Skip to main content

An online-only column in Newsweek today blames Democrats for not taking the purportedly "obvious" position on Iraq: refusing to pass any legislation funding the occupation at all unless Bush caves into their demands.  In the face of compromise or complete defunding, Newsweek asserts, "the public would cheer."

The author makes a point of celebrating his own skepticism that the Republicans would be willing to compromise on Iraq this past September, and certainly few people go broke betting that the GOP will be recalcitrant.  My quarrel with the author is his lack of skepticism in the opposite direction.  "The public would cheer" a refusal to pass any funding legislation?  I'm skeptical -- and the Democratic leadership clearly is as well.  And if that's not true, then the Democrats' best course is not "obvious," and we should refrain from beating them up if they are truly in a "no-win situation."  Rather, we should focus our efforts on convincing the public to the point where they will cheer and on bashing the real cause of the problem: Republicans.

This diary absolutely, positively, not associated with any candidate or campaign.

Newsweek's position demonstrates a couple of problems well-known in social and political psychology: the blacktop illusion (a term coined by the psychologist Charles Osgood in his excellent anti-war work) and overcrediting public opinion poll marginals.  Taking these in turn:

1. The "blacktop illusion"

What's the best position one could possibly have when criticizing agents of a large group -- whether leaders of a country, a party, a union, or a blog -- for not holding a position one favors?  That would be to claim that while the broad membership of that group agrees with one's critical position, it's the corrupt leadership that prevents that view from taking effect.

The asserted problem with the leadership may come from various sources: because they're concerned with their own power or self-interest (usually called "the agency problem"), or that they just don't get it or are afraid to act.  In any event the position of arguing that oneself as a critic is more in tune with the group as a whole than the group's leaders is a powerful one.  We do this all the time when it comes to foreign policy, most notoriously when it came to the Soviet Union, but since then in the cases of China, North Korea, France, Iran, the Sunni Muslim world, and so on -- even if the face of data such as the collapse of support for the U.S. in Turkey and Indonesia that should make it clear to us that the masses are not secretly on our side.

Today, Newsweek applied the blacktop illusion to the Democratic Party.

The problems with the blacktop illusion are that it is so convenient and so unsupported.  I'll deal with its being unsupported below, but for now let's just consider how easy it makes the world.  There's no real problem there at all, it's just a failure of the will of the leadership!  If you just believe, everything will be OK.  It's a pervasive theme in children's fantasy: Luke can defeat the whole bleeding empire by using the Force, Tinkerbell is revived by clapping, etc.

Unfortunately, problems in the real world are usually more intractable than that.  Agency problems certainly do exist, but usually on top of an underlying actual serious problem.  Acting as if all there is is an agency problem -- the Democratic leadership is too lily-livered, or bought off, or what have you -- when that's not so doesn't get one closer to a solution.  It feels good, because it suggests that a solution is so readily achieved by the pure of heart, but that's seldom so.  Sometimes that underlying problem can be tied to an agency problem -- such as when we have a corrupt, special-interest-controlled political system to which our agents must accommodate themselves in order to accomplish even half of what they'd like -- but that that case just swapping in new agents (even the pure of heart), if even possible, won't solve the problem.  If the system is corrupt enough, the pure of heart will get ignored or trampled.

My problem, then, with a "blacktop" view of the Democratic Party is not only that it assumes that the leadership is more free to act than in may be, but that it is much too easy and appealing for critics to adopt.  If this theory is true, then all we need to do is whip the donkey until it bleeds and give each other high fives.  How likely does that sound?

2. Overcrediting public opinion polls

The Newsweek columnist has here joined the ranks of what I've called "defundamentalists," who are convinced that simply refusing to pass a bill would be easy, decisive, and wildly popular.  Some arguments for defunding are simplistic -- "'we' have 50 votes, and 41 is enough to filibuster funding" or "'we' have a majority in the House, so we can refuse to produce a funding bill at all" (not taking into account the probable ideological choices of the members we'd need to be on our side) -- while others are more sophisticated, claiming that representatives should and will vote our way because the public is on our side.  Newsweek takes the more sophisticated position: if we do the right thing, the public will flock to us.  But will it?

I have to grant that the public is frustrated with Iraq -- frustration that includes those who think we should never have been in Iraq at all, those who think we were right to get in but have stayed too long under the circumstances, and those who lovingly eye our nukes and think that we're not doing enough to win.  They all show up as "unhappy" in the polls, even that last group.  As I recall, polls show something like 70% of the public wants us out.  That's great.  But what does it really mean?

What we want it to mean is that 70% of the public will support someone who acts -- in any way -- to stop the war, regardless of future consequences.  I'll admit right now: if that's true, then the Democratic leaders really are being stupid.  But, being experienced at this game, they must have their doubts as to whether that's really so.

First of all, members of the public wants many incompatible things at the same time, and don't feel obliged to reconcile the differences.  The classic example is that wide majorities of the public usually want both lower taxes and more services.  And, in fact, that's what they get.  They also, as a result, get huge budget deficits, which they also don't like, but these are easier to ignore.

Second, the public often favors easy solutions that won't happen.  Again the classic example involves budget priorities.  Some people say that the easy solution is the cut agricultural subsidies, others say social welfare programs, others say defense.  But budget cutting isn't that easy: whether we should cut ag subsidies is much more important to farmers than it is to anyone else; it becomes their single issue, and they demand that it be honored as part of any compromise.  The same with defense.  It's less true for social welfare, and you see what happens.  Just because something can happen, theoretically, doesn't mean that in the actual self-interested political world it will likely happen, and if you actually want a solution you have to prepare for that.

Third, members of the public are very bad in the aggregate at predicting its own future choices and remembering their past ones.  Again, poll respondents have no burden of consistency.  Their 70% for withdrawal today does not mean that they can't turn around tomorrow and not only change their minds, but forget and deny that they ever took the anti-war position to begin with.  Again, politicians know this, and their critics should know it as well.

Put these together, and one reaches the conclusion that it is far from "obvious" that the public will favor any possible action to stop the war regardless of subsequent events.  I think it is likely that the public will not condemn Democrats, even if and when things go bad as we withdraw, for the considered use of the scalpel to cut back war funding.  It does not follow, though, that they will forgive the Democrats for any possible consequence if we've flailed away with a broadaxe.  And Bush's strategy, let's be clear, is specifically to deny us the ability to make judicious and responsible cuts in war funding.  He wants us to choose between the broadaxe and nothing.  Newsweek makes a good argument that "nothing" is a dangerous course.  But you choose courses by comparing them to the alternatives, and in this case the alternative is not the scalpel but the broadaxe.

How does one make such a comparison?  One has to game it out: what events might possibly follow an abject defunding, and what political consequences might follow them?  (I should state outright that I think that the most important thing Dems can do over the next year is to win the Presidency in 2008, without which war will continue unabated and our system of government may well fail.  That, if it needs explicit stating, is why paying attention to political consequences matters so much.)  Well, what can we expect?

Even before anything new goes wrong in response to defunding, we will face a volley of attacks beyond anything we've faced since late 2002.  We got a taste of it this past spring, which is why the Democrats gave in after Bush's veto.  Garry Trudeau, as usual one of our best political commentators, nailed it in this series of Doonesbury strips.  You can iterate the date from that page.  Yes, the charges expressed during this week of strips are a load of horse manure.  And yet, Republicans think -- and Democrats obviously believe, probably based on some more serious analysis than simple polls alone -- that with low-information voters (that is, decisive voters) they will have bite.  What Bush really wants is for Democrats to receive the blame when things go wrong.

And, as we all know, things will probably go wrong.  We will be attacked as we retreat, we will leave behind equipment that will be used against us, etc.  I know that this will happen anyway, and I agree that despite all this withdrawal is preferable to continued occupation.  The issue is whether Bush can succeed in making the subsequent disaster our fault, in the public mind, and thus perhaps keep the Presidency in GOP hands in 2009, when I'd prefer to be prosecuting him.

Of course, more dramatic things can happen as well.  After we defund, the Maliki government can explicitly throw in its lot with Iran.  Who knows what Muqtada al-Sadr may do.  Saudi Arabia can sponsor enough Sunni attacks to blow up the country -- or can surruptitiously fund a 9/11-style attack on the U.S., expecting it to galvanize public opinion against Iraq and Iran, as well as favoring continued Republican control (which they want.)

Perhaps, even after using the broadaxe of defunding, the public would continue to blame Bush as his friends for the ensuing carnage.  Perhaps not.  It is, at any rate, not obvious that this is the better path.  If we can't negotiate a reasonable and orderly departure from Iraq -- and with Bush in office, we can't -- then both of our remaining choices are bad and politically dangerous ones.  I wish that Newsweek had acknowledged that.

