Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 11, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

WHOSE WAR?....On the off chance that you were feeling cheerful today, Juan Cole has a great big bucket of ice to dump on you:

If the Democrats cannot prevail in withdrawing before Bush goes out of office (and they cannot), and if they then rapidly draw down the troops on taking office in 2009, they face the real prospect of a "Gerald Ford meltdown" of the sort that occurred in 1975 when the North Vietnamese and their VC allies took over South Vietnam....The consequences may include even higher petroleum prices than we have seen recently, which at some point could bring back stagflation or very high rates of inflation.

In other words, the Democratic president risks being Fordized when s/he withdraws from Iraq, by the aftermath. A one-term president associated with humiliation abroad and high inflation at home? Maybe I should say, Carterized. The Republican Party could come back strong in 2012 and then dominate politics for decades, if that happened.

It is all so unfair, of course, since Bush started and prosecuted this disaster in Iraq, and Bush is refusing to accept responsibility for the failure, pushing it off onto his successor.

But life is unfair.

Now, I'm going to disagree with Juan on two grounds. First, I'm not convinced Vietnam really hurt Ford much. What with Watergate, an oil shock, stagflation, telling New York City to drop dead, and so forth, I always figured any Democratic opponent should have won about 500 electoral votes in 1976. The fact that Ford did as well as he did is strong evidence that the public understood perfectly well he wasn't responsible for Vietnam. Second, the Iraq war is even more clear cut. It's so plainly George Bush's debacle that I'm not sure the public is going to blame a Democratic president who earnestly tries to withdraw in a reasonable way from Iraq, even if it does blow up afterwards.

That said, though, Juan's scenario is utterly plausible. Things very well could go that way. Dems may not have the votes to defund the war, but I sure hope they're at least thinking hard about how to keep Republicans from pinning the blame on them for its inevitable ghastly conclusion.

Kevin Drum 11:29 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (50)

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What about Doing The Right Thing?

(laughed off of stage)

Posted by: floppin' pauper on September 11, 2007 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

War! Ugh! Good god, y'all! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii, Channeling Edwin Starr on September 11, 2007 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

Nothing wrong with another eight years of occupation. Let Neil Bush/Mary Cheney deal with peace with dishonor in 2016.

Posted by: gregor on September 11, 2007 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

And let's not forget that the "Petraeus Drawdown" is timed to coincide nicely with the Republican National Convention in 2008.

Posted by: Hemlock for Gadflies on September 11, 2007 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

J. Cole is misguided about the historical analogy in a rather basic way: I think the people who really cared about Vietnam in 1975 were right-wingers. I mean, they were the ones who wanted to stick it out for a couple dozen more F.U.'s, right? (I was only 5 then, I don't remember the period very well.)

So he weakened himself with his base, and Dems weren't going to vote for him, and voila - Jimmy Carter wins.

Now I don't think it will be humiliating for our troops to come home. And what Democrat would? Nor will many independents be voting based on whatever tribe has the most mortars in Al-Wherever. I think people will just be sick of it. Republicans may care, but they're not going to vote for Dems anyway.

And $10 gas is just idle speculation, and just as likely to occur as Dow 40,000.

Posted by: lampwick on September 11, 2007 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats must do as they promised and end the war in September. If through filibuster or through procedural genius, there is no reason to keep this war going. If they want to sign their kids up, and draft another 500,000 people, then we'll talk surge. We are out of money for this war. We are out of money. The profligate spending has to cease, let alone the humanitarian catastrophe. On another front, I see reports today that hydrogen has been liberated from salt water using simple radio waves. If true, there is another reason to end the war. We need alternative energies, politicians with spines, and no more God-damned George Bush speeches.

Posted by: Sparko on September 11, 2007 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, what if the housing slump is worse than either Bernanke or mortgage institutions want to admit and also carries over into 2009? (I've blogged a lot about this myself.)

Then, a Democratic president would also have a domestic albatross, and could indeed struggle.

"It's the economy, stupid." (My 12-month odds of recession are at 50-50.)

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on September 11, 2007 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

"Dems may not have the votes to defund the war, but I sure hope they're at least thinking hard about how to keep Republicans from pinning the blame on them for its inevitable ghastly conclusion."

Democrats should vote to defund the war because it's utterly unsalvageable, not because it's politically expedient. The Surge has nothing to do with making things right in Iraq. It's all about staying there long enough to wipe this sticky booger on the next, presumably Democratic, administration. That President could design & implement the strategy that brings peace to not only Iraq, but the entire Middle East, and still, almost magically, all those Republicans who had laryngitis when it came time to speak out against the sheer idiocy & mendacity of the Bush administration are going to be full throated in calls for bogus investigations about god knows what. Get used to it.

