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Iraq, Democrats and the Netroots
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, June 13, 2007

While it is certainly Harry Reid who is taking the brunt of the fallout from the ineffectiveness of the Democratic Congress to end the war in Iraq, he isn't the only one who made the promises. But he is, at least, acknowledging that in order to gain the power they have, they certainly overpromised:
Reid said however that Democrats, saddled with a thin majority in Congress, had raised unrealistic expectations about their ability to end the war, among supporters who powered their takeover of Congress last year.

"We set the bar too high," he said, noting that under Senate rules, Democrats needed 60 votes in the 100 seat chamber to thwart Republican blocking tactics.
This doesn't and hasn't impressed or mollified the activist base as exemplified by an Arrianna Huffington piece yesterday:
With each passing day, Washington, D.C. is turning into the Land That Time Forgot.

While the rest of the country is dealing with the here and now — exemplified by Bush's puny approval ratings and this new poll showing rural voters turning against the GOP's handling of Iraq — the Beltway's Democratic dinosaurs are acting like it's 2002. For them, Bush still has credibility on Iraq, Democrats still need to tread lightly in opposing the war for fear of alienating red state and swing voters, and Iraq is still a right vs left issue.
Huffington goes on with a rather entertaining denunciation of the Democratic leadership which, whether you agree or not, exemplifies well the Netroots feeling toward them.

Huffington points to a recent piece by Stuart Rothenberg as proof that Congressional Democrats still don't get it:
The latest proof that Tyrannosaurus Democrat is not an extinct species comes in the fossilized thinking of Stuart Rothenberg, editor of The Rothenberg Political Report. Writing in Roll Call, the Cro-Magnon pundit waxed ecstatic over Congressional Democrats' handling of the war funding issue, spinning the Dems' capitulation as having "played the issue like a Stradivarius," and proclaiming: "From a purely political point of view, Democrats had their cake and ate it too."
For once I actually agree with Huffington's point. If this was a win, I'd hate to see a loss. She's put off by the exceedingly careful and cautious nature of the new Democratic Congress supported by pundits such as Rothenberg. However Huffington can't manage to make her point without the same emotional appeal that Keving Drum and Spencer Ackerman find to be such a self-defeating mantra for the left:
"Why take a chance alienating swing voters," ask Rothenberg, "when the party already made its point by sending the president a deadline bill that he voted?" How about because a deadline bill is the right bill for the country — and without it there will be hundreds more dead young Americans, and a less safe future for our children?
She then issues a flat warning:
Instead, Rothenberg lauds the spineless positioning that led Democrats to defeat in 2000, 2002, and 2004: "The Democratic House and Senate leaders wisely played things safe by allowing a bill to pass that Bush could sign." Memo to Democrats interested in winning in 2008: from now until the next Election Day, do not use the words "wisely" and "play things safe" in the same sentence. Or paragraph. Or even the same speech.
This is a visceral demonstration of the frustration that has been building among the Netroots concerning the lack of action by the Democrats. With Harry Reid acknowledging that Democrats "set the bar to high" - i.e. made promises they most certainly knew they couldn't keep - concerning Iraq, I frankly don't see it getting any better for Congressional Democrats. The framing is set, the rock and hard place they find themselves between is of their own making and I don't see them slipping out of it any times soon. '08 is obviously still a long way off, but if Iraq is the bellwether issue upon which the Netroot support for Democrats turns, Democrats better hope they can convince a bunch of Republicans to help them out on Iraq if they want to retain power.

The unfortunate thing for Republicans is they'll probably be able to do that as the election grows near. As we all know, all the inhabitants inside the DC beltway are a peculiar species long noted for their lack of spine.
 
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There is an intriguing parallel between the Democrats and their base on Iraq, and the GOP and its base on immigration. Establishment thinking is that both parties are hurt by the tactics and position of it’s "base" while each base thinks that the parties should adopt their position. The GOP base thinks Republicans should become focused on "no amnesty and kick out all illegals" while the Democratic base wants their party to "fight tooth and nail to end the war in Iraq using all Congressional power possible."

Though I wouldn’t dismiss Huffington’s concern about dead Americans as emotional alone. Concern about loss of life should be something taken seriously, because it has a real impact on families and the country. If one thinks fighting in Iraq is not in the national interest, then they also believe that those deaths are pointless and a waste. Agree or disagree, if one has a belief that lives are being sacrificed in vain, shouldn’t one speak out?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The framing is set, the rock and hard place they find themselves between is of their own making...
So they’re between Iraq and a hard place...?

Sorry. I’m not normally a punner, but my sons just watched one of the Hot Shots movies, in which that horrible pun is shown on a map.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
So they’re between Iraq and a hard place...?
I think you need pun-ishment :)
 
Written By: cap joe
URL: http://
There is an intriguing parallel between the Democrats and their base on Iraq, and the GOP and its base on immigration.
My understanding is that on immigration, quite a few Dems agree with the GOP "base".
Though I wouldn’t dismiss Huffington’s concern about dead Americans as emotional alone.
I dismiss it as political opportunism. Dead patriotic Americans is win-win for the Democrats.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Believe it or not, many of us don’t like the policy in Iraq because of a distrust of interventionism and a belief that the war weakens the US and aids extremists. There can be disagreement on that, of course, but to assume opponents are political opportunists is usually not accurate. Of course, with Huffington...
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Believe it or not, a lot of us are unhappy with Bush over Iraq because he hasn’t fought the war hard enough. For example, the first bleating about how badly we treat prisoners should have been greeted with a pointed reminder that non-uniformed combatants are considered the same as pirates under international law, subject to immediate execution, and a general order to do just that.

As for Iran, the first weapons shipment caught should have triggered the destruction of their gasoline refinery.
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
Believe it or not, a lot of us are unhappy with Bush over Iraq because he hasn’t fought the war hard enough.
Ah, you’re just another "Bush hater." :-)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Could you continue to miss the point if I impaled you on it.

Whenever you want to start talking about "70% of Americans don’t support the war", think about how much of that 70% is people like me.
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://

Whenever you want to start talking about "70% of Americans don’t support the war", think about how much of that 70% is people like me.
I suspect not many.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Reason:
"My understanding is that on immigration, quite a few Dems agree with the GOP "base".
See the latest polls (one of which I link in another thread). According to that poll, 56% of Democrats agree with the Republican base on this issue.

Propaganda:
"I suspect not many."

 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
Propaganda:
Propaganda is to quote a poll about immigration and then pull a line talking about the Iraq war and pretending that line was about immigration.

Your propaganda is, however, ineffective and transparent. All one has to do is look up to the post above it. You try, Robert, you get credit for effort.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Professor Erb. I’ll bet you are a killer on term papers. Reading comprehension.

The frame was simple enough: Reason vs. Propaganda. Yes, the Reason statement concerned one subject and the Propaganda statement concerned another. No matter. No reader above the eighth grade should have become so confused. Or is it that you are attempting (yet again) to desregard the framing altogether in order to set up a point you wish to make?

Credit for effort? The appropriate grade is C+. "I suspect not many" is really more an opinion that a statement; still, an opinion designed to make a propaganda point. Of course an unbiased grader would award a B+, but that is not whom we are dealing with here, is it?
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
"I suspect not many" is really more an opinion that a statement; still, an opinion designed to make a propaganda point.
Are all opinions just propaganda points, or only those you disagree with?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
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