tells the Iraqis that we won't be there forever so that they need to move forward on uniting and securing their country. I agree with Senator Warner that the message should be "we really mean business, Iraqis, get on with it." At the same time, the amendment also provides the Iraqis the time and the opportunity to accomplish this critical goal.

Essential to a successful policy is the Administration listening to its generals and diplomats and members of Congress - especially those who disagree with their policies and believe it is time to start bringing our troops home.

The overwhelming majority of the Senate is already on record voting for an amendment stating that calendar year 2006 should be a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty, with Iraqi security forces taking the lead for the security, creating the conditions for the phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq. The Levin Amendment builds on this approach.

I quoted a length because I didn't want to be accused of taking the junior Senator's remarks out of context.  Now for a translation of what I think he was saying:

1. Let's not commit to a firm phased withdrawal of US troops out Iraq, since we're not quite sure how this may really affect things on the ground; and if at some point we have to send more troops in or stay longer than anticipated, we may look foolish, er, "this amendment would potentially prevent us from pursuing the optimal policy." (How's that for 'straight talk'?)

2. We don't really need this amendment, because the "overwhelming majority of the Senate" is already on record saying that Iraqis should take more responsibility for their country; which, of course, they don't really have to do, since there's no incentive as long as they believe that US troops are not going anywhere.  Basically, I'm for things as they are.

Of course, this was back in June of 2006.  As for the amendment that Sen Obama supported and co-sponsored, unlike the amendment calling for a phased withdrawal out of Iraq which the junior Senator opposed, the Levin Amendment simply stated:

To state the sense of Congress on United States policy on Iraq.

Say wah!?  What does that even mean?  So here's my second question, please breakdown for me the parliamentary minutia that aligned Sen Feinstein, Sen Clinton, Sen Biden, Sen Obama to co-sponsor such a weasel sounding amendment, rather than support an amendment calling for the phased redeployment of US troops out of Iraq?  I mean, Sen Biden and Sen Clinton I can easily understand as co-sponsors, but many that aggressively push Sen Obama's attributes as a candidate would have us believe that his so-called wisdom on Iraq (as a state legislator opposed to the invasion) should override any reservation we may about him as a politician; so, why did he oppose phased withdrawal, and support the status quo in June of 2006?

Now, of course, after being against the phased redeployment that the Kerry Amendment called for, Sen Obama -- not coincidently, after the Nov 7, 2006, elections -- has now found his voice on Iraq once more, and is now calling for something very similar to what he voted against back in June of 2006.  On Nov 20th of this year Sen Obama said the following:

A few Tuesdays ago, the American people embraced this seriousness with regards to America's policy in Iraq.

[...]

These are serious times for our country, and with their votes two weeks ago, Americans demanded a feasible strategy with defined goals in Iraq - a strategy no longer driven by ideology and politics, but one that is based on a realistic assessment of the sobering facts on the ground and our interests in the region.

[...]

When I came here and gave a speech on this war a year ago, I suggested that we begin to move towards a phased redeployment of American troops from Iraqi soil. At that point, seventy-five U.S. Senators, Republican and Democrat, including myself, had also voted in favor of a resolution demanding that 2006 be a year of significant transition in Iraq.

[...]

Now, I am hopeful that the Iraq Study Group emerges next month with a series of proposals around which we can begin to build a bipartisan consensus. I am committed to working with this White House and any of my colleagues in the months to come to craft such a consensus. And I believe that it remains possible to salvage an acceptable outcome to this long and misguided war.

[...]

The first part of this strategy begins by exerting the greatest leverage we have on the Iraqi government - a phased redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq on a timetable that would begin in four to six months.

When I first advocated steps along these lines over a year ago, I had hoped that this phased redeployment could begin by the end of 2006. Such a timetable may now need to begin in 2007, but begin it must. For only through this phased redeployment can we send a clear message to the Iraqi factions that the U.S. is not going to hold together this country indefinitely - that it will be up to them to form a viable government that can effectively run and secure Iraq.

[...]

As a phased redeployment is executed, the majority of the U.S. troops remaining in Iraq should be dedicated to the critical, but less visible roles, of protecting logistics supply points, critical infrastructure, and American enclaves like the Green Zone, as well as acting as a rapid reaction force to respond to emergencies and go after terrorists.

In such a scenario, it is conceivable that a significantly reduced U.S. force might remain in Iraq for a more extended period of time.

To his credit, Sen Obama does say in the same speech:

Many who supported the original decision to go to war in Iraq have argued that it has been a failure of implementation. But I have long believed it has also been a failure of conception - that the rationale behind the war itself was misguided.

Now, as it is the habit of the average politician, Sen Obama peppers his long remarks with caveats, disclaimers and qualifications.  But, one thing is clear, following the elections, Sen Obama seems to have remembered that he once called for a phased redeployment out of Iraq, that is, before he opposed the Kerry Amendment -- which called for a phased redeployment out of Iraq.  Of course, Sen Obama did hedge his bets back in that Nov 20th, 2006, speech, reminding his audience that the ISG was still out  and that (cross your fingers!) it might still produce something to save all of DC's collective butts.  Unfortunately, Bush & Co. have decided to change the rules of the game and have ignored the ISG -- thus far.  So, what now for Sen Obama that the "bipartisan consensus" silver bullet that he wished for, and that his brand of politics relies on, will not materialize?

Lemme reiterate my questions, because I'm frankly trying to understand how and why things played out the way they did:

1. Why would the politician with the, reportedly, best anti-Iraq war record oppose a phased redeployment out of Iraq (back in June of 2006)? Then, after the elections, why would that same politician remember that, 'Wait, I was once for phased redeployment before I was against it, so lemme tell the people of when I was for it'?

2. What were the circumstances that aligned Sen Feinstein, Sen Clinton, Sen Biden, Sen Obama to co-sponsor the seemingly status-quo Levin Amendment, as an alternative to an explicit phased redeployment out of Iraq amendment?

3. Now that the ISG has been ignored by Bush & Co., hence a "bipartisan consensus" on Iraq may not materialize, what's the way forward for politicians that make such big show of constantly seeking a middle, er, bipartisan way on the issues of our day?

Tags: Iraq, obama (all tags)

Comments

47 Comments

Could it be that in June he still held out hope?

Could it be that in June he still held out some hope that the situation on Iraq could be salvaged and a civil war prevented, but a change of events on the ground by November made him change his mind?

I would have likely voted for Kerry/Feingold in June, but I may not have supported it a year earlier. Last November, I would have leaned towards a comprehensive exit strategy like this:


   1. Train 10-20K per month: get with allies (NATO and others) and chalk-up a plan to train 10,000 to 20,000 Iraqi troops per month, a mixture of military and police forces. Doable; cut deals with our allies with large armies and pay for their services. Assuming it takes 6 months to train each person, after the first six months, batches of Iraqi troops will start rolling out.