There is one thing that Newsweek could do, of course: do some serious and intensive public opinion analysis, rather than relying on superficial marginals, in which one presents scenarios and arguments to the public and gets a sense of how deeply committed they are to their positions.  If Newsweek can create the defunding debate in a bottle and show that even if Saudi Arabia collapses and Israel gets nuked the public will blame Bush for inserting the plug rather than the Democrats for pulling it, then we'd be on a firmer ground in saying that defunding is the right course.  We're not there yet.

3. Conclusion

Today's Newsweek column was a big improvement on their normal fare in many respects, of course.  But it played into what I think is a dangerous conclusion.  I do not believe that Democrats -- who would like nothing so much as for the election to be held tomorrow -- are going to wildly swing a broadaxe like defunding.  I have a hard time believing that the Newsweek columnist believes that.  And, if not, where does that leave us once they don't follow his advice?

If Democrats don't defund, and if and when they don't meet expectations in 2008, it does give us the right to say "I told you so" -- but everyone has that right, including the people who will say that we failed because people on the left wouldn't shut up about Iraq.  There's rarly if ever any guarantee that the alternative course someone touts would have succeeded.  For one thing, one's opponents' moves change depending on what one does.

What I foresee happening is that it will lead to slamming the Democrats much sooner than that.  If you believe that defunding is easy, that it will work, that this is obvious, that the public understands it and only our corrupt or weak-kneed leaders don't, then you can hardly do anything else.  And that, I submit, hurts our efforts to win in 2008, and to start to end the occupation between now and 2009.  Discord among Democrats pumps up the GOP, just as their problems (paging Judith Regan!) please us.  That doesn't mean that one never criticizes -- I've done it myself over issues like telecom amnesty, subpoenas, impeachment of Cheney, and so on.  But it does mean that, as a critic, one should be realistic and and should try to understand their position rather than assuming that we're fortunate enough to be the only good and wise ones around.

We are in a difficult situation, notwithstanding the current polls.  It's because we are fighting against the least principled, most anti-American, administration in modern times.  It's because we have a media that will not tell the stories correctly, and a populace that doesn't care enough about politics and finding the truth to be outraged.  We have to be favored right now in 2008, but that position is precarious, and the GOP knows exactly how to knock us off -- by instransigence and lying, with complicit media, about our being instransigent.  Prove that "the public would cheer" all the way through the next election, and you can shut the likes of me up.  But I'm not going to take Newsweek's word for it.

Given this no-win situation, the Democrats take no share of blame for what happens next in Iraq.  If Bush were giving us the option of a reasonable compromise position, and we rejected it, that would be different.  But it's not.  This is Bush's war, Bush's fault, Bush's refusal to be an adult, and it behooves us to drum home that message to the American people.

And please, let's not pretend that the proper path is obvious and that only a knave or fool can't see it.

Originally posted to Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:06 PM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  When I posted a diary earlier this week (30+ / 0-)

    asking who would be the "anti-Kos," I really didn't expect it to be me.  What bothers me is that Karl Rove may be able to write a column tomorrow largely agreeing with Markos, and making the point that the Democrats could have easily solved this problem if they wanted to but instead chose complicity, and so the public should not blame Bush for the continuation of the war.  He'd be wrong in asserting that the path is so obvious as well, but at least he'd be cannily supporting his party.

    I do have to say, though, it's cool to write about Markos's writing and refer to him, quite properly, as Newsweek.  I do expect great columns from him over time -- as well as the occasion one bashing Democrats for not doing what is "obviously" right.

    Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

    by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:01:21 PM PST

    •  oh brother (8+ / 0-)

      what a joke, how can anyone say we defund ANYTHING for the military when our military budget is more than the entire rest of the world's combined.  What a fucking joke.  Like if we stop writing blank checks, our soldiers will be sent into the Iraq streets in their underwear?

      Ending the war and getting out means ending the war and getting out.  what part of that dont you get?

      if the fucking pentagon screams poor, well maybe they can shutdown one of their handful of crappy useless defense programs that will never amount to anything.

      Generals gathered in their masses Just like witches at black masses.. Evil minds that plot destruction Sorcerers of deaths construction..........

      by pissedpatriot on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:11:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure of your point here (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        atdnext, RickMassimo

        Do you assume that the Bush can shift money from weapons to war-fighting?  Because proponents of defunding are convinced that he can't, and if he can, then defunding is pointless anyway.

        Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

        by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:13:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  no its (10+ / 0-)

          no its called starving the beast.  Penatgon crying poor is a joke.  We stop funding the war, the soldiers are not in danger AT ALL.  They will be brought home and be finally SAFE.

          Staying in a failed war is madness. This isn't bush's war, my fucking FAMILY is over there, his isn't, its OUR war and it has to end.

          Generals gathered in their masses Just like witches at black masses.. Evil minds that plot destruction Sorcerers of deaths construction..........

          by pissedpatriot on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:16:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not being facetious: I feel your pain here (5+ / 0-)

            Yes, the Pentagon crying poor is a joke.

            No, the soldiers will not be free from danger whenever we withdraw.  It would be great to think so, but I don't know of any reports that make such a claim.

            Yes, staying in a failed war is madness.  We are being led my madmen, and unscrupulous ones.  That creates problems for us.  I wish they were easy to solve.  They aren't.

            Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

            by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:41:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  umm Bush had no problem (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Major Danby, NearlyNormal

          shifting 700 million from Afganistan to Iraq in 2003.

          However there are several wingnuts at the DOD and among the general staff who would:

          Like if we stop writing blank checks, our soldiers will be sent into the Iraq streets in their underwear?

          Happily send them into the street for a photo op and the contractors will happily stage propaganda photoshoots for the tame news networks.

          The biggest threat to America is not communism, it's moving America toward a fascist theocracy... -- Frank Zappa

          by NCrefugee on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:20:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Do you honestly expect Bush would let them (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Major Danby, atdnext, dallasdave

        do that?  No, he would hold the troops hostage, either directly, or else withholding payment for the troops.

        •  He might. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          andgarden, Luetta, esquimaux, atdnext

          Who knows? He does some pretty bloodthirsty, outrageous things. I don't know what he would do. I DO know that WE should do the right thing...defund the war.

          When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

          by Rayk on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:40:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So, just write-off whatever his response is? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Major Danby, atdnext

            Even if it goes down a very bad path?  One that is much worse than we are facing now?

            •  He's going down a bad path already. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              andgarden, esquimaux, atdnext

              We can only control what we can control. We can't read his mind. If he could launch a nuke attack on Chicago tomorrow. We have to simply do what we can with what we have...

              To actually FUND the slaughter is absolutely wrong.

              When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

              by Rayk on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:50:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And unfortantly, each action (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Major Danby, atdnext

                results in a significant number of people being hurt.  

                Defunding the war isn't treating the real problem - odds are good it'll just make things worse.

                Honest question - if you knew that defunding the war would result in an increase of troop deaths, would you still support it?

                •  Why would more troops die? (0+ / 0-)

                  And should they be our primary concern - personally, as a human being, I care more about the 30 innocent Iraqi's who are dying for each of the troops.  But hey, let's continue the slaughter for political expediency . . .

                  •  3 things (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Major Danby
                    1.  They will be more at risk because Bush will hold them hostage - For one example, he could reduce the amount of gas avaliable for vehicles - this would mean a lot more foot patrols, and they are at their most exposed on foot.  Thats just one quick example.  So, yes, more would die, because he would put them in worse positions.  I don't know if you've seen it, but its a bit like the episode of M*A*S*H, "Baby, its cold outside" - short version - its very cold, Winchester, the rich guy, recieves a heavy duty polar suit with gloves - in a gesture of generosity, he gives the gloves to Hot Lips, and then spends the rest of the show trying to get the gloves back.  Right now, our soliders have those gloves, but thats all they have.  Defund the troops, Bush will take the "gloves"
                    1.  If we want to go down the path of protecting the 30 innocents, then we've got to be prepared to send troops to a lot more places than we currently do, because there are a lot of lives endangered (Russia, China, large portions of Africa)
                    1.  Those 30 people will die whether we are there or not - Iraq isn't in a state of civil war - Its worse - its a failed state.  The only reason it seems like its in a good spot (in the sense that a civil war is better than a failed state) is because we are there.  The instant we leave, it becomes a failed state, and odds are good that more people will die (that said, I still think we need to pull troops out - too much has happened, and we've inflicted too much bad blood, to do any real good).  
                    •  It's nice to see all the (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Rayk

                      myths for staying in Vietnam recycled for the latest generation of suckers.  To bad Americans have no thinking skills to speak of . .

                      Hope you enjoy "The Clinton Years: The Bloody Sequel" !!

                      •  Huh? Pray tell? (0+ / 0-)

                        WTF you talking about?

                        •  I had the same reaction to your post! (0+ / 0-)

                          Iraq is a fail state and the only reason it's not a failed state is because we're still there?

