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Tilting at Windmills

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September 25, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

FEEL THE LOVE....Bill Sammon talks to a "senior White House official" for his new book, The Evangelical President, and gets an early read on how the GOP plans to react after they lose the 2008 election:

Democrats understand the negative consequences of moving too quickly to reverse Bush's Iraq policy [he said]. The official noted that in the wake of Vietnam, anti-war Democrats "suffered for 20-some-odd years because they were identified as the party, when it came to national security, of being weak."

...."One of two things will happen if a Democrat gets elected president," he said. "They will either have to withdraw U.S. troops in order to remain true to the rhetoric — in which case, any consequences in the aftermath fall on their heads. Or they have to break their word, in which case they encourage fratricide on the left of their party. Now that's a thorny issue to work through."

Yes indeedy. If Iraq fails, all the consequences will fall directly on Democratic heads. Democratic heads. With a capital D. You can almost feel the knife twisting. Do you think he managed to deliver that line to Sammon with a straight face?

Kevin Drum 12:33 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (65)

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Comments

OK, now we know the plan. The question is: are we going to let it happen that way? Probably.

Posted by: Virginia on September 25, 2007 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Then help us figure out how to stop it.

Posted by: MNPundit on September 25, 2007 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

You mock, Kevin, but of course that's true.

In other news, John Kerry is a chickenhawk and GWB a military hero!

Posted by: gussie on September 25, 2007 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, I believe he could say that with a straight face. Considering how well the Republicans have been able to play the patriotic "support-the-troops, and that includest dissing our general" card, I think the odds are better than even that they will pull it off.

Posted by: bigTom on September 25, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

That's exactly what the Republicans want, to let the blame fall on the Democrats. Then they can, like the Nazis, scream about the "stab in the back" that cost America the (already long since lost) war.

Not funny, Kevin. It worked before...

Posted by: Susan on September 25, 2007 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Do you think he managed to deliver that line to Sammon with a straight face?

Why would Karl bother to keep a straight face in a background chat with soul brother Sammon (who is, BTW, perhap the most brainwashed-looking person I've ever seen)?

Posted by: penalcolony on September 25, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

No, he said it with a laugh, because he knows it will work. That's the obvious strategy, and the press and the Liebercrats will play right along. We need to shake up the Democrats bid time in the primaries next year, or it will work.

Posted by: jussumbody on September 25, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

I think you're too quick to jump to the conclusion Bush and Petraeus's Iraq policies are unpopular. A recent Washington Post poll indicated a majority of the American people support it while only a third are against it. You can look at the poll at tinyurl.com/yo8ekr.

"GOP Senate offices circulated the results of a Gallup poll released this week that showed 54 percent of those surveyed think Petraeus's plan for removing troops is the right pace, or even too quick. One-third of those surveyed viewed the withdrawal as moving too slowly."

Posted by: Al on September 25, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

The 'consequences in the aftermath' will not be much of a surprise. We already have a pretty good idea what they'll be.

Now is the time to make sure everyone understands that those consequences should be attributed to the party that started all this.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on September 25, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

You can almost feel the Dolchstoss.

Fixed it for you.

The official noted that in the wake of Vietnam, anti-war Democrats "suffered for 20-some-odd years because they were identified as the party, when it came to national security, of being weak."

What s/he means is that the GOP embarked on a decades-long branding effort to portray itself as strong on national security.

Unfortunately, Bush and his incompetent cabal of neocons have ruined it, along with America's national security itself.

Yes, yes, we know the GOP will blame the disaster in Iraq on the Democrats. We've seen the dishonest GOP apologists -- but I repeat myself -- who post here, like "ex-liberal," minion and the rest of that rancid crew, preparing the ground for some time.

Interestingly, though, the fact that the GOP is preparing to blame the disaster in Iraq on the Democrats means that deep down, they know it's a disaster, even if message discipline forbids them admitting it. But the American people know who's to blame -- they blame Bush, and quite rightly so.

This time, that dog won't hunt.

Posted by: Gregory on September 25, 2007 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Iraq will get better but Democrats will win anyway. The Republicans already screwed up enough for them to get blamed for it, too, even if things improve before Nov. '08.

Posted by: Swan on September 25, 2007 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

I think the Republicans are whistling in a graveyard, trying to keep the ghosts at bay. We have 18 months or so of Bushco to go, and 70% of the population want out of Iraq within two years.