  2. Train one, bring one home: For every new fully-trained member of the Iraqi Military and Security Forces, a member of the United States military should come home, as suggested by Chris Carney (PA-10).

  3. Diffuse and Contain Insurgency: carrots and sticks. Details needed. Heavy Iraqi involvement required.

  4. Complete a Basic Democratic Framework: assemble constitutional and legal scholars from Iraq and elsewhere, of Islamic background and others, and slap up a draft judicial framework. With help from Iraqi scholars and thinkers and entrepreneurs, establish other democratic institutions, such as government infrastructure, press etc.

  5. Iraq's Natural Resources: put together a working committee to protect Iraq's natural resources including it's oil reserves for the benefit of Iraqi citizens.

  6. Social Infrastructure: help Iraqis chart and build their own social building blocks (schools etc). Religious issues are important here.

  7. Build a UN peacekeeping force: cut deals as necessary again, and put up a 250K peacekeeping force under the UN auspices.

  8. Withdraw military presence by the middle of 2007: replacing it with trained Iraqis and UN peacekeeping forces. Continue to help with further reconstruction for another 3 years (say $10-20 Billion per annum; Oh, BTW, that's a lot of money for building schools and bridges. to give you an idea, Iraq' oil reserves are worth $15 Billion per annum, when pumped at normal levels).

by NeuvoLiberal on Mon Nov 21, 2005 at 03:38:59 PM PST

But, now that civil war has indeed ensued, it is hard to be optimistic on what can and can't be achieved (in terms of overall all progressive and humanitarian objectives), and would support a strict time-line for full withdrawal, while being open to other ideas (have seen some interesting ideas recently; I may post a diary or two on them).

It is totally misguided to blame one of those that opposed the war in the first place, namely Obama, as you have attempted to do here.

Those that got us the war  (Bush, Cheney, Big Oil, Neocons, senate, house) and heavily promoted:


S.J.RES.46
Title: A joint resolution to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq.
Sponsor: Sen Lieberman, Joseph I. [CT] (introduced 10/2/2002)      Cosponsors (16)

Sen Allard, Wayne [CO] - 10/2/2002
Sen Baucus, Max [MT] - 10/7/2002
Sen Bayh, Evan [IN] - 10/2/2002
Sen Breaux, John B. [LA] - 10/9/2002
Sen Bunning, Jim [KY] - 10/4/2002
Sen Domenici, Pete V. [NM] - 10/2/2002
Sen Edwards, John [NC] - 10/3/2002
Sen Helms, Jesse [NC] - 10/2/2002
Sen Hutchinson, Tim [AR] - 10/2/2002
Sen Johnson, Tim [SD] - 10/7/2002
Sen Landrieu, Mary L. [LA] - 10/2/2002
Sen McCain, John [AZ] - 10/2/2002
Sen McConnell, Mitch [KY] - 10/2/2002
Sen Miller, Zell [GA] - 10/2/2002
Sen Thurmond, Strom [SC] - 10/10/2002
Sen Warner, John [VA] - 10/2/2002


should have been more conscientious and diligent in the first place. Then, there would not have been a need for any sort of "exit plan," and this wrangling over who said what and when concerning them.

by NuevoLiberal 2006-12-25 04:29PM | 0 recs
Kerry/Feingold Text

I had been wondering about what the text for Kerry/Feingold was. H/T to beachmom@DKos


Kerry-Feingold Amendment, 2006

   SEC. 1084. UNITED STATES POLICY ON IRAQ.

   (a) Redeployment of Troops From Iraq.--

   (1) SCHEDULE FOR REDEPLOYMENT.--For purposes of strengthening the national security of the United States, the President shall redeploy, commencing in 2006, United States forces from Iraq by July 1, 2007, in accordance with a schedule coordinated with the Government of Iraq, leaving only the minimal number of forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces, conducting targeted and specialized counterterrorism operations, and protecting United States facilities and personnel.
    (2) CONSULTATION WITH CONGRESS REQUIRED.--The President shall consult with Congress regarding the schedule for redeployment and shall submit such schedule to Congress as part of the report required under subsection (c).

   (3) MAINTENANCE OF OVER-THE-HORIZON TROOP PRESENCE.--The President should maintain an over-the-horizon troop presence to prosecute the war on terror and protect regional security interests.

   (b) Iraq Summit.--The President should work with the leaders of the Government of Iraq to convene a summit as soon as possible that includes those leaders, leaders of the governments of each country bordering Iraq, representatives of the Arab League, the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, representatives of the European Union, and leaders of the governments of each permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, for the purpose of reaching a comprehensive political agreement for Iraq that engenders the support of Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds by ensuring the equitable distribution of oil revenues, disbanding the militias, strengthening internal security, reviving reconstruction efforts and fulfilling related international economic aid commitments, securing Iraq's borders, and providing for a sustainable federalist structure in Iraq.


It's quite good, except that it lacks details, without which it wouldn't be clear if the objectives and proceedings from the suggested "Iraq Summit" would in fact contradict the troop redeployment in part (a). In other words, one needs security and other manpower (and money) to ensure that these things take place: strengthening internal security, reviving reconstruction efforts and fulfilling related international economic aid commitments, securing Iraq's borders, and providing for a sustainable federalist structure in Iraq, and someone will have to field those resources, if Iraq is not ready to provide for them by itself. In other words, Part (a) and (b) can't be disjoint goals.

by NuevoLiberal 2006-12-25 04:52PM | 0 recs
Even with the vote , Bush did not have to go into

Iraq.  The blame is his for the presentation, the blame is his for the decision to go, the blame is his of making a complete and utter mess of Iraq.

Many Americans wanted the fight off of American shores, many Americans were for going to war, Many Americans are still for having gone to ware, and Many Americans have enough sense to know that the problem was/is in the handling of the war and not the permission to go.

Your constant inference that those Democrats (and I notice you didn't highlight them all and you didn't hightlight Bayh) who voted for the possiblility for Bush to go as the same as the people who are in the Bush Admin and failed the mission, is like accusing KOSSACKS of being to stupid to know the difference.

It's kind like when parents say their son/daughter can go to prom, the parents give the money for it, but the son/daughter hava a nother kind of agenda, they tell the parents they will stay at the prom, knowing full well that they and their buddies plan a side trip to a party, where all kinds of activities take place, the police show up and they are all put in jail.

Do you blame the parents here, or did the son's/daughters's go astray and run amuck of the original trust/faith the parents had in them.