                          Have you given even a moment's thought as to why Iraq is a failed state?

                          Well, think about if a foreign power invaded the USA and about 4% of our population was killed.  And then they set up a puppet government while the occupying force remained.  Just how successful do you envision the puppet government to be? Really now?

                          The only way every last redneck (and no doubt a good proportion of the New England elite and perhaps even aging peaceniks) would not be violently combating the puppet government would be if the occupying force left. Completely. Then a new government that at least had a chance to appear legitimate could be set up.

                          See if you can apply the above scenario to Iraq (I'm not that hopeful that you can make that leap, but perhaps other readers can) and it is clear that the only way the violence will ever have a chance of ending is that we get the fuck out and let the Iraqis sort out their governance issues on their own.  Otherwise we're there forever preventing the bloodbath you propose (and that was proposed would take place in vietnam upon our exit 35 years ago).  Of course, I suspect you could just be parroting the military-industrial line that we must stay there forever with such lame ass justifications - it's really too bad so many fall for them.

                          •  I didn't sugggest we stay there (0+ / 0-)

                            in fact, if you read it, you would see that I specifically said we should leave.  I won't deny I am a staunch interventionalist, but the problem is, we've pissed off too many people to do any good.  There are too many faction who hate us, who don't want to work with us.  And so the best we can do is pull up stakes, and go home.  

                            It is a failed state, and although thats not obvious to everyone right now (because we have troops there), the fighting that is going to erupt will happen no matter when we leave (whether its tomorrow, 5 years, 10 years - it'll happen), so the best we can hope for is to get it over as soon as possible, which means we need to leave now.

                            However, we won't be in a position to be able to leave until we have either dealt with Bush, or convinced enough Republicans in Congress to join with us to bring them home.  Defunding them is a bad idea, as I've stated above for the same reasons.

                            Does that make sense?

                      •  Yes, there's always a bunch of bogus excuses (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Roadbed Guy

                        for endless war.

                        When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

                        by Rayk on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 08:51:35 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

    •  heh..... (10+ / 0-)

      good luck and have fun with the comments on this ;-)

      Political Nexus is now Heading Left, the official home of BlogTalkRadio's progressive lineup.

      by clammyc on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:15:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  u know i am primed and ready (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shaharazade

        for THIS, WTF...for starters...

      •  It's a useful debate to have (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        clammyc, Erevann

        and, though Markos may not think so, a sort of celebration of his new position.

        Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

        by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:42:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The question is (0+ / 0-)

          will he show up in the thread?

        •  But what is the debate you want to have? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Major Danby, shaharazade

          That the leadership is hamstrung by too few votes?

          -LBJ got the civil rights bill through in '57 with the same party breakdown, and major defections from Dixicrats.

          That the Democrats will suffer defeat by defunding?

          -The Republicans took the Congress within two months of defunding Somalia.

          You've got conjecture, I've got precedent, and the bottom line is, neither should be a factor in deciding whether to fufill the mandate of 2006.

          Practicality should. You are a student of Politics. You know neither party wins without a majority of the independent vote. How do you propose to keep those voters if nothing has changed?

          To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult of all -Goethe

          by commonscribe on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 04:14:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Stop pretending that winning the public debate (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FishOutofWater

            after we used the broadaxe of defunding is a "slam dunk" (term used intentionally) and that the public will greet us with flowers.  It's not.  By refusing to cooperate, Bush is inteitionally making this as hard for us as possible for his political gain.

            A Democrat will be running against the war in 2008.  A Republican will be running while defending it.  The public is not going to have much trouble figuring out how is who, unless people like us blur the distinction between the parties, which is pretty much unconscionable.

            Your precedents aren't compelling.  The situation with civil rights in 1957 is nothing like here, where the opposing party, with the Presidency and almost half the seats in Congress, is almost 100% united.  As for Somalia, even Clinton wanted out, and the stakes (oil, Iran) were nowhere near as high.

            My debate is as to how we respond when, as is likely, the Democrats cave again.  Do we say that there's not a dime's worth a difference between the parties -- in my opinion, risking prolonging the war -- or do we recognize the political difficulty of their position and go after the real cause of the problem hammer and tongs?

            If we can at least set aside the hubris and agree that it's not as simple as Markos suggests, then we will do the latter.

            Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

            by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 05:09:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's a big step from an advocacy site (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Major Danby

              Where we cover for each other to the unprotected world of Newsweek. Markos can easily make arguments here because we won't twist his words. In the world of Karl Rove words can come back poisoned.

              Thanks for the excellent explanation of the dilemmas involved in withdrawing our troops and cutting funding. Gary Trudeau's analysis was solid.  

              Markos would do well to thoughtfully consider this critique.

              Highly recommended.

              "It's the planet, stupid."

              by FishOutofWater on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 05:39:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  If you don't call the bluff, the bluff works (0+ / 0-)

              And that's what this is. The Republican position is not about winning the war. It's about kicking the can far enough down the road that it becomes somebody else's problem. It is indeed a blame game, as you say, but they're looking at a much different strategy than making a Democratic Congress look bad.

              Will there be blowback? Probably. Will it matter? Not if the voting public is as smart as you seem to think they are. And at the very least, the specter of blurred distinctions between party positions won't be an issue.

              And one thing is certain:  there's definitely no upside to letting them drag this out.

              To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult of all -Goethe

              by commonscribe on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 11:34:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  You are so on the mark. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lanikai, Elise, jorndorff, Major Danby

      When I read in some of the open thread comments wondering what Rove would write, I too thought that the best strategy (if he chooses to respond) would be to agree with Kos and assert that the Dems must therefore also be invested in the war.  Not, I think, the argument Kos intended to make.

      It's a news show, involving actual news, to about the same extent that Cheez Whiz involves actual cheese. - Bob Harris

      by lizpolaris on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:15:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What's the difference between Karl Rove. . . (7+ / 0-)

      and Markos?

      One of them thinks the Dems are a weak-kneed bunch of lily-livered cowards who can't be trusted to govern and who rule like elites ignoring the will of the people.

      The other one is Karl Rove.

      ---------------------------------------------
      For personal and general travel news: Notes On Travel

      by LarryInNYC on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:20:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are mean (and funnier than me) (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Erevann, Light Emitting Pickle

        Look, I think that Markos's column will be good in the long term.  But yes, I think that that's the way today's column can (and should) be read, and it's good for him to hear it on this site.  And I appreciate being able to say so here.

        Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

        by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:44:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  All that considered... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Light Emitting Pickle

        I can't say I disagree with either at this point.

        That agreement with the former I expect, the latter makes me sick. :P

        "In every country, every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson

        by Erevann on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:15:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Major Danby

      I thought maybe this wasn't quite the right topic to start off with.  On the other hand, maybe it will pull in some hard-core Republicans who might later listen to what he has to say.

      The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. - 9th Amendment

      by TracieLynn on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:23:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You are not going to be popular for writing this (4+ / 0-)

      ... so have a rec.
      I am really happy to see you discussing it even if I do or do not agree w/ kos or with you. (or with Pelosi and/or Reid.)

      Newsweek's parent company is the Washington Post.  They are going to enjoy every single tactical mistake we make.

      I mean, **** them.  Really. They don't give a **** what happens to this country. It's all about $ and power.  Everything they do is make sure they are going to stay on the cocktail circuit and talking about them and not what we should have our government doing.

    •  I get what you're saying (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mcfly, Major Danby, bess, catchaz

      but my frustration stems from the fact that no concrete steps have been taken to defund this war. None. At all.

      There's been one appropriations bill with a timeline; it was vetoed, and the idea of stopping the war has never been seriously considered again.

      The Democrats live in fear of losing a vote. When the Republicans were in charge, they lost lots of votes. Hell, they send up bills they KNEW would fail - flag-burning amendment, anyone? - just so they could point fingers at the people who voted against them.

      They were wrong to do that, of course, because on a grander scale people didn't really want those bills. But it worked in small, local doses. We have the advantage of people actually wanting this. If the polls are wrong, or more nuanced, OK. We lose. But dammit, I want to see where we stand. Upperdown vote, you know?

      I had my own problem with Kos's column - his very first one, and he criticizes the Democrats. Granted, he criticizes from the left, which never happens in our major media. But still.

      •  I don't think they're afraid of losing votes (4+ / 0-)

        In fact, I think that they welcome losing votes.  They are engaged in political theater, which they think is the most they can do -- put up a good fight and then let Bush have his way until we can get rid of him.  The problem, from their perspective, is that the audience (we in the netroots, loudly, and the general public more quietly) isn't responding to the show in the right way.  Frankly, I wish we would.  It would help make the case to the public that this whole debacle is on Bush's tab.