Posted by: junebug on September 11, 2007 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

I always thought the next President will be a one-termer no matter which party wins it next year. Beyond the war there maybe economic problems that sink the next WH occupant.

Also, the "Petraeus Drawdown" next year just returns the troop level to earlier this year. I don't see how that significantly helps the GOP.

Posted by: CarlP on September 11, 2007 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

Totally disagree--Cole hasn't analyzed this properly.

By the time Ford was presiding over what was left of our presence in Vietnam, the country had largely moved on. The popular movement that united Vietnam came about because the will to keep the two countries separate collapsed with the ARVN. The ARVN actually held them off but eventually collapsed.

In Vietnam, there were hundreds of thousands of guerillas fighting against whatever forces opposed them; in Iraq, there are roughly 20,000 insurgents who do not fight for a "unified" Iraq or anything resembling a country--they fight for cash and cash only.

No Democrat is ever going to be tainted by the war--Bush ordered the invasion, Bush stood and said, Mission Accomplished, Bush said Bring 'em on, Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld tried for months and months to AVOID using the term insurgency, guerillas, etc. Also, Bush kept Rumsfeld on the job well past his expiration date, Bush sent Cheney out month after month to lie about what was happening, Bush cashiered generals who tried to give him anything remotely resembling bad news and Bush escalated the troop presence in Iraq several times to prop up the illegitimate government.

Bush held off destroying Fallujah until after the 2004 elections. The patriotism of each and every person who dared criticize their conduct of the war was called into question, and is still being called into question. Democratic politicians have lost their seats in the Senate and the House over their stance and votes on the war. Who invented the whole Swift Boat thing? Who is still trying their damnedest to use that kind of tactic everywhere possible?

The Republicans controlled all three branches of government for the bulk of the war--no oversight, no hearings and no benchmarks until after the war had been raging out of control for over three years. This war has gone on longer that World War II but for significantly less time than Vietnam. And--hello? Professor Cole? There is no draft. The American people are largely untouched by the reality of the war. They care. But they're not seeing their kids plucked out of their homes and jammed into uniforms, they're not waiting eighteen months to buy a new car, they're not being forced to use ration cards and they're not interested in the details of Sunnis vs Shia. They just want it over. They damned sure aren't forming a million plus vanguard to march on DC, are they?

The Democrats have offered multiple proposals to change the mission and get us away from a military solution to this political problem--John Kerry, Jack Murtha and Joe Biden to name a few have offered detailed and varied options that have been savaged by the Republicans and the media. Guess what? Kerry was right in 2004, Murtha was right in 2006 and Biden is right today. Dozens of other Democrats have offered amendments, proposals and options. General after general has come out and offered differing opinions, criticisms, and their own proposals. General Wes Clark has been in the vanguard of trying to get the administration to listen to other points of view, as has General Zinni.

The idea that this is anything but a Bush/Cheney foreign policy disaster is laughable. The American people are never going to forget that Bush/Cheney set the standard for incompetence--they screwed up the hunt for Bin Laden, they let New Orleans drown and they can't figure out how to fight the Iraq war.

One need not look further than the willful incompetence of Condoleeza Rice and her inability to accomplish anything in the Middle East. Did the Democrats trash the State Department? Did the Democrats send her there? Did the Democrats send Karen Hughes to the Middle East?

No, the next Democratic President will get a pass on this one. He or she will not be treated like Gerald Ford; they will likely be treated more like Eisenhower, who extricated us from a shooting war in Korea and left us with a truce and with troops in the region.

Posted by: Pale Rider on September 11, 2007 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect that after the massive fearmongering and buildup, the eventual withdrawal won't change things that much. The current civil war may get a bit hotter, but if there are no U.S. troops dying over there and no U.S. green zone advisers pulling the strings, this isn't going to matter much to people here. While it's possible that oil prices might spike, I don't imagine it really benefits the Iraqi factions to have oil production completely shut down. So the oil situation may be more influenced by peak oil than by events in Iraq.

If the predicted catastrophes in the wake of the U.S. departure fail to materialize, it'll will hurt Republicans far more than Democrats. And for an incoming Dem administration in 2009, far better to get the withdrawal done early than to wait for things to fester and get it closer to the next election cycle. With an early enough withdrawal, the war will be largely off the table by the time 2012 rolls around.

