by barbara with a little help from her friends
I've been agonizing over the seeming inability of Dems to take back the war (BTW, did you know there's a war in Iraq, mission accomplished notwithstanding??).
There must be a way to shut it down, bring it home, lock it in Cheney's bunker and never let it see the light of day again.
While trying to figure this out, I ran across a piece on Daily Kos today, who in turn had run across a piece at TPM Cafe.
Progressive bloggers play nicely together and share our stuff with you. Read on:
Democrats and Iraq
Thu Jun 22, 2006 at 04:17:02 PM PDT
Paul Begala has a good post on Iraq over at TPM Cafe and an instructive take, I believe, on how Democrats can take on the issue in the coming months.
The media are hyperventilating about "Democrats in disarray" over the war in Iraq. ABC's "The Note" captures the stupidity, vapidity and gullibility of the mainstream media perfectly: "Democrats can deny it all they want (and not all do. . .), but they are on the precipice of self-immolating over the issue that has most crippled the Bush presidency and of making facts on the ground virtually meaningless. In other words, they are on the precipice of making Iraq a 2006 political winner for the Republican Party."
As usual, the Smart Guys have it backwards. Democrats can and will win the Iraq debate if they embrace the fact that they disagree and contrast it with the slavish, mindless rubber-stamp Republicans.
The only place in the American government where there is an honest and spirited debate over Iraq is within the Democratic Party. Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer are not on the same page - and that's a good thing. Hillary Clinton and John Kerry disagree. Hooray for that.... At least someone is debating what to do.
The fact is the American people want a new direction in Iraq, and the Democrats offer several. The Republicans, on the other hand, offer nothing more than a four-word strategy: more of the same.
In short, Democrats can and will win the debate over the war in Iraq not by playing defense (pleading "We're NOT for cut and run!") but on offense: the Republican Congress has blindly backed a failed strategy that has left 2,500 Americans dead, 20,000 wounded, and put us $2 trillion in the hole.
Being part of a party that has three or four different new approaches to Iraq beats the hell out of being part of a party that marches in lockstep off a cliff.
Begala's point is one that should be hammered home on every issue in which this Rubber Stamp Republican Congress is in lockstep with BushCo: contrast. We're actively looking for and debating solutions; they're doggedly "staying the course."
But no where will this carry more weight with American voters than in the Iraq debate. We've long since passed the point at which soothing half-truths (and outright lies) like "Mission Accomplished" or "last throes" will wash with a public whose eyes have opened to the truth of this debacle.
The Democrats have to have a plan to win the public's trust? Well how about we have three plans? How about we finally have an honest and open debate about the mess this administration created in Iraq, and the incredibly complex job we're going to have getting out of it? Isn't that what governance is?
You can't count on the Rubber Stamp Republicans to force the administration to answer the hard questions. Hell, they won't even come up with the questions in the first place. The Democrats understand the complexity of this war, and are willing to start the hard work of debating and finding solutions.
Barbara says: We would love to hear your reaction to this theory. And then one of these days, perhaps we will move from the theoretical to the actual doing of it!!