        I understand wanting to know where people stand, but often in politics people blur their positions intentionally.  I'm interested, but it's a luxury.  What matters to me is ending the occupation as soon as possible without booting the 2008 election.  And that means focusing pressure on Bush, not on Democrats who we pretty much know are not going to do what we want them to anyway.

        Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

        by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:55:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Shorter Danby: (4+ / 0-)

          Clap louder.

        •  I think they've been trying that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Major Danby

          and the result has been that public opinion has stayed the same for Bush and slipped below Bush for Congress.

          I see what you're saying, and I do think the Democrats' strategy is "give 'em enough rope," but I would submit that they've been doing that to less-than-no avail; I think they've 1) reinforced the Democrats-don't-stand-for-anything meme and 2) given a lot of supporters (including me) dark thoughts about whose side they're really on, and how much of a force for change they'd really be if they got into serious power.

          They're alienating what could be their base, thinking we won't go away - in my own case, yeah I'll always vote Democratic, but I want to see some gumption before I start giving money or knocking on doors. For these guys, anyway.

          I also submit that the Republicans in the early and mid-'90s did not pursue this strategy. They risked "overreaching," and in the long run it worked out pretty well for them.

          •  My position hasn't changed since spring (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RickMassimo

            I think they should publicly and loudly put up a hellacious struggle, attach poison pills to funding, and spotlight every last point of difference between them and Bush.  But Bush has raised pig-headedness to a fine art, and he is not going to buckle -- he wants them to use the broadaxe or nothing.  So I don't think there should be a problem with showing people what they want.  If people only care about the results, I think we need to make the case that Bush refused to compromise and left them only with an option that enough members of the caucus think is irresponsible.  I don't want them to give in, but if they do in such circumstances, we ought to be able to explain it to the public.

            Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

            by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 05:02:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Nope, our Dems really are in a tough position... (4+ / 0-)
      But here's what I think they can do to get out of it. The House & the Senate need to agree on a FULLY FUNDED WITHDRAWAL that only gives Bush money to get our troops out of Iraq. The House just passed that, and now something needs to get out of the Senate.

      Now perhaps what the Dems should be doing to ensure passage of a fully funded withdrawal is to make a simple threat to Bush and the CongressCReeps:
      EITHER AGREE TO A FULLY FUNDED WITHDRAWAL, OR CHENEY AND BUSH (in that order) GET IMPEACHED.

      Since the CReeps are already blocking much of the Democratic agenda, it's not like impeachment would really distract us from anything. So if Bush obstructs, and the GOPers enable him in this, start impeachment proceedings. But if they agree, we get our withdrawal.

      Does that sound crazy?

      Don't blame us... We're turning "The OC" (Yes, that one!) blue at The Liberal OC! : )

      by atdnext on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:20:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not crazy. As I've said, I'd vote for (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Erevann, atdnext

        fully funded withdrawal (which is essentially defunding), though I'd still settle for restrictions that put a heavy burden on Bush in other areas.  But I'm not voting.  I don't think the Dem leadership is going to defund, I think that Markos and the defundamentalists know this, and so the question is what do we do then?

        You at the convention tonight, by the way?  I need to leave for it soon.

        Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

        by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:41:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Leave it to you... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Major Danby

      to go right for the throat. hehe

      Can't say I think most of the Dem's are blameless, either for past mistakes or the consequences of continuing poor judgement on legislation pertaining to the war. But I've been willing to cut them slack for the past year since we, yes WE got them back behind he wheel in congress.

      At this point, I don't care what it takes to hit the brakes; filibuster, obstruct, divert, shut down the whole federal goverment, but get this administration back on the leash.

      Still, it's great to see you piping up and calling it out. :)

      OT: I'll be down there on Tues morning, trying to setup a dinner for Fri night (re: this comment) and it looks like OrangeClouds has picked the place. Hope you're able to come out! :)

      "In every country, every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson

      by Erevann on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:32:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, fantastic! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Erevann, bess

        I'd love to get together.  I haven't heard anything about this, so please make sure OC has me on the list.

        P.S. This isn't really "going for the throat."  I'm just trying to make Markos look good by disagreeing with him, of course!

        Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

        by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:34:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  HA! Point taken! (0+ / 0-)

          Someone's got to disagree with him around here! hehe

          As for dinner, I'm going to put together an email tonight for everyone I can think of in the area and see what happens.

          Got a bit of a late start on it, but such are the perils of the end of a software product cycle and the consumption of most of my free time. :)

          Ohh... almost forgot... I haven't heard from you about that techie stuff for the campaign you mentioned previously. I'm still game if you guys need me!

          "In every country, every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson

          by Erevann on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:42:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Karl Rove will NOT be attacking (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Major Danby

      the Republican party in HIS first column, that's for sure.

      It's kind of too bad Kos' first column attacks the Dems (not that they are undeserving...)

  •  Did you notice who the author is? (0+ / 0-)

    ...kos...

    I think I MAY NEED A BATHroom break?

    by marchmoon on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:08:06 PM PST

  •  meh (6+ / 0-)

    On this question, Markos speaks for me.

  •  Sorry, I'm thick. (0+ / 0-)

    What is the blacktop illusion?  Paving over dissent?

    Just call their form of government Hypocracy.

    by lineatus on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:11:14 PM PST

    •  The notion that the leaders of an entity (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lineatus

      are the "black hats" while the public are the "white hats" -- bad guys and good guys -- to use the symbolism of old Westerns.  It's Osgood's term; I'd use a different one if I were coining it today, but this is what's in the relevant literature.

      Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

      by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:22:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So it's shorthand for "black hats at the top"? (0+ / 0-)

        Go ahead and coin a new term, we'll spread the word...

        Just call their form of government Hypocracy.

        by lineatus on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:26:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  But in this case, do you not think (0+ / 0-)

        that the argument is based on reasons?  It's not like we're mad at the Democratic leadership for no reason.

        We're mad at them because they're not representing.  That's their job.  They have been rolling over for Bush, and the best person to take them to task for it is one of us.

        Or better, all of us.  We worked for them, we elected them.  And they are repeatedly acting as though we're stupid children who do not understand what's at stake.

        What's at stake are lives.  Thousands of lives.

        It's important.

        Je suis inondé de déesses

        by Marc in KS on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:33:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nor were we mad at the Kremlin (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Marc in KS

          for no reason, nor at Saddam for no reason in 2002, nor are we mad at the Iranian ayatollahs for no reason today.  The illusory part is believing that if we just stand up to them, the great masses will rally behind us.  (As in ... Iraq.)  This is a gratifying belief, and as such we may adopt it for motivated reasons even when it's inappropriate.

          As I recall, you're a social psychologist, right?  If you've never done so, I really recommend that you go pick up Osgood's "An Alternative to War or Surrender," a thin but powerful book from the early 60s.  I'd often use if for students who wanted to do extra credit assignments in my classes.  It's extremely smart and will explain the comment at great length.

          Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

          by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:00:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think I'm completely naive in (0+ / 0-)

            the hope that if our elected representatives get out and start talking to people that they can get out in front of the right-wing smearing that will follow on a withdrawal.

            If we cannot, we might as well give up trying to govern, because what we're doing right now is just what Bush wants us to do.  Suppose we win the white house in 08 and start a withdrawal, a withdrawal that will be nasty and messy and bloody.  That president is going to get blamed for it.  Why is the blame then any worse than the blame now?  That's what I cannot quite get my head around.  We can take the blame now, or take the blame later.  In either case we're going to have to wade through a shitstorm of republican bullshit.

            Does it risk our winning the presidency in November?  It might.  But we'd be out of there.  Getting us back in, should the next republican president want to try, would be monumentally difficult.

            (I'm not really a social psychologist; I'm just interested in social psych.  I'm really a perception person.  But I'll look for that book.)

            Je suis inondé de déesses

            by Marc in KS on Sat Nov 17, 2007 at 09:33:47 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Cockeyed optimism (0+ / 0-)

              Given how pessimistic I am in other areas, it's nice to be able to announce that in at least one respect I'm more optimistic than the pack: I believe that a Democratic President, who will have substantially more international support, will be able to withdraw from Iraq starting in 2009 without the terrible consequences people suggest, and without people forgetting whose tab the war should be placed on.

              The blame then is less bad than the blame now because then we'll already have won back the Presidency and can prevent the permanent degradation of the Constitution.

              Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

              by Major Danby on Sat Nov 17, 2007 at 11:26:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Maybe you're right. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Major Danby

                But I think back to the fact that people like me are still being blamed for our "loss" in Vietnam.  It was the liberal hippies.

                Where I think you are more optimistic than I is in the belief that there's any honorable solution to our getting out of there.  It might be that a new, Democratic president would have more international support than the current idiot (as I write this I realize that any Democratic president would have more international support than the current idiot), but there's no surety that we'll be able to get out of there with Iraq in much better shape than it is now.

                We really did fuck up a whole country.