Posted by: jimBOB on September 11, 2007 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

I think doing the right thing would be for the next administration to expose all of the war crimes and corruption of the last Republican administration. I want to know who did and stole what and I also want them removed from society by incarceration. It may not solve the economic problems W. Bush will leave us, but it might at least provide some small entertainment to see quaint torturers squirm when the accusatory finger is pointed at them. Inform the public about the gross malfeasance and immorality of the Republican control of the nation, and the Democrats should keep control of Congress and the presidency despite the horrible economy.

Reconciliation with the Republicans responsible for Iraq and the humongous graft of the last eight years will doom the Democrats to public responsibility for the W. Bush bequeathed depressed economy.

Posted by: Brojo on September 12, 2007 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

Oh. My. God. Sharon Osbourne accused Courtney Love of giving her 15-year-old son Oxycontin -- or was it Sharon who accused Ozzy of being on Oxycontin while giving Courtney Love to her 15-year-old son. Oh, whatever!

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii, Channeling E! and Not Liking What He Sees on September 12, 2007 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider: "The popular movement that united Vietnam came about because the will to keep the two countries separate collapsed with the ARVN. The ARVN actually held them off but eventually collapsed."

Which I take to mean that ARVN didn't "actually [hold] them off."

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 12, 2007 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Future President Hillary needs to start a consistent message now pinning all woes on W. If she says it over and over for the next 14 months it will become absolute truth (the public already believes it).

Posted by: Bush Lover on September 12, 2007 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider: "The idea that this is anything but a Bush/Cheney foreign policy disaster is laughable."

And painfully obvious to everyone except George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 12, 2007 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

Too late. The die is cast. It's already the Dems war. Since it's a lost cause Dems are losers too. Done deal. The dirty fucking hippy losers from Nam rose up and did it to us again. No other narrative is plausible to Mr. and Mrs. Schmoe from "real America". Wasn't the troops, they did their job. Wasn't George "the second coming of Christ" Bush. Goddamn, don't you remember the bullhorn?! No, Democrats lost this war. If they win in '08 and stay they're screwed. If they leave they're screwed. No matter what they do they're screwed. Pondering some route out of this hell without getting your ass fried as you pass through the gates is wasted thought. Bend over and take it like a man.

Posted by: steve duncan on September 12, 2007 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

All the falsehoods/irrationalities perpetrated by the right, ignored/supported by the MSM, and accepted by far too many non-brain damaged Americans over the last 37 years should provide ample evidence that it is not just big lies that have to be endlessly repeated to succeed, big truths require the same nurturing.

e.g. The idea that some level of government regulation for virtually all types of industry is not only not socialism, but is essential and just plain common sense.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O/F in 08! on September 12, 2007 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

This kind of political calculation is precisely the problem.

Posted by: pidgas on September 12, 2007 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

Dems may not have the votes to defund the war

Of course they do. It only takes 41 votes to filibuster. The Dems don't have to pass legislation to defund the war -- they only have to not pass a funding bill. Why does everybody forget that?

Yeah, yeah, I know there is a political downside to that move. But so what? It's far more important to do what's right.

Posted by: Nonplussed on September 12, 2007 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

Juan Cole got it exactly right. This is precisely what the GOP will do, and with good reason. Pulling all troops out and watching the bloodbath is not responsible policy.

Posted by: Art Rantarian on September 12, 2007 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

"Watergate, an oil shock, stagflation, telling New York City to drop dead, and so forth"

You forgot Poland.

Posted by: jahoulih on September 12, 2007 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

Cole is wrong here. His analysis is way off b/c Iraqis will stop killing each other when we pull out. We may have situations like Pakistan and afghanistan where different groups don't like the other guys but they co-exist under 1 dominant leadership. We could have the taliban and the northenr alliance in Iraq but the killings will stop.

Posted by: bob on September 12, 2007 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

I'm inclined to agree with Steve Duncan.

Somehow -- I don't know how -- whoever runs for the Presidency in 2008 will manage to allow the Republicans to hand all blame for the Iraqi disaster on to them, while kindly retaining any post-9/11 credit for themselves.

If the Democrats don't end the war before 2008 -- and they won't -- the Democratic Presidential victory that year will probably be Pyrrhic.

Posted by: MFB on September 12, 2007 at 2:52 AM | PERMALINK

Tracy: It's so plainly George Bush's debacle that I'm not sure the public is going to blame a Democratic president who earnestly tries to withdraw in a reasonable way from Iraq, even if it does blow up afterwards.