So either things will continue to be awful, and the 70% will increase to 75% or 80% and the anger will grow stronger, in which case the Democrat will have a mandate to end the war and everyone will agree for the next 30 years that the Republicans are vicious idiots who can't be trusted with national security.

OR things in Iraq will simmer down a bit because the ethnic cleansing will have done its thing. In that case, the Republicans will want to take credit for their successful strategy. Then they won't be able to blame the Democrat for ending the war because ending the war will be a sign of success.

Posted by: PTate (back in MN, sigh) on September 25, 2007 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

All the terrible consequences of this war will be laid at the doorstep of the Democrats. Done deal. Bush is off the hook. Extending our presence there until after he left office assured that. Republicans must be dancing in glee over their prospects in 2010 and 2012.

Posted by: steve duncan on September 25, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't anyone remember how the last Bush administration did the same thing when they plopped US forces down in Somalia? Poppy Bush didn't have a clue about what the mission was going to be after his PR flacks had taken pictures of the troops storming ashore and, frankly, didn't seem to care. He knew he was leaving in seven weeks and that Bill Clinton was going to be left with the tar baby.

That one paid big dividends when the notorious, faux outrage "Black Hawk Down" incident occurred. I say "faux outrage" because, despite our officers' (does anyone believe them anymore) assertions that they had requested heavy equipment earlier to respond to potential incidents like the downing of the American Rangers, has anyone asked if the US Army actually had armormed vehicles which might have navigated in the close urban environment presented in Mogadishu? No, our brain dead MSM merely takes stenography from the officers protecting their own flanks without asking intelligent questions. So, after twelve years in power, the Publicans left the Army incapable of responding appropriately and they jumped on the chance to capitalize on their own incompetence. Sound familiar?

Posted by: PrahaPartizan on September 25, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

When did Sammon do the interview? Is this Rove, now a former senior White House official, or is it John Bolton?

Steve Duncan is right, especially if the subprime crisis/housing bubble implodes after the 2008 election.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on September 25, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

You can look at the poll at tinyurl.com/yo8ekr.

That's not a link to the poll

Posted by: Jason C. on September 25, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats should be pushing for the military to have a plan for withdrawal NOW so that we do not end up leaving as we went in: unprepared. Bush sees success on the horizon, so the only way he can oppose it is to say success is so far away, we need not concern ourselves with planning for that now. Our response is that we had plans drawn up for contingencies of invading Iraq, or a Russian invasion of Germany to be prepared. If he says he has a plan, we should insist on reviewing it because he can't be trusted to have a good one.

When we win, we need to tell the military to begin the draw down during the interim between the election and a Democrat taking office so it is already underway, at least rhetorically, before the swearing in.

Then, when we come to office, we should start the withdrawal in reality, if Bush prevents it from getting underway. At this point, I'd engage in the Bush strategy after the polarizing Bush v. Gore election: start bold and strong, and get the controversial stuff out of the way before the next election, during our "honeymoon". Once a withdrawal is seen as inevitable, the private companies will start to flee the country, so the "damage" will be underway long before we take the oath (our military has no obligation to cover their exit).

Will things explode? With the bully pulpit, we can emphasize the sectarian violence is simply continuing as it had under Bush -- it would be awfully hard to say things are worse than they are now. Even if they are, we could downplay it. The major consequences would already have occurred, or be continuing, as we move onto other business. Those consequences should be portrayed as "inevitable", and that they would have even been worse if we continued keeping a lid on things as Bush did when they did explode. And we should mock an "stabbed in the back" meme as the hilarity it is. This was Bush's war, and we started to leave with Bush's withdrawal plan when we took office. A Republican war, start to finish.

That way, we avoid Nixon's mistake of owning a Democratic failure by escalating and continuing a lost cause. The last helicopter out would not have damaged him as badly if he had prolonged the hemmorraging.

If Republicans want to run on us not having a plan for withdrawal, and staying, fine. Let them. If Bush refuses to have a cdntingency plan for getting out, as he failed to have on for the occupation, the better for us, especially with the Presidential candidate on board. If the Republican runs on withdrawing, then when should call it irresponsible not to have a plan. Either way, good for us.