                I still believe there are two options: get the hell out now before we lose any more of our young people, or get ready to be there for 50 years.  True that the pace of violence might slow over the course of those 50 years, but we're still going to be losing people.

                And I still think (I've said this elsewhere) that a Democratic president, once possessed of these new "unitary executive" powers, is going to be loathe to let them go, and so what we need to do to restore the constitution is impeach them.  Somewhere someone needs to make it clear that what they've done is wrong.

                You may be an optimist, but I'm an idealist -- far, far worse, I think....

                Je suis inondé de déesses

                by Marc in KS on Sat Nov 17, 2007 at 04:47:49 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I didn't say we'd get out with honor (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Marc in KS

                  I think we may be able to get out without doing as much additional damage as people suspect.  Or we may not.  Either way, we have to try.

                  We need to put people who violated the law in jail -- including, if the proper facts can be shown, Bush and Cheney.  I've written before about using a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to set a huge perjury trap for them, which is the route I'd like to see taken.  If we get the full truth out there about all the lies and deceptions of the Bush years, that may itself be a serious deterrent to future lawbreaking.

                  Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                  by Major Danby on Sun Nov 18, 2007 at 12:02:39 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  You're wrong. (4+ / 0-)

    I am further of the opinion that the President must be impeached and removed from office!

    by UntimelyRippd on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:11:41 PM PST

  •  so really (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, dday, mcfly, andgarden, Erevann

    can't this diary be summarized as follows:

    I'm skeptical that the public would support defunding.

    Showing up everyday, 'doing my job.' Also, Rudy Giuliani sux

    by taylormattd on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:12:15 PM PST

    •  Major Danby is taking the Biden approach. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      taylormattd, andgarden
    •  no (0+ / 0-)

      no to summarize, it's the beltway bullshit of being more worried about Republican spin, than our family members well being on the line over there.

      Generals gathered in their masses Just like witches at black masses.. Evil minds that plot destruction Sorcerers of deaths construction..........

      by pissedpatriot on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:21:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, a lot of people from the Beltway (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Erevann

        do hold similar views (mostly well to the right of mine, though), and it's useful for them to appear here rather than our being ships passing in the night.  But it is bullshit?  Well, I made arguments in the diary, go grapple with them.

        Does this mean that I don't care about our family members being on the line?  Go to hell.  I'm worried about their being on the line through 2016 if we loose in 2008, and if you say that you're snake oil treatment will prevent it, expect to be challenged.

        Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

        by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:28:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  we have the power (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          andgarden

          the dems can stop the war right now, all they must do is NOTHING.  war is OVER.  how hard is that?

          Generals gathered in their masses Just like witches at black masses.. Evil minds that plot destruction Sorcerers of deaths construction..........

          by pissedpatriot on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:30:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hard on the soldiers being massacred (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            moose67

            while retreating because Bush screws it up semi-intentionally, for one thing.

            Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

            by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:02:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Hardly an adequate summary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Erevann, moose67

      I don't think the public will support defunding, though I could be wrong.  I don't think we'll get a good chance to find out, because I don't think the Democrats will defund.  This is not merely because they are worried about whether the public will support defunding, but because they are worried about what the public would do if we were to defund and disaster struck afterwards (as it probably will after whenever we withdraw), and the GOP tries to put it on the President's tab.

      There are responsible ways to end this occupation.  Bush is blocking them because he wants the Democrats to have a politically horrible choice.  That's your headline.

      Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

      by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:26:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  you just wrote the same thing I said (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Erevann

        but used too many words:

        You don't believe the public will support defunding.

        Showing up everyday, 'doing my job.' Also, Rudy Giuliani sux

        by taylormattd on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:45:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Let me grant for the sake of argument (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Erevann

          that the public does support defunding.  Then say that we defund.  Then -- things are likely to go bad, as they often do in such situations.  And things may go very badly, especially given Bush's lousy leadership and motivation to have a forced withdrawal become a debacle.  Then the public may well forget (or deny) that it supported defunding, which would not be an uncommon reaction at all.  The public has no burden of consitency whatsoever.

          Did you miss this in the diary?  It was there.

          Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

          by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:05:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  ok, sorry (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Erevann

            (1) the public doesn't support defunding, but (2) even if they do, they might not support it later.

            Showing up everyday, 'doing my job.' Also, Rudy Giuliani sux

            by taylormattd on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:06:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  or 2... (0+ / 0-)

              they WON'T like the events that take place in the process with the incompetent civilian leadership in place presently.

              I can see the logic in that to an extent. I'm not sure I'd trust the folks in charge to effect the withdrawl. Gates maybe, but after the purging over the past several years, I'm not confident of many of the Bush folks still running things.

              "In every country, every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson

              by Erevann on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:54:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Matt, this is really beneath you (0+ / 0-)

              But if you want to show how good you are at bullet points, maybe you want to try to give the same treatment to Markos's column as well.  Do you think that it too should have been only one sentence?  His and mine aren't for similar reasons.

              Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

              by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:55:36 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  But that could never happen (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Erevann

            It's not like the public ever supported Bush or the war in the first place.

            And even if the public doesn't support us, it's the right thing to do. It's not like there are any other issues as important as this one.

            (Please substitute whatever particular value of 'this' applies)

            It is not possible to be alive without having an impact on the environment - William Cronon

            by badger on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:25:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Hooray for Newsweek. (5+ / 0-)

    Hooray for stating the obvious. I've grown weary of the apologists...although you are right about one thing, Danby...the Dems are taking no share of the blame and they fucking well should.

    And if they continue to refuse to find a solution, they are going to get their asses handed to them on a plate in upcoming elections.

    "...the Edwards folks do not endorse Brittany's crotch."

    by Pager on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:13:12 PM PST

  •  I'm sympathetic to the broadaxe approach (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    homogenius, environmentalist

    If only to see Bush poleaxed. But I appreciate the counterpoint. Well thought out, well written.

    And I'm savoring the irony of having Markos' writing referred to as Newsweek... on DailyKos.

    No laws but Liberty. No king but Conscience.

    by oldjohnbrown on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:13:27 PM PST

    •  Yeah, that was the fun part (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oldjohnbrown

      But, you know, he's earned it, and kudos to him.  As I said, I expect great things from his column over time; this is just one with which I disagree.

      Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

      by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:29:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  wha??????????????? (0+ / 0-)

    this is too much....

  •  And here is a poll released today... (8+ / 0-)

    ... by Rasmussen:

    40% Want Congress to Cut Off Funds Unless President Commits to Troop Withdrawals

    Friday, November 16, 2007

    Fifty-three percent (53%) of voters say they want U.S. combat troops out of Iraq by the end of 2008. However, a Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 40% want Congress to cut off funding if the President won’t go along with the plan. Fifty percent (50%) are opposed to Congress using the purse strings in this manner while 10% are not sure.

    Will more folks go along with a cut-off in funding without a withdrawal timeline?

    A separate Rasmussen tracking poll published on November 13 states:

    61% Want Troops Home From Iraq Within a Year

    A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 61% of Americans would like to see U.S. troops brought home from Iraq within a year. For the second week in a row, that figure is up two points from the week before.  Over the last eleven weeks, the number wanting troops home within a year has ranged from a low of 57% to a high of 64%.

    Twenty-six percent (26%) now want the troops brought home immediately. That’s unchanged from a week ago.

    Looking at the other end of the spectrum, 33% now want troops to remain in Iraq until the mission is complete. That’s down two points from a week ago.

    So kos may be right, and he may be wrong, but we'll probably never find out because our congressional leadership is likely to continue to be risk-averse through next year's general election... Unless the poll numbers tip over heavily in favor of getting out ASAP.

    •  40-50 aren't bad numbers at all (4+ / 0-)

      Strong Democratic leadership and clear, consistent messaging should be able to tip those numbers; a 10% swing isn't that difficult given the unpopularity of the war.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:23:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        taylormattd, eugene, commonscribe

        But the last paragraph of my post states the obvious.

        The risk-averse leadership won't act until the number is 60% "out now."

        Kind of like Hillary didn't flip on the war (beyond criticizing the administration's execution of the war) until poll numbers hit 60+ on "Iraq a mistake."

        •  Which has been Dem strategy (5+ / 0-)

          Since the early 1990s: wait for the poll numbers to come to you, instead of working to get the poll numbers you want. Public opinion can be influenced. We're not standing at the shore commanding the tides.

          I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

          by eugene on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:29:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            eugene

            Part of what they're elected to do is exercise leadership.  That's why we call them (perhaps in error) "leaders."

            It's tough, I'll grant them that.  We don't have Fox "news."  We don't have radio.  But still: you'd think they could at least try to get the message out.  They could try to sway the public, to explain things.

            I would like to see that.