True Iraq was not a prom, but the concept is the same.

by dk2 2006-12-26 07:09AM | 0 recs
The concept is fundamentally different

because the three branches of government are co-equal (a teenager and his parents are NOT co-equal).

The congressional branch is as responsible for every bill signed into law as the administrative branch; in some senses much responsible. They ARE expected to place the checks and balances required on the executive branch. Otherwise, why are they needed?

There is also a vital difference between what a teenager may do on prom night and a decision to wage a war where thousands (or millions) of LIVES stand in jeopardy of being lost,  in addition to other enormous costs.

As of now, 3000 American troops, over 600,000 Iraqi civilians, 400 billion dollars in direct cost, one to two trillion dollars in indirect costs, and thoroughly damaged reputation of the country around the world are the costs.

~~~~~~~~~~

The Hastings version of the war resolution placed the right kind of checks and balances, namely conditions of authority:


H. J. RES. 110

Authorizing the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

SEPTEMBER 23, 2002

SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

     (a) AUTHORIZATION- The President is authorized, subject to subsection (b), to use United States Armed Forces to defend the national security interests of the United States against the threat posed by Iraq.

     (b) CONDITIONS OF AUTHORITY- Before exercising the authority granted in subsection (a), the President shall--

           (1) certify to Congress that--

                 (A) Iraq is continuing to attempt to obtain conventional, chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and carry out ballistic missile programs, and provide appropriate documentation thereof;

                 (B) Iraq poses an imminent threat to the United States or United States interests in the region, and provide appropriate documentation thereof;

                 (C) the United States has used all appropriate diplomatic and other peaceful means to obtain compliance by Iraq with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 660, 661, 662, 664, 665, 666, 667, 669, 670, 674, 677, and 678; and

                 (D) the United States has sought from the United Nations Security Council a thorough and robust resolution expressing its dissatisfaction regarding Iraq's noncompliance with United Nations Security Council Resolutions 687 and 949 and those resolutions specified in subparagraph (C); and

           (2) transmit to Congress a comprehensive plan of action that contains, at a minimum--

                 (A) a commitment that United States engagement in the war against terrorism shall remain the highest priority of the United States Government to the maximum extent possible;

                 (B) a comprehensive plan for long-term cultural, economic, and political stabilization in a free Iraq;

                 (C) a commitment that the United States will take necessary efforts to protect the health, safety, and security of the Iraqi people and existing infrastructure, and safety for all United States allies and interests in the region; and

                 (D) a plan for the continued stabilization of Afghanistan.


whereas the version voted for and cosponsored by Edwards and others left determination entirely in Bush's hands.

Blank Check to Bush

Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Enrolled as Agreed to or Passed by Both House and Senate)

--H.J.Res.114--

H.J.Res.114

One Hundred Seventh Congress

of the

United States of America

SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

     (a) AUTHORIZATION- The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to--

           (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and

           (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.

     (b) PRESIDENTIAL DETERMINATION- In connection with the exercise of the authority granted in subsection (a) to use force the President shall, prior to such exercise or as soon thereafter as may be feasible, but no later than 48 hours after exercising such authority, make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that--

           (1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and

           (2) acting pursuant to this joint resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorist and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

There was absolutely no reason why John Edwards and others that supported the war and gave Bush the blank check, could not have told Bush to go with a Hastings or Hastings-like version that demanded strong evidence and insisted on a plan version or go bust.

by NuevoLiberal 2006-12-26 09:18AM | 0 recs
You know, it's sometimes said

that we can ascertain the wisdom of a presidential nominee by that nominee's first important decision: his choice for a running mate.  Your favorite for '08 chose Joe Lieberman in '00.  

My point is not to mock him (or you) for that decision, which in retrospect seems a poor one.

However, it's been reported that his second choice was John Edwards.

Now, suppose Gore is our nominee in '08, and he chooses Edwards as his running mate. Or vice versa; it's not outside the realm of possibility.

In either event, you will not have done Al Gore  any favors by the continual trashing of John Edwards that you've been engaging in.

I'd add that if Gore does enter the race, although you have argued his opposition to the invasion is one of his candidacy's great strengths, I very much doubt he would position himself as an "I told you so" candidate with regard to Iraq.  Gore is not a man who focuses on the past; he's a man who focuses on the future.

by Rob in Vermont 2006-12-26 10:05AM | 0 recs
I speak for myself

Look at the list of co-sponsors of the war resolution I posted: we find Lieberman, Edwards and McCain.

The fact is that Lieberman was a middle of the road moderate Democrat in 2000, but in 2002, he became a lead promoter of a pre-emptive and unilateral war waged on flaky grounds -- And Edward was right there with him.

Now consider the fact that Gore endorsed Dean over Lieberman AND Edwards in 2004. This is what Gore said:


Gore endorses Dean
Gore: 'One candidate clearly now stands out'

Tuesday, December 9, 2003

Gore also praised Dean's opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq. The former vice president called the Iraq war a "catastrophic mistake" by the Bush administration, a move that leaves the United States less effective in the nation's battle against terrorism. He said the United States is now in a "quagmire" in Iraq.

"He was the only major candidate who made the correct judgment about the Iraq war," Gore said. "And he had the insight and the courage to say and do the right thing. And that's important because those judgments -- that basic common sense -- is what you want in a president."

"Whether it is inspiring enthusiasm at the grassroots, and promising to remake the Democratic Party as a force for justice and progress and good in America, whether it is a domestic agenda that gets our nation back on track, or whether it is protecting us against terrorists and strengthening our nation in the world, I have come to the conclusion that one candidate clearly now stands out," Gore said.


In other words, Gore chose Dean over his top choices for VP precisely for the same reason that I opposed Lieberman in CT-Sen and oppose Edwards for the nomination in 2008, i.e. their strong support for the war.