If it's going to be bad -- and it will be -- then get it out of the way before we have any culpability. I think the media will be glad to be out of Iraq, too, and you won't have many cameramen staying bringing the gory details to our living rooms when the troops are leaving.

Posted by: Memekiller on September 25, 2007 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

That's not a link to the poll

"Al" posting in bad faith? You don't say!

Posted by: Gregory on September 25, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK
Then help us figure out how to stop it.

How is easy to understand, harder to get people to carry out: every Democratic politician visible on the national scene has to take every possible opportunity to express that the Bush War has virtually guaranteed disaster in the Middle East and that the big question for the US now is how many American soldiers are going to die drawing that disaster out in slow motion.

We know the picture the Right will try to paint with one voice, the only way to fight it is to get the alternative message out early and often.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 25, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

When we left Vietnam in public humiliation, Gerald Ford was president. It's true that he wasn't elected in 1976 but most people view that as the fall out from Watergate and Nixon pardon. The GOP more than held its own thereafter, and therefore, was not tarred with Vietnam. So please, tell me, what is the historical precedent for assuming that fallout from Iraqi withdrawal will be attributed to Democrats? Could not the fallout just as easily be, "God damn those Republicans for getting us there in the first place?" That's the subtext -- trying to preempt the true historical precedents, that is, the precedent fo Vietnam.

Posted by: Barbara on September 25, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Rudy Exploiting 9/11 With $9.11 Party

After all their ranting about Ahmandinejad and MoveOn, why is there such a deafening silence from the Right on Guiliani's exploitation of the 9/11 victims for partisan political gain?

Posted by: anonymous on September 25, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

If the new Democratic president withdraws from Iraq and displays the head of bin Laden on a pike, I doubt this cowardly Republican and Evangelical ploy will persuade the electorate Democrats are weak on national security.

The key for the next Democratic administration to counter this type of criticism will be to kill or capture bin Laden and to expose the W. Bush administration's corruption and war crimes in Iraq.

Posted by: Brojo on September 25, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

And a further thought: this assumes that the average American cares a whole lot about what happens in Iraq once American troops leave. We don't seem to be unduly exercised about Iraqi deaths at the present time, what makes us think we will care a whole lot more once the troops and the American press leave? And then of course, there's always the possibility that the resulting mess will, in fact, be no worse than what it is today. (No doubt however, these same Republicans who now show relentless optimism in the face of grim reality will do an about face and acknowledge just how grim the reality is without the slightest concern that it is no worse than it already was.)

Posted by: Barbara on September 25, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Remember what happened to those Blackwater contractors in Fallujah (our Grozny BTW)? That would be too good for Shrub and company.

Worst. President. Ever.

Posted by: JeffII on September 25, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

let's win the White House first and then worry about the consequences later. Hell, it worked for Bush didn't it? Twice!

Posted by: ny patriot on September 25, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

The way to foil this plot is for Congress to do EVERYTHING in its power to scale down troop presence now, before a Democratic president takes office. If we can scale Iraq down to around the presence that we have in, say, South Korea, then there's really no reason to pull out the remaining forces -- the US military can sustain a token force like that forever.

Posted by: Tom Veil on September 25, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

U.S. troops will no longer be stuck in the middle of a civil war? I doubt that any Democratic president will suffer much from that aftermath.

Posted by: Ringo on September 25, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Remember what Rove told the press about the polls prior to the 2006 elections? He said 'we've got our own numbers and they predict we'll win again'.
Rove and the GOP in general are full of shit. Rove is spouting hope, not logical outcomes. Logic suggests the country has had it up to the eyeballs with Bush, Rove, and the rest of the lying liars. The GOP will be decimated Nov. 11, 2008.

Posted by: Dilbert on September 25, 2007 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

All the terrible consequences of this war will be laid at the doorstep of the Democrats. Done deal. Bush is off the hook. Extending our presence there until after he left office assured that. Republicans must be dancing in glee over their prospects in 2010 and 2012.

Most Americans don't seem to think so, as of yet. Despite what the media and Republicans and political-defeatist Democrats keep trying to tell them they are thinking and despite their not being plugged into the blogosphere, a lot fo people weem to be able to figure out what's going on.

Posted by: Swan on September 25, 2007 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans could blame Iraq on Democrats with one hand tied behind thier back. I'll only be impressed if they blame Katrina on Democrats.

