Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Politics of Iraq

The Republicans are nothing if not consistent with spin. Listening through a couple weeks of podcasts of the various talking heads shows, I heard the same argument, almost word for word, coming out of every hack's mouth: "Sure, every single decision we've made about Iraq has been wrong, but we are decisive. The Democrats aren't credible because they just don't have a plan."

There are many layers of lies here, but they are all in support of what seems a very authentic belief: strong decisions made by flinty men, no matter how catastrophic the consequences, are always better than Nancy-boy equivocation. (It is, sadly, a view most Americans share, and is why they re-elected an incompetent who couldn't find his own ass in a dark room.) Never mind that Dems have a number of plans, even if they are mostly provisional (Biden's partition proposal excepted), never mind that Bush's own plan is for withdrawal over the next two years, and never mind that the Dems won't be in power to implement any plan they might have for almost exactly two years (at the earliest). That's the spin.

It is subtlely pursuasive to many people and nearly all journalists, but Dems are hedging for a reason. If they come out with strong proposals on Iraq now, those proposals, and the candidate's chances, will become casualties of history. They have no ability to even consider the war--debate will be stymied in the Senate unless the terms are set by the minority--much less actually implement any plan they might offer. Worse, the election isn't for 21 months. No plan would be relevant in six months, much less two years. Trying to offer more than general frameworks is political suicide.

The GOP know this, and that's why they continue with their attack on Democratic equivocation. The MSM, playing the rubes, are once again making the talking points for the GOP when they accept the terms of this argument.


Zak J. said...

Iraq is one of those situations where the stakes are real, and the consequences of "hedging," as you put it, include a daily increase in the body count.

George Bush had failed at governing partially because he refused any partnership with his opponents, whom he views as enemies to crush at any cost. The Democrats should not make the same mistake.

For example, I hope Biden does not make the mistake of pushing through any more partisan resolutions--as much as I agree with them--that have no chance on the Senate floor when he could compromise with his Republican colleagues and actually influence the Executive branch in a way that's good for the whole country.

It's not fair that Democrats always have to be the ones to act like adults in Washington D.C. (or Oregon for that matter), but the consequence of having both major parties govern as irresponsibly as the Republicans have since 1994 would be worse.

I think Democrats could bolster their image as "flinty men" by showing they can produce results.

Jeff Alworth said...

Zak, what would you have the Dems do? They do not control the military. Anything short of impeaching Bush and they have no more real control over the situation than bloggers. It does Democrats no good to offer hypotheticals about how they might govern were they commanding the vast resources of the Pentagon.

On the other hand, they could be talking about Iran. I'd be gettin' flinty with that topic ASAP if I were looking to establish some foreign policy bona fides.

Chuck Butcher said...

Impeach - Constitutional Grounds

that's action - whether is succeeds or not

No, there aren't the votes and won't be, that was proven this week

Zak J. said...

I wrote to Wyden and Smith both about Iran back in September or October when certain navy ships were moved ordered closer to the Persian Gulf theater. (I was frankly surprised Bush & Co. didn't launch an attack on Iran prior to the elections.)

Wyden duly noted my concerns, as did Smith, who added there were no plans to expand to war to include Iran as far as he was aware. Funny thing was, I got my reply in the mail almost the same day we started publicly rounding up Iranians in Iraq. I responded to Smith that perhaps he should dig a little deeper.

I'm with Chuck on impeachment. It took me a long time to get here, mainly because impeachment itself came into such disrepute due how it was used against Clinton. But Bush, Cheney, Rice, Gonzales, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, probably Tommy Franks, and a host of others are criminals in two clear ways: willful violation of the Geneva Conventions and similar violations of U.S. laws pertaining to torture. Through in warrantless wiretapping, renditions, holding Americans without charge--well, you know the list.

These people ALL belong in jail. I heard Germany indicted Rumsfeld as soon as he lost the immunity of his office. A certain judge in Spain no doubt has papers ready to file as soon as Dick & W. step down. I'd like to see my own country stand up for its principles as well. It's time to end this nonsense.