BTW, Gore's endorsement did give Dean a solid boost in polls: Dean went from 1 point lead to a clear 12 point lead, as reported by Kos. Dean fell later because the "establishment" ganged-up on him (eg with their Dean/Osama attacka ds), and Saddam Hussein's capture had its fallout in several ways on Dean.

Now, suppose Gore is our nominee in '08, and he chooses Edwards as his running mate.

I will then respect his choice, but I would prefer a choice where the running mate also opposed the invasion of Iraq, eg Dean, Feingold, Jack Reed (yup, your senator), and Obama would all make outstanding running mates (along with other good choices). The final pick is of course the nominee's prerogative.

Or vice versa; it's not outside the realm of possibility.

That's exceedingly unlikely. First, Gore's experience and stature are far higher, and secondly, unless Gore runs for President, in my opinion he would be better off continuing his current role of global environmental advocacy. The best way to enact the policies needed to contain and reverse global warming, and doing so while restoring health to other aspects of policy and governance, would be best accomplished by Gore running, reaching out to 100s of millions of Americans with his message, and getting to the whitehouse on a mandate.

you will not have done Al Gore  any favors by the continual trashing of John Edwards that you've been engaging in.

Laying out the facts is not "trashing". The war, in Gore's own words, was a "catastrophic mistake", the worst mistake ever made by the US, and hence talking about it is vitally important.

Let me add that I speak for myself. Holding those that made the war happend is something I would do regardless of whether Gore runs or not.

by NuevoLiberal 2006-12-26 10:47AM | 0 recs
Re: I speak for myself

Call it trashing or "laying out the facts", I just think you are doing what Al Gore would not do: use Edwards vote against him in '08.  Sure, when Al Gore endorsed the rising star Dean, one of the things he praised Dean for was his position on Iraq, a position which of course distinguished him from the other candidates and coincided with Gore's position.  But as has been pointed out many times, Dean never had to actually cast a vote on Iraq.

You mention Feingold. Here is part of his speech against the resolution:

I agree that Saddam Hussein is exceptionally dangerous and brutal, if not uniquely so, as the President argues. And I agree, I support the concept of regime change. ... And I agree, therefore, Mr. President, we cannot do nothing with regard to Saddam Hussein and Iraq. We must act. We must act with serious purpose and stop the weapons of mass destruction and stop Saddam Hussein. And I agree a return to the inspections regime of the past alone is not a serious, credible policy.

If you read the rest of the speech, you'll see Feingold isn't arguing that going into Iraq is wrong and immoral on its face - because innocent Iraqis will be sacrificed in the name of preventing hypothetical victims of hypothetical WMD.  No, he does not make a moral case against preventive war.  His argument is that he doesn't think Bush has clearly showed that it's in the best security interests of the U.S. to invade, and he doesn't think Bush has clearly showed that he has a plan for containing the WMD once the invasion starts.

Feingold was WRONG when he believed that Iraq represented a horrible threat, WRONG to believe the inspections weren't working, and WRONG to focus only on security interests and not the moral implications of preventive war.

(The French managed to get it right in all cases. So did lots of us. It wasn't that hard.)

My point is, you use Feingold as an example of someone who got it right.  No. He was barely right. If a smart guy like Feingold thought Iraq represented a horrible threat, and if a decent man like Feingold could focus only on the stategy and not the basic moral issues at stake - well, I can give some slack to other smart, decent folks on my side of the aisle who got this war entirely wrong.  I can especially give them slack if they admit it.

by Rob in Vermont 2006-12-26 01:33PM | 0 recs
Re: I speak for myself

Russ Feingold said a lot more than what you've quoted. The speech should read in its entirety. I am quoting a key paragraph:


Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold on Opposing the Resolution Authorizing the Use of Force Against Iraq

From the Senate Floor

October 9, 2002

We are about to make one of the weightiest decisions of our time within a context of confused justifications and vague proposals. We are urged, Mr. President, to get on board and bring the American people with us, but we don't know where the ship is sailing.


Briefly, the UN inspections should have been allowed to be completed, and the IWR should have made Bush come back to Congress after the inspections were completed (Hastings' "certification" condition would have required Bush to essentially do that). Because the IWR passed failed to pre-condition the authority that way, Bush was able to cut the inspections short and start the war.

Dean never had to actually cast a vote on Iraq.

Come on, now. Dean ran a Presidential campaign on the platform of opposing the war before it began, when it was highly unpopular to do so, and was not ony prescient (along with Gore), but also probably responsible for much of the opposition to the war besides the facts on the ground (as filtered for public consumption by the media).

by NuevoLiberal 2006-12-26 03:20PM | 0 recs
Re: I speak for myself

Thanks for providing the link to Feingold's speech.  I agree absolutely that it should be read in its entirety - and if anyone does so, I believe they will see that what I wrote was a very fair assessment (albeit of course only a synopsis) of his position.

NL, if you think I've mischaracterized Feingold, you can address what I've written. Quoting Feingold's line about how weighty a decision it is does not address anything I wrote.

As for Dean (who I supported), he was a darkhorse who has said he never really expected he would go as far as he did. He has said his main interest in getting into the race was to be a voice for healthcare reform.  So, no, he really had nothing to lose by distinguishing himself early on as an anti-war candidate. (And early on, was it actually that unpopular a position? As I recall, opinion polls mostly showed Americans favored continuing the inspections rather than going to war.)  At any rate, neither Dean nor Gore had to cast a vote on Iraq. I'd like to believe if they actually had been in the Senate, we can know for certain how they would have voted. But since that's not the history that actually occurred, we can only speculate.    

by Rob in Vermont 2006-12-26 04:09PM | 0 recs
LONG response follows

Paragraphs where Feingold questions the "evidence" are important. IMO, your characterization suggested that he believed the "case" being made by the "administation", but these paraghaphs illustrate his thinking better:


And with regard to Iraq, I agree that Iraq presents a genuine threat, especially in the form of weapons of mass destruction: chemical, biological and potentially nuclear weapons.

...