Posted by: reino on September 25, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "Yes indeedy. If Iraq fails, all the consequences will fall directly on Democratic heads. Democratic heads. With a capital D."

That's OK. Back in the 1930s, Republicans tried to blame Democrats for the Great Depression, and in the 1940s for World War II.

Then as now, while the American people might be ignorant, they're not stupid. And as they learn more and more the truth about what the Bush administration and the GZOP have perpetrated, I fully expect that, much like Americans did 75 years ago, today's citizens will vote accordingly.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 25, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Let's face facts. There basically exist two options for Democrats here, and the sooner progressives come to grips with them the better.

One, lose in 2008 and let a Republican deal with Iraq which, in the long run, will be worse for the country but better for the Democratic Party.

Two, win in 2008 and continue the war.

This Congress is not going to de-fund the war nor is its successor Congress, particularly if/when there is a Democrat in the White House -- there will be a powerful incentive for papering over differences in the name of party unity, in order to "prove" that Democrats run the country better than Republicans.

And primary challenges won't change that, except to force Democratic incumbents to squander a lot of campaign money which will simply level the playing field for Republicans in the general election. An intra-D bloodbath only helps R's.

Once elected, Hillary Clinton will not, under almost any conceivable set of circumstances, withdraw from Iraq -- are you kidding?

First female president of the US of A and she "retreats" from "Islamo-fascism"? First Democratic president in the post-9/11 era, and she abandons the "Central Front in the War on Tarrah?"

Less than a snowball's chance in hell.

Hillary's mission is going to be proving herself worthy of elevation to the pantheon of pantheon of female war-makers like Maggie and Golda and Benazir.

Hillary in 08 = 4 more years of the past 8 years.

Posted by: Hemlock for Gadflies on September 25, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

That's not a link to the poll

No, it wasn't a link to the poll. It was a link to the news story mentioning the poll, and where the quote comes from.

Posted by: harry on September 25, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK
Hillary's mission is going to be proving herself worthy of elevation to the pantheon of pantheon of female war-makers like Maggie and Golda and Benazir.

Yep. And then we won't have another female candidate for President who has a snowball's chance in hell of winning either the nomination or election until Zombie Shirley Chisholm rises from the grave.

Posted by: kenga on September 25, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK
First female president of the US of A and she "retreats" from "Islamo-fascism"? First Democratic president in the post-9/11 era, and she abandons the "Central Front in the War on Tarrah?"

After thinking about this briefly, I realized that my earlier scenario is avoidable, but only if she becomes the second President named Clinton to be impeached, and the first to be convicted.
This assumes that progressives will have had made significant inroads in 2008 and 2010 in Congress, knocking out a number of centrist and/or DLC Democratic Representatives and Senators.

Posted by: kenga on September 25, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Then as now, while the American people might be ignorant, they're not stupid. Posted by: Donald from Hawaii

Aloha Donald,

Actually, approximately 50% of the American public is not just stupid, but standing in the middle of a football field holding a 12' long copper rod during an electrical storm stupid. They must be or approximately 50% of them wouldn't have voted for Bush, twice.

Approximately 50% of the American public that votes is definitely in the "Fool some of the people all of the time" category. Otherwise, Bush would have been impeached before his first term was up.

Then there is the approximately 15% who are just plain evil. This would be your registered Republicans.

Many Mahalos,

Jeff

Posted by: JeffII on September 25, 2007 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

I have this incredible, revolutionary, counterintuitive idea.

My proposal is that the Democrats, when they come to power in 2008, should do exactly what the American people elected them to do and pull forthwith out of Iraq.

My incredible, revolutionary, counterintuitive idea is that doing so will actually make them popular with the American people, and my corollary idea is that failing to do so will likely make them pretty unpopular.

I know it's all crazy. But what can I say? That's just how I am.

Posted by: frankly0 on September 25, 2007 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Hemlock is spot-on about what will happen if Hillary is elected. Yet, too many bloggers still enable too many Democrats by failure to give more space to third-party options where available.

(Of course, continuing to say this in 2004 was part of what got me booted from Kos.)

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on September 25, 2007 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

"If Iraq fails, all the consequences will fall directly on Democratic heads."

No, silly, all the consequences will fall directly on DEMOCRAT heads. Didn't you get the memo?

Posted by: Cal Gal on September 25, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

kenga's faith in the ability of progressives to "knock out a number of centrist and/or DLC Democratic Representatives and Senators" is admirable but misplaced.