As much as I would like to agree with this, reality (as you see it) is less of a factor in shaping the public's perception than the Republican spin machine. The average person doesn't spend a lot of time doing independent reading to get to the bottom of complicated issues, they simply believe what they hear from the media and/or their political leaders.

For example, the Republican political machine is the driving force behind the term "AQI", Al Qaida in Iraq, despite the fact that they are a negligible presence (likely accounting for less than 1-2% of the attacks). Nevertheless, the MSM has predictably adopted the term and now uses it regularly when discussing the violence in Iraq.

The "surge" is another example. While there is little statistical evidence to support the Bush administration's contention that the "surge" is reducing violence in Iraq, the GOP is nevertheless conducting a reasonably successful media blitz to convince the public otherwise. [they don't need to convince a majority of voters, just a minority large enough to frighten the Democrats from taking strong action to end the war]

It doesn't matter what happens, when, or who was responsible for it - the Republicans will blame the Democrats. The GOP's huge and highly efficient slander machine is simply far, far better at selling a message than the Democrats even when the truth is on their side. Another contributing factor is that the MSM and the public have both been trained to believe that the truth always lies somewhere in the middle of two opposing points of view. Except sometimes one side of an argument is absolutely correct while the other side is wrong and simply engaged in spin.

Katrina is an example. Some believe it's a clear cut example of the Bush administration's incompetence and failure. But it's not - the GOP successfully passed around enough blame to others (the mayor, the governor, mother nature, the Army core of engineers, and Brownie) that Bush ends up looking like an incidental figure.

But no matter how much blame you heap upon Nagin and Blanco, it cannot absolve the Bush administration for the abysmal federal response to a catastrophic national disaster, especially when that administration markets itself on homeland security (which one would presume includes the plans and capacity to respond to a major terrorist attack). And yet talking about Blanco and Nagin does succeed in distracting attention from Bush (and good luck trying to explain to people that the mayor of one of the poorest cities had no resources to command, and that much of Blanco's resources had long ago been shipped off to Iraq).

Posted by: Augustus on September 12, 2007 at 4:27 AM | PERMALINK

"Dems may not have the votes to defund the war..."

really? you mean the next time bush sends down an "emergency" request for funding the war the majority has absolutely no choice but to pass the bill and send it back for signature? I thought funding bills had to be originated in the house and passed by both houses first, but maybe bush has more power than I thought...

Posted by: supersaurus on September 12, 2007 at 5:38 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone still want take umbrage with my characterization of Drum as a foolish old man too terrified of his own shadow to be effective, and too busy tut tutting over his own people to be trusted?

Note to you people out there; these excuses about not having the votes and such only worked 8 months ago because we thought the Democrats really wanted to end the war but couldn't. Most of us don't believe that anymore. We believe the Democrats are, for their own corrupt and tyrannical reasons, actively trying to prolong the war. It's hard to believe otherwise when they aren't playing you all for fools when they pass FISA bills and you have Hillary Clinton telling every insider she can find that she'll still have troops in Iraq come 2017.

Posted by: soullite on September 12, 2007 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

Pale left out the key to Ike's success in managing Korea: he had his party under him. Will the next President? I think much less than Ike did.

I think it's a safe prediction that Republicans will try to define Democrats by their fringe groups -- and so will the fringe groups. But I don't think Kevin is trying hard enough to imagine what victory could look like, and 'without vision, the people perish.'

Suppose Clinton wins in '08, with maybe 150,000 Americans in Iraq on election day. Since she can't do the Eisenhower "I will go to...", I bet instead she has a series of high-level classified briefings with everybody and anybody with a star on their shoulder from Thanksgiving through New Year's. Hell, I bet she even meets with Powell: classy.

So she takes office with roughly 120k Americans left in Iraq, and a level of violence more or less the size and shape it is now. I predict she will break precedent in her Inaugural Address, which will otherwise be all about the Historic First Woman President, and a wonkish list of legislative priorities, and give a brief but impassioned plea for an America united in war, "that our children fight."

She will be America's stern but loving MOM.

Then she will steadily draw down troops to roughly 50,000 or so in country, all in relatively safe missions (no more IEDs), while providing significant air support to folks who are willing to deal with us. That's a helluva bargaining chip in a fluid but crystalizing, multi-factional civil war. (Juan Cole thinks there may even be setpiece battles between various militia: bet on the ones that get American intelligence and air cover.) Iraq will remain intact, with an essentially independent Kurdistan and autonomous Sunni regions, plus sharing of oil revenues: they won't love each other, but they won't be shooting US, either.