But if it is not, if this is premised on some case that has supposedly been made with regard to a subsequent coalition between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government, I think the President has got to do better. He's got to do better than the shoddy piecing together of flimsy evidence that contradicts the very briefings we've received by various agencies, Mr. President.

I'm not hearing the same things at the briefings that I'm hearing from the President's top officials. In fact, on March 11 of this year, Vice President Cheney, following a meeting with Tony Blair, raised fears of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists. He said, "We have to be concerned about the potential" -- potential -- "marriage, if you will, between a terrorist organization like al Qaeda and those who hold or are proliferating knowledge about weapons of mass destruction." So in March, it was a potential marriage.

Then the Vice-President said, on September 8, without evidence -- and no evidence has been given since that time -- that there are "credible but unconfirmed" intelligence reports that 9-11 ringleader Mohammed Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence official several months before 9-11. We've seen no proof of that.

And finally then, the Secretary of Defense follows on September 27 of this year and says, "There is bulletproof evidence of Iraqi links to al Qaeda, including the recent presence of senior al Qaeda members in Baghdad." I don't know where this comes from, Mr. President. This so-called potential marriage in March is beginning to sound like a 25th wedding anniversary at this point.


I sort of diasgree with his use of the phrase "genuine threat" (I would have gone with "potential risk" based on the rest of what he said he knew). Otherwise, he was right on the money in deconstructing the spins by Bush and Cheney.

No one really knew if Saddam did or didn't have WMD, because I think that CIA badly messed up on intelligence operations in Iraq.

Unfettered inspections would have unearthed the true picture on WMD, and the congress should have ensured that Bush had the wherewithal to go only that far which again takes us back to Hastings resolution.

And early on, was it actually that unpopular a position? As I recall, opinion polls mostly showed Americans favored continuing the inspections rather than going to war.


CBS News  Poll.

March 26-27, 2003. N=868 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

 "Do you approve or disapprove of the United States taking military action against Iraq to try to remove Saddam Hussein from power?"


                Approve(%) Disapprove Don't Know
    3/26-27/03     77     19     4        
    3/15-16/03     67     29     4        
    2/5-6/03     70     21     9        
    10/27-31/02     64     25     11        
    10/3-5/02     67     27     5        
    9/22-23/02     68     26     6        
    9/2-5/02     68     24     8    


Gore's speech came on 9/23/2002, and the IWR vote took place on 10/11/2002. So, it was highly unpopular to oppose the war when Gore did. Moreover, he was the leading candidate for the 2004 nomination then, and he was made to a pay a price by the pro-war media.

I don't have a timeline on Dean's statements on the war, but if I recall, he was opposed to it from the get go (he filed papers for his run in 2002 summer). I think he ran because he was completely upset with the Bush administration on all fronts, including the push for war.

The public sentiment on when asked questions about inspections, UN role etc, in 3/03 were mixed. However, remember that the IWR with full  determination left in Bush's hands was already passed into law by then, and so everything was left to his discretion. My argument is precisely that it should not have been the case.

The post is already long, but let me post this piece which address some of the other points you've made.

Gore's speech against the war, 9/23/2002

        Former Vice President Al Gore
          Iraq and the War on Terrorism
          September 23, 2002
          Prepared Remarks

         "If Saddam Hussein does not present an imminent threat, then is it justifiable for the Administration to be seeking by every means to precipitate a confrontation, to find a cause for war, and to attack?"

              "I believe we should focus our efforts first and foremost against those who attacked us on September 11th and have thus far gotten away with it. "

              "the coalition assembled in 1991 paid all of the significant costs of the war, while this time, the American taxpayers will be asked to shoulder hundreds of billions of dollars in costs on our own."

http://www.gwu.edu/~action/2004/gore/gor e092302sp.html

-----------------

     Hardball College Tour: Al Gore

     Dec. 11, 9 p.m. ET Lehman College, The City University of New York
       Updated: 3:25 a.m. CT Nov 26, 2002

     MATTHEWS: But you would have voted against it.

     GORE: I would have voted against that resolution. I would have voted against it.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3080657

-----------------

   posted October 3, 2002 (October 21, 2002 issue)
    Al Gore, democrat

   Eric Alterman

   But he sure galvanized Tom Daschle and other Democrats to face up to a frightening juggernaut for war they would have preferred to duck for the sake of re-election. Naderites take note. It was not "smart" in the Washington sense. It was not strategic. But damn it, it was brave. The victim of a stolen presidency demonstrated why democracy matters.

by NuevoLiberal 2006-12-26 06:31PM | 0 recs
Re: LONG response follows

Indeed, Feingold did get right, among other things, the flimsiness of the al Qaeda link. Anyone still reading this thread can judge for themselves whether I've mischaracterized what he got wrong.  

Not that my main point about Dean really hinged on this, but with regard to my recollection that early on Americans "favored continuing the inspections over going to war", this Jan 2003 CBS/NY Times poll suggests my recollection wasn't off base.  There is much other early polling (you're looking at the same charts I am, I think) that show Americans' ambivalence about Bush's Iraq policy, which depend on the questions asked.

You quote Gore saying he would have voted against the resolution. I think it's a perfectly sincere statement.  But neither we nor Gore can truly know how he would have voted in that alternate universe.  We can imagine a universe where Gore became Senator from Tennessee after the 2000 election, and so indeed gets the chance to vote on Iraq. (Say a sitting senator died, the Dem guv appoints Gore.) But that alternate universe, where he becomes senator, contains an infinite number of events and considerations which would happen and affect Al Gore which did not happen and affect him in our universe. We simply cannot know how that confluence of alternate happenings and considerations might have affected his vote.  Ditto Dean.  Ditto any of us. I know in this universe I adamantly opposed invasion. But what would my vote have been in the alternate universe where I am a senator?  Impossible to know.

by Rob in Vermont 2006-12-27 07:12PM | 0 recs
It's Just Not True

Look at the list of co-sponsors of the war resolution I posted: we find Lieberman, Edwards and McCain.

The fact is that Lieberman was a middle of the road moderate Democrat in 2000, but in 2002, he became a lead promoter of a pre-emptive and unilateral war waged on flaky grounds -- And Edward was right there with him.