There aren't enough strong-progressive votes to overcome incumbency advantages except at the margins, and most Democrats, when forced to choose, will choose the DLC/centrist Democrat on the logic that any D is better than any R, and running progressive D's in most -- I said MOST -- congressional districts will be functionally equivalent to a contest between 2 R's and no D.

Progressives who claim that they will withhold their votes rather than vote for the DLC/centrist Dems who will inevitably be next year's candidates are roughly the same as all the Democrats who said they'd move to Canada if W won re-election.

They didn't, and they won't.

And as for the few netroots-approved Dems that might get elected, don't hold your breath for them getting any committee assignments that matter in the context of any of the war(s).

Posted by: Hemlock for Gadflies on September 25, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

franklyO, I have a question for you -- if your position is that elected officials should do what they are elected to do, then would you agree that the American people re-elected George W. Bush to continue to prosecute the war in Iraq? In which case, we're all un-democratic for demanding that he stop?

Posted by: Hemlock for Gadflies on September 25, 2007 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

My incredible, revolutionary, counterintuitive idea is that doing so will actually make them popular with the American people, and my corollary idea is that failing to do so will likely make them pretty unpopular. Posted by: frankly0

Frank,

The American public may make all the right bleating noises when the nice people from Roper, Harris, et al call, but the fact of the matter is that probably 90% of us are in no way directly affected by the war and have not been inconvenienced by it to the degree necessary to press home the reality that it's really fucking us up in the long run. If things were otherwise, as I contend above with Donald, we wouldn't have had two terms of Bush and probably 80% of congress would have turned over during the 2004 and 2006 elections, as only a handful of congress opposed the war with Iraq from the beginning.

Posted by: JeffII on September 25, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

If Iraq fails, all the consequences will fall directly on Democratic heads.

Probably true if one considers our Dems' recent track record of being feckless, weak, whiny, spineless fools that continue to get played by the weakest, worst President in US history, can't seem to play the political game with Congressional Repugs nor get their message out.

Posted by: ckelly on September 25, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Yes indeedy. If Iraq fails, all the consequences will fall directly on Democratic heads.

Don't worry, John Stewart wont let that happen...

Posted by: elmo on September 25, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

franklyO, I have a question for you -- if your position is that elected officials should do what they are elected to do, then would you agree that the American people re-elected George W. Bush to continue to prosecute the war in Iraq? In which case, we're all un-democratic for demanding that he stop?

All I'm saying is that if Democrats are worried about political consequences, how about doing the popular thing? How about the bad consequences of doing the unpopular thing?

And as for the notion that suddenly getting out of Iraq is going to prove unpopular right after it proved popular, I can only say that that looks to be nowhere in prospect. In 2006, voters threw Republicans out of office because they wanted to stay the course. In 2008, two years later, I'm guessing that sentiment is going to come back with a vengeance. Why should that sentiment suddenly change after we pull out of Iraq?

Except for Democrats whining and wringing their hands about how the Republicans will manage to find a way to demonize them if we pull out of Iraq, I can't imagine why Democrats should think twice about what they should do about Iraq once elected. The fact is, Republicans have already pulled every last stunt they could in order to demonize the Democrats, without the smallest effect. Why imagine they will be able to do the least thing after we pull out of Iraq?

Sure, they'll try to pull the "stab in the back" shit. But only a wuss would imagine that they would have any chance at winning that game.

What I find ironic is that many of the same Democrats who talk themselves blue in the face about "fighting back" against the Republicans somehow imagine that the Republicans have superhuman powers of political persuasion, and go off in a corner cowering before their might.

Posted by: frankly0 on September 25, 2007 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Am I the only one who remembers the post-Vietnam blame game? Kennedy/Johnson got us into Vietnam and Nixon got us out; that's how it happened. Who remembers differently? In what alternate universe are the Dems blamed for losing the war? Are there people who actually believe this? Hell, the peace movement was no friendlier to the Dems than it was to the Repugs. They were both despised. What beat America in Vietnam wasn't domestic dissent; it was 200 North Vietnamese combat battalions.

Posted by: buddy66 on September 25, 2007 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Am I the only one who remembers the post-Vietnam blame game?

Are you kidding? The Republicans are still using the very same playbook...