The 'Bush must be humiliated' Democrats and MoveOn folks will be pissed off, and Republicans will have to attack THEM, because they will get no traction attacking Clinton for essentially winning the war on the terms Bush was finally willing to settle for. Clinton will be plenty smart enough to realize that you can accomplish anything if you don't care who gets the credit -- and she won't: Bush isn't gonna be remembered for blessing us with Iraq no matter how it ends.

Remember, it's all about the OBJECTIVE: we don't have to win, exactly. We could just determine that whoever DOES win, asks for, needs, and gets our help, in exchange for making it easy for us to stand down.

LOL -- and if a new Pakistani government doesn't give Bush bin Laden during the Republican convention (which is still my prediction), maybe they pull an Iranian hostage release, and give him to Clinton as she walks down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.

Hey, you KNOW God is gonna give Kristol and Scaife fresh material for the conspiracymongering: any takers?

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 12, 2007 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

Whomever gets elected president in '08, assuming it's a Democrat, should simply say, "Who decided to concentrate our military manpower and resources on Iraq instead of bringing bin Laden to justice? It wasn't someone from my party." A statement such as that puts the GOP back on its heels.

Posted by: Vincent on September 12, 2007 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

Cole's got it wrong. The '76 election was about Nixon, not Vietnam.

Cole has so many ifs and coulds in his statement that it sounds like one of the Americanshits predictions.

You could also draw a scenario that says we get out of Iraq, there is a short but bloody (for the Sunni's) civil war, a Shiite strongman takes over and give AQI 24 hours to get out of town.

Will American voters turn against a Dem President in 2012 because some Sunni's died in 2009? Right.

Posted by: tomeck on September 12, 2007 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

My greater fear is not that a Democratic President will be the next Ford but the next Nixon, knowing the war is lost but prolonging it to escape blame for losing. I could easily see 100,000 troops still in Iraq in 2011 under a Dem Pres, especially Clinton.

Posted by: Th on September 12, 2007 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

I think that the only point on which Cole is right here in terms of potential blowback against the Dems is the possible spike in prices for oil, and consequent inflation.

I don't think the public is going to much care that economic deterioration might be traced back to a failed Republican foreign policy. They aren't going to be patient with excuses, even perfectly good ones.

Otherwise, I think Cole is as wrong as wrong can be about how the public will perceive a collapse in Iraq. The public has already moved to a point at which they don't give the smallest damn about Iraq, except for how it's affecting our own troops.

Posted by: frankly0 on September 12, 2007 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

It wasn't stagflation during the Ford years; it was the 1975 recession, the worst since the Great Depression.

Posted by: SPR on September 12, 2007 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

The better analogy is LBJ and Nixon. The war was over by the time Nixon resigned during his second term. Ford was in office when North Vietnam finally took over the South after a reasonable interval. Those circumstances are not at all like what the next president will face in Iraq.

Posted by: steve on September 12, 2007 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

The Americanist ignores the simple but huge fact that Iraqi insurgents will fight us until ALL U.S. troops are out of the country. We CAN'T win, you twit.

Th, I think you're on to something.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on September 12, 2007 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

There is a recurring fallacy that rational discussion will move politics in a desirable direction. For all your lives you have been exposed to TV ads. Now it's becoming clear a lot of what you have been taught also should be looked at with a jaundiced eye.

Posted by: opit on September 12, 2007 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Ford didn't lose the election because of Vietnam; that's nonsense. It was the pardon that did him in. C'mon. Most of us were more than old enough to remember.

That having been said, Cole's points are valid, and woe be to ANY Democrat who underestimates this.

And it's not just the Iraq/Middle East catastrophe. Wait 'til you see the economic catastrophe that Bush and the Republicans have engineered. And the energy catastrophe. And the environmental catastrophies. They just keep piling up. I predict that Iraq will seem almost minor once we have our economic meltdown.

Posted by: MaxGowan on September 12, 2007 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

All bloggers should repeat over and over Hemlock’s perceptive comment above that the Petraeus drawdown next summer has been deliberately planned to coincide with the Republican Convention.

