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Dems' Strategy on Iraq: Hit the Gas When You Can See the Cliff Up Ahead
By David Sirota
The Washington Post reports that Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), one of the most outspoken Democrats pushing the Iraq War, is now setting up a Political Action Committee (PAC) to help Democratic candidates "hone the party's message on defense-related matters." Hang on a sec...sorry, let me stop laughing uncontrollably...
Ok. Let's repeat that, just because its so snarf-your-drink-through-your-nose hilarious: the same congresswoman who, as a ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, helped emasculate the party's ability to speak credibly on the most pressing national security issue of our time is now setting up an organization to "help" Democrats "hone" their message on defense issues.
This is just more proof that when it comes to Iraq, Democrats' strategy seems to be put your head down and hit the gas even as the cliff up ahead quickly approaches.
Think of the equivalent. Imagine Michael Dukakis or George McGovern setting up an organization to teach Democrats how to run successful presidential election campaigns. Or how about Dan Rostenkowski setting up a school to teach Democrats about ethics? What about FEMA's Mike Brown after Hurricane Katrina flloating his name for promotion to head the entire Department of Homeland Security?
The fact is, Harman's efforts will likely be nothing but another veiled attempt by the insulated Democratic "Strategic Class" in Washington to continue perpetuating the worst right-wing lies about progressives on foreign policy. You know the lies: progressives are unpatriotic because they opposed blindly invading Iraq on the basis of what we knew were clearly fabrications; because progressives advocate for a more multilateral, cooperative foreign policy, they are weak; And because progressives want our military to actually focus on the real enemies in the War on Terror (ie. al Qaeda and the 9/11 bombers rather than Iraq and Saddam Hussein), they are not tough.
These lies, mind you, haven't gained real traction without the help of self-destructive Democrats themselves. People like Harman, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), and Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) have all openly reinforced these "Democrats-are-weak-on-national-security" lies in order to get themselves headlines. It is the political equivalent of saying "Thank you sir, may I have another?" instead of simply calling out the right-wing spin on progressives' defense positions for what it is: a bunch of steaming horse manure.
And remember - America knows it is horse manure. The public opposes the war, wants an exit strategy, believes the conflict is damaging U.S. national security, and thinks the war is hurting the effort to win the War on Terror. It seems the only people who are unwilling to say that the "weak-on-national-security" line is a lie are Democrats themselves - the very people being smeared with the lie in the first place.
Instead, Democrats have refused to support legislation forcing the President to outline an exit strategy from Iraq, and have sent their top leaders out to telling the public that the party simply doesn't need a coherent position on the War Just see profile-in-courage Rahm Emanuel's embarrassingly inane verbal acrobatics on Meet the Press this last week. Then, read the links below where here and here his cadre of D.C. Democratic operative friends kissing his ass for the performance and praising him as a saint as American troops are left in a violent quagmire (hmm...wonder if anyone is jonesing for a nice fat DCCC consulting contract?).
True, we shouldn't be surprised by the "Strategic Class's" behavior. Harman and the elitist cadre of foreign policy "experts" in D.C. are by and large people who never have to actually experience the bloody, life-and-death real-world consequences of their complicity in the neocon's pro-war agenda. These people, who have paralyzed the party from taking an official and coherent position on the war, are the personification of the thumb-in-the-wind political prevarication that the public disdains.
But even these morally bankrupt souls have to be able to see the obvious, right? Even if they are willing to sell out America's national security in order to feel "tough" and "strong," at the very least shouldn't they still respond to their own selfish electoral prospects? Can they not understand that ignoring Iraq is not only hideously heartless and woefully weak, but also politically precarious as the 2006 elections approach?