Posted by: Gregory on September 25, 2007 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Look, fellow Democrats, if you want to project that you are a party with the right ideas and the right policies and represent the true interests of the American people, ACT THE FUCKING PART.

DON'T worry about how the Republicans are going to destroy you if you aren't super-duper careful about how you handle their attacks. DON'T worry and fill yourselves with doom and gloom about the "stab in the back" counterattack. Act as if you are doing the right thing, and that is that.

Really, isn't it a basic of salesmanship that you learn to project confidence? And isn't the best way to project that confidence by actually being confident?

Posted by: frankly0 on September 25, 2007 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

*If* Iraq fails?

What year are these guys in?

Posted by: Horatio Parker on September 25, 2007 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Although I'm not a big Hillary fan and will not vote for her in the primary, I have to admit my gut instinct that she would be the best of the Dem candidates to get the Democrats thorough this one with a minimum of damage.

Posted by: Virginia on September 25, 2007 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

display the head of bin Laden on a pike

All any Democratic president has to do is kill or capture bin Laden and scold the Republicans for doing nothing to bring the 9/11 mastermind to justice to counter any blame for the Iraqi debacle.

Accusing the Republicans of being repressed homosexuals who are more interested in finding sexual partners in pubic bathrooms than finding bin Laden will shut them up.

Posted by: Brojo on September 25, 2007 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

No, Gregory, I'm not kidding.

I don't remember the GOP blaming the Dems for losing the Vietnam war after Nixon shut it down. How in hell could they? The entire country pretty much clammed up after a sigh of collective guilt and resignation. Any firebreathing Win The War lunatics were too few to count or remember. Blaming the Dems came twenty years later, as did the Nazi blaming of the Jews. Of course the ever-resourceful GOP slander machine is starting now because Iraq is already lost and they know it. I admire their adroitness as much as I despise their vileness.

Posted by: buddy66 on September 25, 2007 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Hot potato, hot potato.

Posted by: Luther on September 25, 2007 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

buddy66,

Twenty years is a little long - Sir Ronny started declaring Nam a Noble War, early in the 80s.

Funny thing about the Repugs blaming the Democratic Party for being soft on defense - They are the same Repugs who used to say that wars only started under Democratic Presidents. And who, presently is the bellicose about going to war with Iran? - BillO, was salivating last evening about the need to stop Iran from controlling oil shipping and cutting off our supplies.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 25, 2007 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

The post-Vietnam "Democratic debacle" is a false analogy for many reasons. ( In particular, there was no such debacle. The Democrats remained fat and happy, in control of both houses of Congress until 1994, a full 20 years after Vietnam's fall).


However, there's a more important point. The post-Vietnam Democrats did respond to the guerrilla warfare defeat in Vietnam by opposing all conventional warfare opposition to the Soviet Union, which was hysterical and ridiculous. This did catch up with them and gave rise to the "Vietnam debacle" myth.

In contrast, the Republican essentially have been using the conventional victory in the Gulf War I as a grounds to trumpet the military and to engage in all sorts of guerrilla wars. This also is hysterical and ridiculous.

Just as it took twenty years of complete antiwar hysteria to catch up with the Democrats, it will take a while for rampant militarism to catch up with the Republicans. But Gulf War I was more than sixteen years ago now.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on September 25, 2007 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK
Although I'm not a big Hillary fan and will not vote for her in the primary, I have to admit my gut instinct that she would be the best of the Dem candidates to get the Democrats thorough this one with a minimum of damage.

Well, she's certainly the Democrat most likely to keep the US with substantial forces in Iraq until a Republican is elected in 2012, which I suppose is one way of blunting any attack premised on blaming the Democrats for the aftermath of withdrawal.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 25, 2007 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Um, how about pulling out of Iraq ASAP because it's the right thing to do, regardless of whether there's an electoral price to be paid?
Just a thought.

Posted by: beejeez on September 25, 2007 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

"...The entire country pretty much clammed up after a sigh of collective guilt and resignation. Any firebreathing Win The War lunatics were too few to count or remember. Blaming the Dems came twenty years later, as did the Nazi blaming of the Jews. Of course the ever-resourceful GOP slander machine is starting now because Iraq is already lost and they know it..."
Posted by: buddy66 on September 25, 2007 at 4:59 PM
-----
Yes, that is quite true. The last of the pro-war die-hards I heard arguing at my parent's poker parties was around 1970. By then it was clear we were on our way out. We *were* withdrawing troops pretty quickly at that time. I also agree with others above that the Democrats are wasting their time worrying about this-just do the right thing. Is that so tough for them? One would think that would GET them votes, you know, a little integrity showing here and there?