The equivalence you draw in the second paragaph simply doesn't follow from also being a co-sponsor.  As with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, the President deliberately snookered the Senate.

While I think that Senators in both cases were chumps--and that's just how they were played--there's a big difference between those who were played, and those who were happy to be played, or, indeed, were happy to play others as well.  Edwards was in the former category.  Lieberman was in the latter.

Indeed, most of the leading Senate critics of the Vietnam War were senators who voted for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. They were the John Edwards's of their time. They wised up as they realized the President had deceived them. In both cases, the purpose was the same: to secure a blank check.

Of course I prefer politicians who don't fall for this sort BS in the first place.  It's why I prefer Dennis Kucinich, on purely moral grounds. He didn't just speak out against the war.  He didn't just vote against the war. He organized opposition to it in the House Democratic Caucus, and got more than half the caucus to vote against it.

But, I'm trying to be a serious-minded realist, here.  Dennis is too short to be President, so I'm looking for someone who appears to have learned from their mistakes, and who seriously wants to redress the damage we've already done.  So far, Edwards seems a lot more reliable, and a lot less slippery than Obama is.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-12-26 03:52PM | 0 recs
This it not true:

Edwards was in the former category.  Lieberman was in the latter.

I disagree with part 1. But, since you've presented the classifications:

  • "those who were played"
  • "those who were happy to be played"
  • "were happy to play others as well"
in order for me to make my case, I would like to know what evidence (with links if possible) that pre-dates the invasion makes you place Lieberman in the 3rd. category.

by NuevoLiberal 2006-12-26 09:23PM | 0 recs
Re: I speak for myself

The fact is that Lieberman was a middle of the road moderate Democrat in 2000.

I know it's hard work being a Gore apologist, but seriously, what facts do you have to back this up?  Lieberman hasn't changed at all over the years; it's just that you'd love for the choice to be more defensible now.

I happen to think that electorally, Lieberman did help the ticket be as competitive in FL as it was, but to argue that Lieberman was more liberal then is sheer folly.

by Adam B 2006-12-26 07:02PM | 0 recs
Well, short answer

but seriously, what facts do you have to back this up?

That's easy.


The Left (none / 0)

Lieberman generally is fairly liberal on most issues.  He just doesn't talk about them as much as the ones on which he's on the administration's side.

by Adam B on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 01:41:48 PM PST

Other readers that are not willing to take Adam's word, please tell me how many positions and votes Lieberman disagreed with Clinton on, between 1993-2000? I think Clinton is a moderate.

Incidentally, Lieberman reportedly pledged to abide by Gore's progressibe populist platform in 2000.

by NuevoLiberal 2006-12-26 07:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Well, short answer

Gee, how about Lieberman's being the Democratic point man for decrying Clinton's personal behavior -- you know, the main issue of his second term?

by Adam B 2006-12-27 05:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Well, short answer

Lieberman gave one speech decrying Clinton's behavior, but voted against both articles of impeachment.

Clinton himself seemed pretty cool about all of it when he went and campaigned for (post-2000) Joe earlier this year.

Obama, whom you claim to support, also was pretty cool with (post-2000) Lieberman:

What's your problem?

I think you're just trying to run circles around me with duplicitous arguments.

by NuevoLiberal 2006-12-27 07:37AM | 0 recs
asdf

Asking about Lamont,


Will he ((Lamont)) be a leader on environmental issues like Lieberman?

That's a start.

by Adam B on Wed Feb 08, 2006 at 09:06:45 AM PST


Talking about Lieberman:

I use what's effective (none / 0)
People here oppose the war (as do I), so it's silly to try to defend that here, and it's been clear that defending his ((Lieberman's)) record on the environment and civil rights falls on deaf ears.  I've tried, as have others here.
by Adam B on Wed Mar 01, 2006 at 07:58:16 AM PST

If I go on, pretty soon... Lieberman = Adam B's Paul Wellstone :)

BTW, eventhough I like and support Obama (after 9 other favorites), I WAS disappointed about what his share of what happened in CT-Sen this year (yes, that part was indeed slippery of Obama, but according to Tim, so was Edwards).

by NuevoLiberal 2006-12-26 08:17PM | 0 recs
Re: asdf

Weak argument that has nothing to do with the point you were advancing, that Lieberman "was more moderate before, and less so now," and that is decidedly not the case.

If Lieberman was a moderate then, he still is now.  And if he's insufficiently Democratic now, then he was so then.  It's up to you to decide.

by Adam B 2006-12-27 04:59AM | 0 recs
Re: asdf

No.

for starters, after 2000:

  1. Lieberman promoted a preemptive war
  2. joined the "Gang of 14"
  3. considered siding with WH on social security.
  4. in 2006, he rejected the result of a Dem primary and ran a sore loser bid, and ran and utterly dishonest general election campaign.

by NuevoLiberal 2006-12-27 06:03AM | 0 recs
Re: asdf

None of those were things he didn't believe in 2000.  Indeed, Lieberman's "exploration" of social security privatization in the late 90s and school vouchers were really controversial when he was added to the ticket.

by Adam B 2006-12-27 06:43AM | 0 recs
Re: asdf

None of those were things he didn't believe in 2000.

False. Those events post-date 2000. Except for his social security views, the rest of the items happened as result of Bush taking office, and Lieberman becoming a toady and enabler of Bush.

Indeed, Lieberman's "exploration" of social security privatization in the late 90s and school vouchers were really controversial when he was added to the ticket.

Depending on the details, Lieberman's pre-2000 views on social security can be moderate. Remember that I was only claiming he was a moderate before 2000.

In any event, he pledged to support Gore's platform, including,  Gore's plans to secure social security which explicitly opposed and called for securing it using budget surpluses.


Gore on social security in 2000:

We will balance the budget every year and dedicate the budget surplus first to saving Social Security. In the next four years, we will pay off all the national debt this nation accumulated in our first 200 years. This will put us on the path to completely eliminating the debt by 2012, keeping America prosperous far into the future.

...

And to me, family values means honoring our fathers and mothers, teaching our children well, caring for the sick, respecting one another, giving people the power to achieve what they want for their families, putting both Social Security and Medicare in an iron-clad lockbox where the politicians can't touch them. To me, that kind of common sense is a family value.

...

Hands off Medicare and Social Security trust fund money. I'll veto anything that spends it for anything other than Social Security and Medicare.