            Je suis inondé de déesses

            by Marc in KS on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:35:40 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  So take Kos's column as an example (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              badger, Marc in KS

              Is it really helping them make the case to the public?  I see it as daring them to have some balls and slamming them if they don't.  We in the netroots do not do enough to make the case to the public.  We are totally unprepared for a counterpunch that our leaders know will be coming.  If you disagree -- what's our plan?  Our plan is, much like Bush's in Iraq, that we will be greeted as liberators, so we don't need a plan.

              Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

              by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:07:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  I agree with this--nobody uses bully pulpit! (0+ / 0-)

            Though I think it's very tough for Congressional leaders to pull it off--they don't have Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly to make their arguments to the public.  And many of the pundits on our team (witness Kos) have too much integrity to read from talking points.

            It's always harder for us because we've got the imaginers and the free thinkers.  They've got guys who get their rocks off by unquestioningly following a leader.

            'how many deaths will it take till he knows That too many people have died?' Bob Dylan

            by St Louis Woman on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:01:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I'm guessing that most (7+ / 0-)

      people don't know what "cut the funding" means.  If they understood that the troops would be supplied and withdrawn safely, I think the numbers would change.  -- Of course, with all the money that's been spent, the troops haven't been well supplied as it is.

      My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. Barbara Jordan 1974

      by gchaucer2 on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:24:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree. (4+ / 0-)

        The Republicans have successfully painted this picture of GIs scrounging through garbage cans for food while carrying a single bullet in their belts, ala Barney Fife.

        •  Right -- and we need to figure out how (0+ / 0-)

          to get around that, rather than just saying breezily "it'll be eeeeasy!"

          Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

          by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:35:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think kos' argument would be (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            taylormattd

            ... we need to lead public opinion rather than follow it.

            •  Then we had damn well better grapple (0+ / 0-)

              with the real problems we face in doing so, eh?

              Go read the article if you haven't.  He states that the choice is easy and obvious and that the public will rally behind us.  I'm very unconvinced, and I hear far too many resonances of predictions that we'd be greeted as liberators.  The whole GOP, and much of the media, is devoted to making sure that we will be greeted as traitors.

              Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

              by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:38:48 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hey, I'm not disagreeing. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                badger, Major Danby

                But as a party, we have continued to do a piss poor job of "marketing" our viewpoints. Why is the defunding argument reduced to the notion that GIs will be scrounging for food or that they will run out of bullets?

                My complaint is that our leadership is so damn weak in getting their points across. Consistently.

                This a problem the party has had for years and it shows no signs of improvement.

                •  I agree that our marketing has been lousy (0+ / 0-)

                  But honestly, I don't think that different leaders of the same caucus would be much different.  Again, that unsupportable assertion just goes to make the problem seem easy, an example of the blacktop illusion applied to the Democratic Party.  But I know we will likely disagree.

                  Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                  by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:09:04 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  What "unsupportable assertion?" (0+ / 0-)
                    •  You said (0+ / 0-)

                      "our leadership is so damn weak in getting their points across"

                      I assumed that you meant "compared to other possibilities," as people criticizing the leadership often do.  Re-reading, you didn't say that, so you didn't make an unsupportable assertion that someone else would have done it better; my mistake.

                      Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                      by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:46:27 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

              •  am I correct (0+ / 0-)

                in arguing that you believe the Democrats should try to defunding because (1) the public won't support it; and/or (2) the Dems will be demonized by republicans?

                Showing up everyday, 'doing my job.' Also, Rudy Giuliani sux

                by taylormattd on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:47:34 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I think you meant "should not try to defund" (0+ / 0-)

                  There's a fundamental disconnect between what I'm writing about and what you and others are reading.  I'm not actually trying to tell Democrats what to do.  I want them to be as bold as they can without booting the 2008 election.  (And you?)

                  Honestly, they have much better information than I do about what the real, deep thinking of the public on issues like defunding are.  (And if they don't have it, they should get it.)  Giving my final considered opinion on the issue would basically be talking out of my ass.  I don't know; my argument was that pretending that it's a clear and easy choice, as Markos does, is hooey.

                  I am not writing to the leadership.  I am writing to the netroots, of which Markos is a part.  My concern is what we should be saying, both to our leaders and to the public at large.  Our choice, often, is to carp at the leadership for not doing what is "obviously" right ("and is completely safe to boot, so there's no tradeoff, like those fools in Congress think!") and frankly our confidence in our facts is often far too high.

                  Every time we put the continuation on the war on the Democrats' tab, the Republicans win.  Not just in a fanciful way, but seriously, they get votes, because this is a zero-sum game.  If I'm right (and I am) that Bush is putting us in a no-win situation, where our choice is to do nothing or to use a broadaxe where a scalpel would be best, then that is the message that I want to shout into every American household.  I do not want to slam the Dems for refusing to listen to my brilliant plan, which depends on the presumption that the public will greet us as liberators.

                  Personally, as I've said here before, I'd swallow hard and vote to defund.  But I'd have misgivings that Markos's column doesn't even recognize.

                  Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                  by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:17:53 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  what you (0+ / 0-)

                    what you fail to recognize is that we are in recession right now, and by next spring/summer it is going to be ugly.   Stopping hundreds of billions of dollars from going to a failed war and country, is not going to piss off anyone.

                    Generals gathered in their masses Just like witches at black masses.. Evil minds that plot destruction Sorcerers of deaths construction..........

                    by pissedpatriot on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:23:34 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Don't you think that that might depend (0+ / 0-)

                      on what happens next?  Look, let me take it to an extreme: we cut funding, and 120,000 U.S. troops get slaughtered.  (This won't happen; it's just an example.)  Don't you think that in that case there could be a few negative repurcussions?

                      Assuming you agree -- and if you don't, we have to stop talking -- then they question is how bad of a response we expect to get.  Yes, there are certainly good economic reasons to stop the war, as you indicate.  That's not the only consideration.

                      Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                      by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:48:53 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  we cut the funding (0+ / 0-)

                        THE WAR ENDS<Our kids come home, just like they did in NAM.  Sorry I am talking about kids lies, your talking about politician talking points.</p>

                        Generals gathered in their masses Just like witches at black masses.. Evil minds that plot destruction Sorcerers of deaths construction..........

                        by pissedpatriot on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 04:37:58 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  With due respect (0+ / 0-)

                          I don't think that you are thinking this through carefully enough.  If I thought otherwise, I'd probably agree with you.

                          Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                          by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 05:14:41 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

              •  so (0+ / 0-)

                so we , the left, saved countless lives by pushing to end the Nam travesty, and pull the nation out of that failed war, and still we are portrayed by the riht as traitors.  WHO CARES.

                No matter what the dems do, this war is a failure and the right will blame us.  They dont care about facts or logic

                Generals gathered in their masses Just like witches at black masses.. Evil minds that plot destruction Sorcerers of deaths construction..........

                by pissedpatriot on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:03:12 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Would troops be withdrawn safely? (0+ / 0-)

        Not a rhetorical question, I swear to God.  What would happen?

        And before anybody tap-dances on my head I've been against the war since before it started and get so upset about it that I can't quite believe I haven't had a stroke.  I've just never read a calm description of what would happen if we de-fund.

        'how many deaths will it take till he knows That too many people have died?' Bob Dylan

        by St Louis Woman on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:04:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are reports out there by groups (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          St Louis Woman

          left, right, and center.  Others have more expertise than I do in such areas, but we have to expect that there will be trouble.  One problem is that the Saudis want the Republicans to remain in office, and the Iranians might want it also (if they think they won't be bombed and toppled), so there are a lot of people motivated to screw us up.

          There's a more conspiratorial possibility that I hesitate to raise, but when President Carter sent helicopters to try to reclaim the Iranian hostages, there are reports that people like Oliver North, who was involved, intentionally helped bungle the mission.  Is it impossible that the military might not take all the steps appropriate for troop safety if they can claim that they didn't have the money to do so?  It depends how cynical you are.  I wish I could rule it out.

          Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

          by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:21:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, I'm plenty cynical so you've just scared (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Major Danby

            the shit out of me.  

            God I hate George Bush.  These guys have fucked everything up so badly it's hard to fathom why anybody would want to be the next President.  

            This was a good diary and a (mostly) good discussion.  Thanks for writing it and staying in the discussion the way you did.

            'how many deaths will it take till he knows That too many people have died?' Bob Dylan

            by St Louis Woman on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:27:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I hope that someone can point you to reports (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              St Louis Woman

              out there on the consequences of withdrawal; I don't have them at hand.

              Yeah.  Preventing another Bush-Cheney-type Administration is our permanent patriotic duty.  These are the people Ben Franklin warned us about.

              Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

              by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:50:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  In trying to be risk-averse (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Johnson, taylormattd, Marc in KS

      they're actually being reckless (as a matter of politics and policy).

    •  Don't take any chances. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Johnson, pissedpatriot

      Let's leave the troops there so they can get maimed and killed for nothing. Is that the point?

