Updated: Why Jerome is wrong about Obama . . . again.
by lovingj, Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 01:00:49 PM EDT
Why Jerome is wrong about Obama . . . again.
Front page poster Jerome Armstrong wrote a diary today entitled Making Iraq the Issue in which he offers a strong critique of Obama's anti-war credentials given, according to the author, "[Obama's] lack of consistency [on the issue of Iraq]." Now I make no claims of being unbias, unlike Mr. Armstrong, and I am quite vocal to my fellow MyDD peers about how strong of a supporter I am for the Obama campaign. I do not dispute that Mr. Armstrong's piece was indeed fact based, however, his interpretation of the facts are just plain wrong.
First is Jerome's following interpretation:
Let's examine Jerome's measure of having credibility to end the war. According to Mr. Armstrong, the only way to have continued credibility on ending the war is to support complete discontinuation of the war funds. First and foremost, there is no democratic candidate who supports completely cutting off the funds for the war except for Kucinich and Gravel. In particular John Edwards, who I suspect Jerome supports (not fact based so do not go crazy over this suspicion), even to this day does not support complete cut off of funds. He supports the solution that originated with Obama which calls for phased withdrawal and then using funding restrictions to force the strategy. Edwards very recently went Meet the Press(see included video) to emphasize that he will not advocate for defunding the troops while they are in battle.
More importantly, Obama has been the most consistent in terms of his position on the war of any of the major democratic candidates. He opposed the war from the start, however, he clearly stated the once we were in that there would be no easy way to get out and he said this as far back as 2002.
Then in November of 2005 during a speech to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations Obama also reiterated this point:
Again, even as he opposed the war from the start, he has been consistent in his advocacy for a responsible withdrawal. This position was made very clear at the recent AFSCME presidential forum when Obama stated that, "we have to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in [wink, wink, Jerome that in no way means he believes in cutting off funds]."
Jerome implied that Obama now in favors defunding as evident by his recent no vote on the last supplemental. Contrary to popular opinion, a "no" vote on a bill is not a conclusive indication that someone does not support the bill itself. It could, as it did in Obama's case, mean that the person does not support the current form of the bill. Obama's no vote was the result of the bill not carrying any restrictions on the funds (i.e. a phased withdrawal or shortened supplementals, both of which he took the lead on) and not, as Jerome suggests, him making a grandstand show of support for defunding as a way to end the war. Therefore, we can conclude that his voting record on funding as well as the recent no vote on the latest spending supplemental is quite consistent with Obama's previous position. I say it again: Obama never agreed with this war but he does believe it is our responsibility, since the war was initiated anyway, to make withdrawal as painless as possible.
Oddly, Jerome attempts to contrast what he believes is Obama's lack of consistency on Iraq with John Edwards 2003 vote against the 87 billion dollar supplemental. However, I did a diary on this particular topic about a month ago entitled Wrong! My response to Do the Math: Edwards Critical of Iraq war Since 2003 which illustrated John Edwards continued inconsistencies on the issue of the war. Suprisingly, with just a few sprinkles of google we find that just three days before the $87 billion supplemental vote that John Edwards went on Hardball and said:
Consistency? And just a month earlier than that he said, "We have young men and women overthere in a dangerous environment. They're in a shooting gallery, very dangerous situation, and we have to make sure they get what they need. That's pretty simple." (CBS's "Face The Nation", 9/21/03). As a matter of fact, the following video shows just how consistent Obama has been in contrast to Edwards during the period between 2002 to 2004.
Jerome then goes on to state:
Where to begin? Foremost, Jerome suggests Obama is trying to become this cycle's Howard Dean which exemplifies a serious lack of understanding about the Obama campaign. Obama is not trying to be a 2008 Dean. He knows he only have to be the 2008 Obama. Dean, as Jerome accurately states, never supported funding for the war, however, Obama has never once tried to emulate Dean's position. Obama, as I have stated before, advocated for funding with restrictions with the end goal being a total withdrawal. Furthermore, Howard Dean was never in a position to effect change on the issue while Obama, Edwards and Clinton were or are. Therefore, Obama can make the "preemptive differentiation" that he is the only credible democratic nominee of the top contenders on the issue of the war precisely because he did, on record, oppose the war from the start and very presciently at that.
Then Jerome goes on to make the following implication:
What 180? Short of a total cut off of funds, Obama has consistently stated that he would only support measures of funding that allowed for restrictions leading up to a phased withdrawal of the troops. He introduced a bill on January 30th of this year that called for a phased withdrawal of all combat troops by March 2008. This bill was the basis for the initial supplemental that Congress sent to Bush and it ultimately fell victim to a presidential veto. But it was Obama who got the ball rolling on this issue. Russ Feingold reiterated this sentiment back in March of this year when he said to the Chicago Tribune,
Jerome attempts, without evidence to back it up mind you, to make the following accusation:
What? It is true that the vast majority of democrats support funding of the war. However, Jerome intentionally leaves out the fact that the vast majority of Democrats only supports funding of the war if it results in restrictions or timetables. Additionally, Jerome's claim that Obama saying "to not fund the war was to deny material support to the troops" to be a purely Republican frame is not entirely accurate. George Bush is a lame duck president with nothing to lose and has shown time and again that he is hell bent on taking this war to the end. What is to stop him from keeping the troops over there once the funds are discontinued? Has George Bush shown any past inclination to adhere to the laws of reason that would make this so called "republican frame" be any less a statement of truth? Truth supercedes partisanship.
Finally, Jerome asks the question,
Answer: 16 votes away from building a veto proof majority in Congress to bring this war to an end. Instead of sending the same bill back eight million times to a president who has shown an unwillingness to compromise, Obama has been using the leverage of his people powered campaign to urge citizens in states with key Republican senators to force the hand of these representatives on the war. Frankly, it looks like this strategy is working as evidenced by the following article, Who's next to defect on Iraq?
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