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on September 25, 2007 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

One thing to keep in mind about this blame game is that far from being mere "lapdogs" the media is increasingly a part of the Republican Party. They will make sure that no one forgets that the Dems "lost" Iraq and that no one remembers how we got there in the first place.

Posted by: beb on September 25, 2007 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

"The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple."

--Oscar Wilde

Posted by: elmo on September 25, 2007 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

But, you realize they can always say that their brilliant plan (attacking Iraq and bringing democracy to the Middle East) "could've" worked! So Democrats are still the real losers and weak on defense! (Gasp!) To which I reply, sure "maybe" their plan could've worked...
Maybe.

Maybe, if they didn't make such an on-its-face bullshit argument to the whole world about Iraq's Imminent Danger™.

Maybe, if they hadn't fired the Iraqi military and Baathists, instantly making all the guns, money and power in the country our sworn enemies.

Maybe, if they hadn't hired AEI/Heritage Foundation nincompoops to run Iraq's new economy. You know, the one where you consider firing half of the people in order to make it more attractive to sell to foreign corporations.

Maybe, if they asked the country for a military draft so that we could have enough troops to pull of a major foreign occupation.

Maybe, if straining our military to absurd limits (considering that this was a war of choice -- see Republicans are pro-choice, when it comes to killing breathing humans), like extending tours for our National Guard, actually made us one iota more secure.

Maybe, if they took the occupation seriously from the get-go. Considering that the neo-cons had been wishing for this since the early or mid 90s, you might think they had some strategy to deal with the fact that Iraq would factionalize and that Iraqis would turn to their imams once Saddam was out of power -- you would think they would have had more to say than the Bushian "Git Saddam! He's the Boogie Man!!!"

Maybe, if they showed the world they were serious about fighting terrorism by making bin Laden a more important target than Saddam Hussein -- at least until they got bin Laden.

Maybe, if they showed they were willing to back up their war by actually funding it, not just putting the entire thing on the deficit. You know, paid for in the budget with either tax increases or spending cuts or repealing tax breaks.

Maybe, if they did absolutely everything they did differently, from square one. Like listen to Richard Clarke and the people from the Clinton administration when they tell them that their biggest security concern is al qaeda. Maybe the preceding president actually knew a little something!!! But no, they believed their own demonization to the full. They believed their own lies, and they knew they were lying. Don't ask me how that works.

They believe that everything thing is the Democrats, or liberals, fault -- and they believe in the Boogie Man. They are children that need a timeout (not to get into the whole spanking issue, but they need that, too) - straight to retirement.

Same for the beltway pundits who have taken them seriously for at least 10 years too many!

Posted by: mroberts on September 25, 2007 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

How disheartening to see so many liberals embrace the "This can only be good for Republicans" media mantra.

You know sometimes, there really truly are things that are bad for Republicans. This is one of them.

Posted by: Ferruge on September 25, 2007 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK
Interestingly, though, the fact that the GOP is preparing to blame the disaster in Iraq on the Democrats means that deep down, they know it's a disaster, even if message discipline forbids them admitting it.

Posted by: Gregory on September 25, 2007 at 1:00 PM


No... "deep down" the Republicans may know it's a snafu. But if the next (Democratic) Administration pulls out of Iraq precipitously, THEN it'll be a disaster (or more precisely: fubar).

The blame for the mismanagement of the beginning of the war may still belong to Bush, but the blame for the SNAFU -> FUBAR escalation and the sheer catastrophe that happens afterward will rest squarely on the Democrats. As it will have been deserved.

Posted by: J.C. on September 26, 2007 at 2:26 AM | PERMALINK

donald in hawaii: Then as now, while the American people might be ignorant, they're not stupid. Posted by: Donald from Hawaii


well......

"This White House thinks its base is stupid..."

- Conservative Peggy Noonan 6/1/2007

do tell...

Posted by: mr. irony on September 26, 2007 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

Wouldn't that be the knife falling on Democrat heads?

Posted by: Nils on September 26, 2007 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK
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