      When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

      by Rayk on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:33:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, we could withdraw in an orderly and (0+ / 0-)

        responsible way, along the lines of many Democratic proposals, if Bush cooperated, and given that he won't it's at least an open question as to whether it's better to withdraw with him at the helm or to wait until we have a leader who isn't psycho.

        Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

        by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:36:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Only open for people (0+ / 0-)

          who reflexively defend the Democratic leadership (or wish to distract from defunding in favor of impeachment).

          •  OK, you've said your piece (0+ / 0-)

            Your ad hominem attack is noted.  Shoo.

            Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

            by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:22:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  ad hom? Not at all. (0+ / 0-)

              As to:

              Shoo

               You've been here long enough to know that you can't ask that.

              •  I can ask whatever I want (0+ / 0-)

                Go ask Armando, who said it to me many times, using stronger language.

                The arguments that I have expressed my opinion because of a reflexive support for Dem leadership, or because I am trying to distract from defunding so as to bolster impeachment, are classically ad hominem: aimed at the speaker, not the argument.

                Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

                by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:52:27 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  A fair question. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Major Danby, pissedpatriot, catchaz

          I think we need to withdraw now. We have no guarantee that the next president will do any better, and we DO have a guarantee that our troops will continue to be maimed and killed while we are leaving them there...

          When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

          by Rayk on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:47:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  That's great. But I put little stock in it. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Erevann

      Really, Bob (and if it matters my academic research was largely in public opinion), people give out answers like that without their being fully considered or deeply felt.  I'm sorry that's so, in this case, but it is.

      Imagine that your life personally depended on knowing how seriously to take that report.  What would you want to know before relying on such a figure?  You might want to know how well they understand the actual proposal at hand, to what extent their opinion stands up when they face opposing arguments, and what will happen if bad consequences follow the policy.

      Well, in this case, your life does depend on it, because if the Republicans use Democratic success in defunding to gain back the Presidency in 2008, the troops stay in place and the Constitution doesn't.  Our leaders are right to care about that.

      Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

      by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:34:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  wrong (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Erevann, catchaz

        wrong you base your whole logic on a hypothetical ( basically americans re too stupid to know what ending a war means)  You know whos lives really depends on it right NOW, our kids over in Iraq on their 3rd and 4th tour.  The shit going on there is real.

        This whole 2008 thing, can be said before EVERY election. THe war has failed, american hate it, congress is hated because they arent doing anything about it, the president is despised, the country believes strongly we are on the wrong track.

        My god your like a poker player with 4 jacks worried about matching the pot and calling.

        Mark my words, next year, nobody is going to be screaming about the dems bringing the soldiers home, e are going to be in such a full blown recession, americans will be thankful the blank paychecks to Iraq have stopped. This COUNTRY IS BROKE, we cant afford to pay for a failed war. There is your rebuttal.

        Generals gathered in their masses Just like witches at black masses.. Evil minds that plot destruction Sorcerers of deaths construction..........

        by pissedpatriot on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:18:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're doing a great job of thinking (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Erevann

          one or two moves ahead.  Political leaders have to do more than that.

          And I agree with you on the merits.  We should stop the war.  The question is whether the only means Bush allows us is likely to create more problems than benefits.

          Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

          by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:24:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Somehow... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Major Danby

            we're still having the same argument we were last year. At least the same in essence...

            Emotional argument or the rational one.

            Both have their urgency and necessity, but neither, fully satisfying.

            Something doesn't feel right though...

            Where the hell is OPOL? LOL

            "In every country, every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson

            by Erevann on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 04:05:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  But now (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Erevann

              it's in Newsweek!

              Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

              by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 04:09:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  rational? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Erevann

              whats rational about staying in a failed war, thats about as irrational as it gets.

              Generals gathered in their masses Just like witches at black masses.. Evil minds that plot destruction Sorcerers of deaths construction..........

              by pissedpatriot on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 04:40:07 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hold your fire... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                pissedpatriot

                pal! :) I wasn't pointing that statement directly at your debate. It was an allusion to prior (and fiery) arguments from the '06 cycle and impeachement diaries.

                I'm actually on YOUR side of this one and sitting here with an Army Ranger who's been to both Iraq and Afghanistan and wants us out of both.

                I admire both your passion and your firm ability to live up to your username there. :)

                But the reference has more to do with style than substance. Passion and pragmatism, emotional and rational.

                No offense, simply an observation and reminicense.

                Keep the faith though, we'll figure out this mess yet.

                "In every country, every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson

                by Erevann on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 04:53:17 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  The Question of Public Awareness (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, Major Danby, moose67

    It seems to me that a critical aspect to any political is public awareness.

    Does the public know that the Repub's own this Occupation? I would say yes.

    Does the public yearn for spine on the part of Dems to stand up to lawlessness and failed policy? I would say yes.

    The public wants us out of there. Poll after poll shows that reality. But again, the Republican's own this war. Bush OWNS this war. Cheney OWNS it. Lieberman, Rice, Addington, Bolton, Bremer, Fox,...the (once majority) Republican Congress and Senate...they own this war.

    The Dems must hammer this home over and over. The need to make the Repubs vote to continue this debacle at every step. I am continually amazed how the combination of media control and unprofessional Dem messaging supports the Repub's framing of this issue.

    And who the hell is paying for this mess? Hello, Economy tie in!! We. Want. Strong. Leadership. To. Fight. For. Us!! (Dodd, Telecom immunity...see how that works?).

    In leiu of our failed MSM, it is OUR responsibility to continue to push back and educate each other...but wait...I think the polls show that we continue to be successful in that regard.

    You can blow out a candle, but you can't blow out a fire, once the flame begins to catch, the wind will blow it higher.

    by truesurf on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:21:08 PM PST

  •  LOL! Now we get to critique Kos? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Erevann, Major Danby

    Too funny.  But then again, he isn't ALWAYS right.  (He don't know nuthin' about NJ)

    Should we give this new guy a chance until we can assess the cut of his jib?  Or just go for the throat now?

    -3.63, -4.46 "Choose something like a star to stay your mind on- and be staid"

    by goldberry on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:21:35 PM PST

  •  However (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marc in KS, Erevann, whytwolf

    The other side of this is, of course, Democratic inability to force the war to a conclusion, or even to force Bush to change his policies, is going to hurt Democrats next year - the only question is how much.

    It seems to me that the risk of being blamed for continuing the war, as well as seeing Republicans come up with some BS plan to "end the war" that is smoke and mirrors but enough to convince the media, outweighs the risk of angering the public by defunding.

    We know the public does in fact want this war to come to an end. Perhaps if Dems played up the truly staggering costs of the fighting - $1 trillion and counting - that would overcome any public sense that "ohmygod the Dems are cutting off the troops!" Defunding did work, after all, in the early 1970s, at a time when public support for the military and the war was higher than it is now.

    In short: the risks are there to a defunding strategy, but they're worth it, as they're far better than the alternative.

    I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

    by eugene on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:21:45 PM PST

    •  There is no honorable alternative. (0+ / 0-)
    •  I would think pushing the economic argument.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eugene, Major Danby

      and HARD would be the right tack to take. Push it a LOT harder than it's being pushed now.

      Everytime a Dem goes head to head with one of these "Republicans" on some talking head show, hammer them on the "fiscal responsibility" and ridicule them mercilessly.

      But for the wider audience, most American's, the emotional argument will push it over the edge everytime. As sad as that is to say.

      "In every country, every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson

      by Erevann on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 04:22:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  you can't (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    andgarden, Major Danby, Pager

    "have the issue" forever.  At some point, you have to do something.  The public is not going to believe that we will get out of Iraq in 2009 if we don't try harder to do so before that.  I have already heard not very political friends blame the Democrats for not getting out of Iraq even after they won the Congress.

    I have been a skeptic of defunding, but I have become convinced it's the right thing to do, in part because nothing else has worked.  I think Kos is right on this one.

    •  There are ways to drive home the point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mcfly

      without using the broadaxe.  I don't think the public will have much problem figuring out who was on what side (possibly unless Hillary is nominated) during the 2008 campaign, because the Democrat (likely even Hillary) is going to be saying "we need to draw down and get substantially out as quickly as possible" and the Republican is going to be saying "more troops, and let's bomb Iran!"

      But you could be right.  My deepest objection is his claiming that it's an easy call, which is the only way you can make the leadership look knavish or foolish.

      Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

      by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:29:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

      The repubs have played abortion, gay rights, etc for decades - use the issue to rile up the base, then when in power do next to nothing.

      The Dems are trying to use the war likewise.  But you say it won't work?

      Damn! why do they always turn out to be such a bunch of losers?

  •  While I disagree with you, (4+ / 0-)

    Major Danby, I have to say, you wrote one hell of a rebuttal.  Kudos!

