So Steve Zemke over at Majority Rules Blog has issued that tried and failed challenge of the DLC to stay under Karl Rove’s radar lest we Washington Democrats catch his attention. Many of you may remember during the 2004 caucus/primary season (shortly after Howard Dean had surged into what was considered “front runner” status) when Karl Rove was quoted as “taunting” the Democrats by saying, “We want him.” as if to imply the guy who had stirred the masses with his constant onslaught against Bush policy and the Democratic co-conspirators would be our weakest challenger. This sent the DLC into a frenzy and the DNC campaign to ”stop Dean” went into full swing. How well did that work out for us?
So what is Zemke’s post based on? He opens,
”Of course! If Karl Rove wanted to misdirect progressive Democrats away from the national strategy of taking control of the U.S. Senate and/or House, what better way than to have the Democrats fighting each other over, of all things, Bush's never ending War in Iraq.
It's time for those Democrats who question Senator Cantwell's position on Iraq to realize that Iraq is not her war. She did not start it but she is part of the dialogue looking for a solution. She is a member of a minority party. Republicans run Washington, not Senator Cantwell or any other Democrat.”
Where does Steve direct our attention for this analysis? He sends us to that noted republican shill Eleanor Clift and one of her enlightening commentaries done for MSNBC/Newsweek. If you bother to read the whole piece you will note that there is also insightful observation from recognized DLC strategist, Matt Bennett of Third Way, a Democratic centrist group. Well, as they say, it pays to know what the enemy knows.
So for the second time in this campaign season I have heard the “It’s not our war” strategy.
There are many problems with your strategy Steve. In my opening paragraph I have listed one but let’s examine a couple more. You will never win the “It’s not our (her) war” argument. Senators vote Steve. They have a record. No one put a gun to Cantwell’s head and said “Vote for this or else.” Here is the language that Senator Cantwell voted for:
“AUTHORIZATION- The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to--
(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and
(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.”
There is nothing ambiguous about that language. This authorizes the President, and the President ALONE, to determine the use of military force. It says, ‘If you choose to invade, we stand behind you – you have our blessing’. Now while you would have us believe that Senator Cantwell has no responsibility for the invasion and subsequent – ongoing – occupation of Iraq, the senator herself has repeatedly taken responsibility for that vote with its consequences and has continued to express her lack of regret for it. By the way, sharing Mini-Slade McGavick's views on Iraq: "The U.S. cannot retreat from the War on Terror or countries like Iraq will turn into the worst hotbeds of terror the world has ever witnessed." and "U.S. forces will come home from Iraq when the job is finished. Setting a timetable for troop pullout gives the advantage to America's terrorist enemies." only succeeds in showing how similar he and Cantwell are on the issue - not a winning strategy.
Perhaps the weakest part of your strategy, however, is the suggestion that somehow the very act of challenging our candidates on their issues and positions during a primary campaign weakens us in a general election. I would turn this back to you and say that, by attempting to stifle a real democratic exchange you only succeed in further alienating those members of the party who feel that their views and opinions are not valued by the party. I would say to you that this will only succeed in driving even more potential Democratic voters into the arms of the 3rd parties or simply cause them to stay home.
Now, you may not be a part of the majority opinion in the country but that opinion is that OUR invasion of Iraq has not been worth the price in blood and treasure and, therefore, was the wrong action for OUR government to pursue. Recent polls in this state indicate that some 59% want us to leave that country on a time frame very similar to the one that Senators Feingold and Kerry just presented to the Senate. Senator Cantwell voted against that resolution. Cantwell accepts responsibility for her vote to authorize the invasion which was also opposed by the majority in this state at the time. We, as Democratic voters have the right and obligation to ask her when she will decide to represent the majority of her constituents on this vital issue.
Finally, the last time I checked, Karl Rove was not a registered voter in this state. If you don’t have the anatomy to face down Karl Rove, don’t try to stop the rest of us from asking Senator Cantwell to do it.
Chad (The Left) Shue