Another idea that should be promoted is that the next president (most likely a Democrat) will have to clean up the mess left by Bush, just like the legend of Hercules cleaning the Augean Stables

The fifth of the Twelve Labors set to Hercules was to clean the Augean stables in a single day. The reasoning behind this being set as a labour was twofold: firstly, all the previous labours exalted Heracles in the eyes of the people and this one would surely degrade him; secondly, the livestock were a divine gift to Augeas and were immune from disease and thus the amount of dirt and filth amassed in the uncleaned stables made the task surely impossible. However, Heracles succeeded by rerouting the rivers Alpheus and Peneus to wash out the filth.

As the next president tackles and unravels all the problems left by Bush, there should be constant reminders of how Bush created the problems. Instead of being degraded for doing this difficult job, the president should constantly be seen as a hero (or heroine.)

Posted by: emmarose on September 12, 2007 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

America is stuck in Iraq. Try to make peace, and work like heck on alternative energy.

Posted by: ferd on September 12, 2007 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

About the reference to liberating hydrogen from water in an early post. When you liberate hydrogen from water (using radio waves or whatever) and burn it, you end up with (that's right) water. There is a name for processes that end up where they started while liberating energy: perpetual motion machines. (by the way, I have a Ph.D., in science)

Posted by: fafner1 on September 12, 2007 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

The '75 recession being the greatest??????

Try telling that to those in the construction trades in Southern California, who lost their jobs, their unions, even their business' in the recession of '82 after Volker put an end to high inflation.

Not withstanding the devastating effects of Chevy Chase's prat falls, the better view is not of the '76 election, but of the change in perception towards the Democratic Party in the late 70s and 80s - Why has the Democratic Party had to be on the defensive about, supposedly, being soft on defense? It was the change in view towards Nam. Oh, those Demos "lost it". Many of the public have very short memories and are easily swayed by well orchestrated PR campaigns by well funded think tanks.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 12, 2007 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Hey gang, make life easier for yourselves.

here's how: Get out of Iraq right now--by getting 50 senators to not fund the war appropriation bill next week

Posted by: Dr WU-the last of the big time thinkers on September 12, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Look at the polls - Americans hate Bush, hate the war, want to get out. They don't think Petraeus is honest, they think Cheney is concentrated evil, etc. I don't see why, in only 2 or 3 years, Americans will happily buy the Republican slop about how "Democrats lost the war". I realize we have a short memory for these things, but surely the national nightmare of the past six years has been seared enough into people's heads?

Posted by: Joshua on September 12, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Prosecuting the the highest members of the W. Bush administration for both corruption and war crimes by the coming overwhelming Democratic Congress and, hopefully, Democratic administration will prevent a substantial portion of the public from blaming the Democrats for the coming domestic economic problems, environmental degradation and Shiite domination of Iraqi politics. I am not advocating show trials. If there is legitimate evidence of wrong doing by members of the W. Bush administration, especially war crimes and graft associated with the Iraq occupation, then they should be prosecuted. At the very least, the next Democratic administration ought to be able to expose and publicize the war crimes and corruption perpetrated at the highes levels of the W. Bush government.

Posted by: Brojo on September 12, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Dems may not have the votes to defund the war, but I sure hope they're at least thinking hard about how to keep Republicans from pinning the blame on them for its inevitable ghastly conclusion.

Assuming they don't end up actually deserving blame.

Posted by: Brian on September 12, 2007 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

"The '75 recession being the greatest???????"

I meant it was the worst up until that time (1976).

Posted by: SPR on September 12, 2007 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

I think the Dem Senators should start the clarification NOW. Pass bills that illuminate how bush hid info, with a clear stoppage. Dare him to sign it. Pass bills that close loopholes. Throw them at bush as if he's so much White House lawn chocolate.
The Dem pres candidates then spin off that action.
Then, as the clarity sets in, the candidates get more and more specific, educating the American population about the lousy set of choices bush has left his successor. Some candidates may go as far as to explain how bush may have done this boxing-in on purpose.

Then the new Den Prez speaks directly to the American people, clearly and strongly showing the mess. Lay it on strong on the Republicans. Tear them a new one in the first week, but close the same speech with a plan for working together. Throw them a very public bone, in front of everyone, then come back in one week with plans. With or without the Repubs, but duly noted.
The American People will but it.

Posted by: Richard W. Crews on September 12, 2007 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Previous post : The American People will buy it.

Posted by: Richard W. Crews on September 12, 2007 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

The thing is, if a Democratic President doesn't withdraw the troops and stays there for an indeterminite time, the war then becomes the Republican/Democrat war in Iraq for the histroy books and the Dems will be equally blamed - even though in reality it's been all Bush. They HAVE to get out.

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