    My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. Barbara Jordan 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:26:32 PM PST

  •  I guess I see the alternatives as (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mcfly
    • defunding the war and forcing the Pentagon to stage an orderly (as orderly as can be expected in that place) withdrawal, or
    • we are there forever, or 50 years, whichever comes first.

    I just do not agree that the military consequences of withdrawal will pose any greater threat to the troops than what they're enduring now.

    And yes, we will take heat not if something goes wrong, but when something goes wrong, as it surely will.

    But is that enough of a reason to keep killing our young men and women for nothing?

    Me, I'll take the political heat if it means no more needless deaths of our young people.

    Je suis inondé de déesses

    by Marc in KS on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:28:34 PM PST

    •  I think that the realistic alternative is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Erevann

      that we elect a Democratic President and end the war sensibly, honorably, as quickly as possible, and with international cooperation that we'll never have under any of the Republican frontrunners, in 2009.

      I do not like this outcome, but it may be the best of bad options.

      Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

      by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:30:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The only worry I have in this scenario... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Marc in KS

        is a repeat of Nixon's promises during his campaign and the subsequent YEARS our boys were left dying in SE Asia, despite those promises.

        If Hillary get's the White House, I swear I can see it going the same damn way.

        The past year of this congress, after working to get them control, has had the effect of pushing me BACK towards my independent identification and AWAY from my identification with the Democratic party as a whole.

        I simply don't trust Hillary to bring them home, I'm skeptical about Obama AND Edwards as well.

        It's to the point where I've actually entertained (for a short time) Ron Paul, hoping that his constitutional fundementalism would get us out of our foreign entanglements and a Dem congress to temper his more "out there" social and domestic proclivities.

        At this point I lean Edwards, but if Hillary get's the baton, I'm not sure what the hell I'm gonna do. I simply don't trust her and seems like just more of the same.

        "In every country, every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson

        by Erevann on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 04:44:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  As an activist, you want to create conditions (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Erevann

          where your activism is most likely to be effective.  I'd support Hillary is large part because she would have to deal with people like me and you.  She might think otherwise, but she'd be wrong.  We will have an eruption of protest under Hillary, in the expectation that she -- unlike Bush, or Giuliani, etc. -- is movable.  I expect it to be a great time for activism and to be effective.

          Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

          by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 04:47:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Good points all... (0+ / 0-)

            and considering the direction the winds blowing, it's the hope I'm holding on to should it come to pass.

            Damn it, now you've gone and thrown a wrench into my framing of the situation... back to the proverbial "drawing board"! ;)

            Still, if we're reduced to having to settle for the more "amenable" option and not reach for the gold ring candidate, we really ARE in damn sorry shape.

            But I suppose the reality is what it is, though I still firmly believe in the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and strive for enough minds shifting to CHANGE that reality.

            I'm not, mind you, holding my breath in the mean time though! hehe

            "In every country, every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson

            by Erevann on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 08:17:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  How Is Rove going to Provide (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Erevann, mango, lizpolaris

    Counter-Point?

    The way I see it, Newsweek just hired two writers who will both be spending most of their time criticizing Democrats.

  •  Profiles in cowardice... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    environmentalist, Erevann, catchaz

    If the Democrats are actually against the war, but continue to fund it because they are worried about political consequences...well, that's not very respectable, is it?

    When a government violates the unalienable rights of the people, it loses its legitimacy.

    by Rayk on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:31:01 PM PST

    •  outrageous! (0+ / 0-)

      it is outrageous that someone would contiinue a war they could stop because it gives them a political advantage.

      no wait, it's not outrageous, it's immoral.

      how do they sleep?

      the time to rise has been engaged...

      by catchaz on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 04:37:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mediocracy just makes it up as they go along. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    environmentalist
  •  I think that that that mysterious (0+ / 0-)

    Newsweek columnist is correct.

    •  Caveat duly noted ;7) n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Moody Loner

      Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

      by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:31:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why not Fund a 12-18 month Withdrawal (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        catchaz

        It is framed well which the public will like and difficult to spin as defunding the troops.

        Fully fund an 18 month withdrawal to be crafted by committee of military, foreign diplomacy experts and Sunni-Shiite reconciliation leaders, etc

        by timber on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 04:24:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of *course* they should pass a bill like that! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Moody Loner

          That's not the issue.  Bush will veto it, they will not have the votes to override, and then the question will be the same one we had in April: what to do then.  We're thinking three steps ahead here; most of us agree on going through that exercise.

          My answer then and now was to keep sending back the same bill and make Bush cave.  But eventually, that turns into plain old defunding and Bush pretending that the troops are running out of bullets.  At that point, as Bush knows the Dems will likely cave.  Then what do we do?

          Don't be so far above politics that you can't help clear the snakes down on the ground. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

          by Major Danby on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 04:50:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Keep your head down!! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Moody Loner

      INCOMING!!!! * duck behind the desk *

      "In every country, every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty" - Thomas Jefferson

      by Erevann on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 04:06:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hey, you think. . . (4+ / 0-)

    Karl Rove will use his first column to slam the Republicans?  You know, just to be fair.  I'd hate to think that Newsweek's idea of "fair and balanced" is two Dem-bashers.

    ---------------------------------------------
    For personal and general travel news: Notes On Travel

    by LarryInNYC on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:38:48 PM PST

  •  Very thoughtful diary (5+ / 0-)

    Thanks for a different, compelling (if not pleasing) perspective.

  •  Ignoring Democrats' Power (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catchaz

    That's a long diary. Probably necessarily so, because it's all spin to gloss through the central point, whether the Democratic Congress could end the war if it wanted to.

    Put these together, and one reaches the conclusion that it is far from "obvious" that the public will favor any possible action to stop the war regardless of subsequent events.  I think it is likely that the public will not condemn Democrats, even if and when things go bad as we withdraw, for the considered use of the scalpel to cut back war funding.  It does not follow, though, that they will forgive the Democrats for any possible consequence if we've flailed away with a broadaxe.  And Bush's strategy, let's be clear, is specifically to deny us the ability to make judicious and responsible cuts in war funding.

    For one, refusing to pass any funding bills that don't have specific timetables and instructions for withdrawal is negotiation with a stubborn president. The actual legislation is not an all or nothing provision, but rather eventually a compromise that forces Bush to withdraw, preserving only some of his preferred terms in that withdrawal in recognition of the need to compromise, because he is still the president. But the public, if Democrats communicate properly, will understand that's what Democrats have to go through to get the withdrawal that they, and the public all want, despite Bush's bitter (yet doomed) opposition.

    Moreover, if Democrats really wanted to end the war, they don't even have to play that game with any war bills. They could just block all Republican pork bills. Iraq might be their most important priority, but it's not their only priority. Block enough pork, and watch Republicans, including Bush, reprioritize the war to just a strategy of blaming Democrats for "quitting when we could have won it in six more months" or whatever whining they hope a disenchanted public might buy. Which it won't, not for years after seeing so much Republican lying up close.

    I think that the most important thing Dems can do over the next year is to win the Presidency in 2008

    The fact is that you, like the Democrats controlling Congress, don't think ending the Iraq War is as important as minimizing risks that Democrats won't take the maximum majorities in Congress and the presidential vote in 2008 - even if that's overkill. The same aversion to risk, even when the costs of its absolute minimization aren't worth the benefits past a certain investment, makes you fear the actual leadership that would most likely give you those same results, by leading a grateful nation. How many more millions of "lean Democrat" would come out to vote for a real leader finally showing up to end the war the way the vast majority of the apathetic nonvoters want? A lot more than would come out to defend the losing, lying Republicans with no such option.

    And please, let's not pretend that the proper path is obvious and that only a knave or fool can't see it.

    OK, let's face the facts that the path is fairly obvious, or at least completely well known, and that knaves and fools are joined by people in denial of the appropriate risks that real leadership requires.

    BTW, the main thrust of your snarky criticism of Kos for criticizing Democrats isn't worth nearly as much in depth analysis. Are Republicans going to end the war with more criticism? From Kos? I hear "knave" and "fool" floating around again. Democrats might. Especially when they see that even Newsweek readers, not just DKos readers, have seen the light. Though I guess they could dig up some few supporters of staying the course to Democratic victory if they dig around in one of those leftwing blogs.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:02:39 PM PST

  •  Recommended for the quality ... (4+ / 0-)

    ...of the analysis, not because I agree.

    "Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president, but they don't want them to become politicians in the process." - JFK

    by Meteor Blades on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 03:20:02 PM PST

  •  The safe position (0+ / 0-)

    applies to large circulation journalism too.  I find that these writers almost have formula for appealing to the widest possible audience.  They almost always so yes and no at the same, if you stop to think about it.  So they can hedge their bets with agreeing in principle but withholding endorsement for specific complaints.  Alot can be understand about the writers just from this simple principle, and they will never publicly admit that they are doing it by the way.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site