~~~~~~

I think he was liberal on some issues and moderate on others. The issues where he turned post-date 2000. I see little distinction between pre-2000 Lieberman and pre-2000 Bill Clinton.

I said he was a middle of the road moderate Democrat before 2000. That I think is quite evidently true, based on his pre-2000 record.

~~~~~~

What's this duplicitous argument you're trying to make anyway.

For your purposes, he is "fairly liberal on most issues" (even in 2006). You were aggressively trying to discourage a Lamont run in early 2006. Obama (whom you claim to support) endorsed Lieberman the post-2000 Lieberman in the CT-Sen primary.

Gore opposed the war, and endorsed Dean over Lieberman and Edwards on that ground. Case closed.

by NuevoLiberal 2006-12-27 07:30AM | 0 recs
I see it different on the co-equal.

It is the parents who are legally responsible for the Teenagers actions, it is the teenagers responsibility to take heed at the their own shared responsibility in the allowance of the freedom to participate in the prom and future endeavors. It is as joint as it can be anytime trust and actions depend on the other.

Any psychologist will tell you so, IMO.

by dk2 2006-12-26 10:20AM | 0 recs
Re: I see it different on the co-equal.

Good parents work to instill that sense of responsibility, and if they're successful, the children will grow to be co-equal.

Goverment is not like that. It deals with entities that are not formative. All three branches are expected to exercise proper judgement from day one and thus maintain a system of checks and balances.

by NuevoLiberal 2006-12-26 10:56AM | 0 recs
The two can not be separated.

You are stretching this vote thing too far, is may snap back to hit you.

It may seem like something to some here or in the net, but most of the people were so far behind Bush on the war, they don't care who voted, they only care about bringing the troops home now. And for that matter there are sill many who don't want the pull out.

by dk2 2006-12-26 03:14PM | 0 recs
Re: The two can not be separated.

And for that matter there are sill many who don't want the pull out.

Some 60-70% want to withdraw within a year or so, IIRC.

it may seem like something to some here or in the net, but most of the people were so far behind Bush on the war, they don't care who voted

Elections are also about accountability. Otherwise, Bush and the Republicans could have made up some lies one month before the election (Bush did try; he stopped saying "stay the course"), get elected, and   do whatever the hell they want after getting elected. Repeat the same nonsense 2/4 years later.

In the Democratic primary, where a majority are anti-war, the war vote will and should play an important role.

You are stretching this vote thing too far

This diary criticized Obama, whose war positions that closely (but not necessarily entirely) agree with, hence the discussion started.

is may snap back to hit you.

with expert comments like that, you're the one stretching this endlessly :)

by NuevoLiberal 2006-12-26 03:34PM | 0 recs
you have become a broken record.

Sorry, we just disagree. Time will tell.

by dk2 2006-12-26 08:28PM | 0 recs
instead of throwing an insult casually at me,

why not just agree to disagee and help end the exchange nicely. Have a nice night.

by NuevoLiberal 2006-12-26 09:25PM | 0 recs
W? How were things when he was campagning in 04?

And things weren't horrible in JUNE?

by LindainCincinnati 2006-12-27 08:42AM | 0 recs
the levin amendment

This is its full text:

AMENDMENT NO. 4320

(Purpose: To state the sense of Congress on United States policy on Iraq)
    At the end of subtitle A of title XII, add the following:

  SEC. 1209. UNITED STATES POLICY ON IRAQ.

   (a) Short Title.--This section may be cited as the ``United States Policy on Iraq Act of 2006''.

   (b) Findings.--Congress makes the following findings:

   (1) Global terrorist networks, including those that attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, continue to threaten the national security of the United States and are recruiting, planning, and developing capabilities to attack the United States and its allies throughout the world.

   (2) Winning the fight against terrorist networks requires an integrated, comprehensive effort that uses all facets of power of the United States and the members of the international community who value democracy, freedom, and the rule of law.

   (3) The United States Armed Forces, particularly the Army and Marine Corps, are stretched thin, and many soldiers and Marines have experienced three or more deployments to combat zones.

   (4) Sectarian violence has surpassed the insurgency and terrorism as the main security threat in Iraq, increasing the prospects of a broader civil war which could draw in Iraq's neighbors.

   (5) United States and coalition forces have trained and equipped more than 116,000 Iraqi soldiers, sailors, and airmen, and more than 148,000 Iraqi police, highway patrol, and other Ministry of Interior forces.

   (6) Of the 102 operational Iraqi Army combat battalions, 69 are either in the lead or operating independently, according to the May 2006 report of the Administration to Congress entitled ``Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq'';

   (7) Congress expressed its sense in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 (119 Stat. 3466) that ``calendar year 2006 should be a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty, with Iraqi security forces taking the lead for the security of a free and sovereign Iraq, thereby creating the conditions for the phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq''.

[Page: S6205]  GPO's PDF
    (8) Iraq's security forces are heavily infiltrated by sectarian militia, which has greatly increased sectarian tensions and impeded the development of effective security services loyal to the Iraq Government.

   (9) With the approval by the Iraqi Council of Representatives of the ministers of defense, national security, and the interior on June 7, 2006, the entire cabinet of Prime Minister Maliki is now in place.

   (10) Pursuant to the Iraq Constitution, the Council of Representatives is to appoint a Panel which will have 4 months to recommend changes to the Iraq Constitution.

   (11) Despite pledges of more than $8,000,000,000 in assistance for Iraq by foreign governments other than the United States at the Madrid International Donors' Conference in October 2003, only $3,500,000,000 of such assistance has been forthcoming.

   (12) The current open-ended commitment of United States forces in Iraq is unsustainable and a deterrent to the Iraqis making the political compromises and personnel and resource commitments that are needed for the stability and security of Iraq.

   (c) Sense of Congress.--It is the sense of Congress that in order to change course from an open-ended commitment and to promote the assumption of security responsibilities by the Iraqis, thus advancing the chances for success in Iraq--

   (1) the following actions need to be taken to help achieve the broad-based and sustainable political settlement so essential for defeating the insurgency and preventing all-out civil war--

   (A) there must be a fair sharing of political power and economic resources among all the Iraqi groups so as to invest them in the formation of an Iraqi nation by either amendments to the Iraq Constitution or by legislation or other means, within the timeframe provided for in the Iraq Constitution;

   (B) the President should convene an international conference so as to more actively involve the international community and Iraq's neighbors, promote a durable political settlement among Iraqis, reduce regional interference in Iraq's internal affairs, encourage more countries to contribute to Iraq's extensive needs, and ensure that pledged funds are forthcoming;

   (C) the Iraq Government should promptly and decisively disarm the militias and remove those members of the Iraqi security forces whose loyalty to the Iraq Government is in doubt; and

   (D) the President should--

   (i) expedite the transition of United States forces in Iraq to a limited presence and mission of training Iraqi security forces, providing logistic support of Iraqi security forces, protecting United States infrastructure and personnel, and participating in targeted counterterrorism activities;

   (ii) after consultation with the Government of Iraq, begin the phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq this year; and

   (iii) submit to Congress a plan by the end of 2006 with estimated dates for the continued phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq, with the understanding that unexpected contingencies may arise;

   (2) during and after the phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq, the United States will need to sustain a nonmilitary effort to actively support reconstruction, governance, and a durable political solution in Iraq; and

   (3) the President should carefully assess the impact that ongoing United States military operations in Iraq are having on the capability of the United States Government to conduct an effective counterterrorism campaign to defeat the broader global terrorist networks that threaten the United States.

by Adam B 2006-12-26 05:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama: For Redeployment Before I was Against I

what's the way forward for politicians that make such big show of constantly seeking a middle, er, bipartisan way on the issues of our day?

Obama knows how to reach out to Republicans.  The goal for all progressives should be to make our way the "middle" way.  Which is what Obama's rhetoric suggests to me he is trying to do.

by ri 2006-12-26 07:52AM | 0 recs
It's The Integrity, Stupid!

What sticks out for me is what a good lawyer Obama is, particularly for one who spent most of his time teaching, rather than practicing the law.

Whatever position (client) he chooses to adopt (represent), he does so zealously, laying out the most comprehensive justification in moral terms, admitting possible flaws while making sure to cast these as outside the realm of moral consideration.  ("Mistakes were made," as the Iran-Contra apologists' mantra went.  Technical, not moral failure. Passive, not active voice.)

The problem is, as a politician, he is not playing to a series of juries in isolation.  When he changes moral frameworks, he does so in front of the entire nation--at least those who are paying attention.  Of course, all politicians do this, to a greater or lesser extent. (The Senate's leading Vietnam War critics were primarily men who had voted for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, for example.) But those with more integrity feel compelled to examine their own changes in moral stance, and to offer some sort of explanation.

This is conspicuously missing in Obama, so far as I can tell.  Instead, he feels compelled to explain to us why we are morally inferior for questioning him.  We're too ideological.  Too rigid.  Or simply too naive about the way the game is played--even though he, of course, is highly critical of the way the game is played, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at least.  On Tuesday and Thursday, not so much.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-12-26 08:13AM | 0 recs
How dare you!

You have some nerve questioning Obama's credentials as the liberal savior who will lead us to the promised land! I mean, so what if he's unproven and often seemingly unprincipled? He wrote a damn good book, gave some great speeches, and made me feel like the special person that my mom always told me I was! For that, apparently, he deserves our unquestioned and uncritical devotion.

/snark

To be honest I have the same feelings about Obama's "anti-war stance" when he wasn't in the Senate as I had about Dean's, i.e. it's a lot easier to take controversial stances on issues when you don't actually have to vote on them. In 2003 I didn't trust Dean's stance on the war was anything more than an opportunistic attempt to curry favor with a certain segment of the Dem demographic. Not there is necessarily anything wrong with that, nor am I certain that either Dean or Obama's stances weren't grounded in their morals. I am certain that it takes a lot more guts, and it means a lot more, (see: Wellstone, Paul) to put your ass on the line for a real vote on a controversial issue.

What has Obama actually done, other than write a book and give a few good speeches, to show that he has a superior moral center to the rest of the DC Dems?

by Alex Urevick 2006-12-26 08:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama: For Redeployment Before I was Against I

The Reed-Levin Amendment is the closest thing to a consensus Democratic position on the war at this time.  If we consider support for Reed-Levin to be something worthy of bashing, these primaries are really going to be a bloodbath.

by Steve M 2006-12-26 10:41AM | 0 recs
Just the usual groundless Obama-bashing

going on. Interesting that everything Obama says and does is twisted into something negative, while other candidates (read Edwards) get away with being more conservative than Obama on every issue and actually voting for and actively supporting the Iraq war.  Talk about being "for it before being against it".

This diary is just another one in a long line of baseless attacks on Obama. I see nothing in this diary that merits criticism of him.

Obama/Webb in 2008.

by Populism2008 2006-12-26 10:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Just the usual groundless Obama-bashing

I found the diary substantive- because someone leveled a claim/question and others provided counter factual arguments. If you think that's bashing, then I think you are doing the process a disservice

by bruh21 2006-12-26 12:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Just the usual groundless Obama-bashing

up until this string in this diary- i actually came out of it for once seeing a substantive discussion. isn't that a good thing?

by bruh21 2006-12-26 12:52PM | 0 recs
Edwards Owns Up To Being Wrong

Obama blurs his position so as to be all things to all people.

That's the difference.

And it's a difference worthy of serious debate.  When you complain that it's "another one in a long line of baseless attacks on Obama," you are simply showing that (1) you are incapable of engaging in rational debate, and (2) that you project your incapacity onto those you disagree with.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-12-26 03:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Owns Up To Being Wrong

"You are simply showing that (1) you are incapable of engaging in rational debate, and (2) that you project your incapacity onto those you disagree with."

Hmm...that would seem to describe your message...interesting.

by BrionLutz 2006-12-26 05:06PM | 0 recs
You're The Clueless Loser

who endlessly repeats talking points that have been refuted 10,000 times already.

Not me.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-12-26 05:30PM | 0 recs
Re: You're The Clueless Loser

""You are simply showing that (1) you are incapable of engaging in rational debate, and (2) that you project your incapacity onto those you disagree with."

"You're The Clueless Loser who endlessly repeats talking points that have been refuted 10,000 times already"

Thanks. I think your comments made my point quite clearly that criticism of Obama is emotional and does not speak to the issues.

by BrionLutz 2006-12-27 07:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards Owns Up To Being Wrong

actually he keeps effective arguing his position, and folks follow up by saying about nothing. somwhere along obama is great because obama is great. and when a diary does posit both sides of the debate about obama's position that's called bashing. it's really interestint how a debate is now bashing. i suppose Kos's list is correct that he posted regarding supporters of various contenders and their ramblings about their guy. You know the reality is that I have no one that I am that particular to yet. I would even consider obama because I do think he has some potential- but the key word is some potential. what's turning me off- some of condescention when these questions are being asked, and some of his supporters online. as a gop person I know from work said to me- if they think the things you are asking are hard questions, wait until we jump in.

by bruh21 2006-12-26 05:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama: For Redeployment Before I was Against I

I had a diary recently on Dkos with the quote Obama made when he said there was not much difference between his position and Bush


"On Iraq, on paper, there's not as much difference, I think, between the Bush administration and a Kerry administration as there would have been a year ago." He added, "There's not that much difference between my position and George Bush's position at this stage. The difference, in my mind, is who's in a position to execute."
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/12/17 /20754/427

I do not think it is "bashing" to bring up things that need clarifying especially since Obama is one of the frontrunners in the race.

by robliberal 2006-12-26 12:17PM | 0 recs
Obama voted against pointless vanity amendment

Seems like Obama articulated very clearly why he voted against the pointless vanity amendment which was meant, as Obama pointed out, to provide political "cover" for Kerry, Clinton, Biden and others who voted for the Iraq war that Obama opposed.

by BrionLutz 2006-12-26 03:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama: For Redeployment Before I was Against I

Compare and contrast.

23 brave Senators voted against the war in October 2002.  Of these, 20 were still in the Senate and able to vote on the Kerry Amendment in June 2006 - the vote which this diary casts as a "flip-flop" for Obama.

Here are the names of the Senators who voted against the war in October 2002, and also voted against the Kerry Amendment in June 2006:

Bingaman
Byrd
Chafee (R)
Conrad
Dayton
Levin
Mikulski
Murray
Reed
Sarbanes
Stabenow

Among these names are some of my favorite liberal voices in the Senate, and maybe some of yours as well.

It strikes me that anyone who wants to cast Obama as unprincipled based upon his anti-war position from 2002, coupled with his vote on the Kerry Amendment in June 2006, necessarily maligns each of these Senators as well.  I would prefer not to go there.

by Steve M 2006-12-26 10:56PM | 0 recs
just like all other answers, speaks on both sides

of his mouth.

Just like New Hampshire interview, he "will break DNC rules and campaign in New Hampshire first", but he "thinks having a caucus in Nevada and a Primary in South Carolina is a good move to give voice to a diverse group of voters".

Or

"I'm all for Universal Health Care, but I don't want a Single Payer system like Canada has".

Then there is another famous quote:

. Progressive candidates generally have a harder time raising money, he said, and at times some of them will “trim their sails” on behalf of the people who are financing them. “When I say that,” he was hasty to add, “I want to make sure I’m not saying all the time.

by LindainCincinnati 2006-12-27 08:51AM | 0 recs
Re: just like all other answers, speaks

"I'm all for Universal Health Care, but I don't want a Single Payer System like Canada has."

That's pretty smart. I want universal health care, but I don't want a health care system like Canada's, either. Who says you have to be the Canadian model is the only one?

by clarkent 2006-12-27 03:13PM | 0 recs

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