Peace, Love, and Rock-n-Roll from a proud Lefty, Liberal, Socialist Hippie

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Not Her War?

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


Tahoma Activist said...

Hallelujah, brother! Now if only Mark Wilson had agreed with us, maybe this Primary would be alittle more relevant. Sadly, we'll have to hope that Democrats just seeing Hong Tran's name for the first time will see her as the only choice for an anti-war vote.

When Cantwell wins the Primary, are you going to support her in the General? I'm pretty sure I plan to vote for Dixon, or at least to campaign for him. I just can't accept our Democratic Senator continuing to play nice with fascists.

CitizenSteve said...

Well said Chad.
Come November the choice on the ballot will be between (R) and (D). Cantwell (if she's the Democratic candidate) will definitely get my vote in November. I won't be making any Naderesque gestures that help the Republicans! In the meantime there's no reason we (Progressive Democrats) shouldn't let Maria know we don't support her stance on the Occupation of Iraq. The "war" is over (Mission Accomplished) and the Occupation is a Failure. I can forgive Maria for running with the herd and voting for war, but I can't give her unconditional support while she doesn't oppose Bush's deadly Iraq un-policy.

Carol Cates said...

I'm tired of hearing the doomsday threat concerning what might happen if anyone dares to question a Democratic incumbent on any issue, but the worst is from those who say that the serious votes--and what is more serious than voting to kill others in an unjust war?--are the most important to remain quiet about.

Senator Cantwell will never admit that her vote for the Iraq War was a huge mistake because she will never believe that it was.

J Leonard said...

If both Cantwell and McGavick are

• Pro-Choice

• Pro-Iraq War

• Pro-Estate Tax Elimination

• Pro-Outsourcing Jobs


• Pro-No Impeachment

• Pro-Big Pentagon Budgets

• Pro-Bush Appointees

• Pro-Tighter Bankruptcy Laws

• Pro-Tort "Reform"

• etc.

and both have NO PLAN for:

• Universal Health Care

• Immigration Reform

• Repealing the Patriot Act

why should the public bother to even vote in the General election?

The only difference that I can see is that one is a "Demobrat" who is pro-environment and the other is a "Republican" who is anti-enronment?

Both are moderate, centrists.

The polls are looking closer and closer.
Look for another close recount!!

The Democrats could lose this Senate seat.

Steve Zemke said...

I don't question your right to question Cantwell's policy decisions and votes. The primary is a good time to do that. Undfortunately there are not any viable alternatives to Cantwell running in the primary or the General election.

Mark Wilson had the courage to speak out but he did not get enough support from the progressive community such as it is to back him up. Some people were big on words supporting him but most didn't open their checkbooks to make his campaign viable. He says he raised less tham\n $40,000 and was broke.

One has to pick and choose your battles. Attacking Cantwell may make you feel good but if you have no viable candidate and help to elect another Republican Senator to Congress you have only made things worse.

Helping support Darcy Burner and Peter Goldmark in their races for Congress will have a more significant impact on bringing troops home than raging against Cantwell at this time.

And how about some raging against her Republican opponent McGavick - he's just going to support Bush. Cantwell is responding to efforts to bring troops home, give yourself some credit but look at the bigger picture.

Chad Shue said...

While I certainly endorse the option of voting for Hong Tran (or even witholding your vote completely) at the primary, I believe I have stated my position pretty clearly when it comes to voting for the Democrat in November. As it stands, the Greens have yet to show that they can generate better than single digit support in a statewide race. I believe that is because they truly have not done the "off-season" work of building the kind of infrastructure you need to win elections. As bad as we may perceive Cantwell to be, awarding this seat to a republican is simply unacceptable.

citizensteve and Carol, it is refreshing to read others say what I have been trying to get others to understand since the "no regrets" statement. Cantwell believes that she cast the correct vote - not for the reasons Bush gave, but because she strongly supported regime change, whatever the cost. Again, the only complaint she seems to have is that Bush has totally bungled the job.

j leonard, you illustrate perfectly the reason why this will be a "one issue race." If caribou could only vote.......

Mr. Zemke, welcome to the Left Shue. I realize that you are not questioning anyone's "right" to challenge Cantwell's recod. Nevertheless, you continue to suggest that those who do so may be responsible for her defeat in November. You say, "One has to pick and choose your battles. Attacking Cantwell may make you feel good but if you have no viable candidate and help to elect another Republican Senator to Congress you have only made things worse." I disagree.

I believe that I have an obligation to keep the pressure on Senator Cantwell because too many (as Carol Cates points out) have decided it is "safer" to sweep these important issues under the rug "for now." As far as I am concerned, it is way too early for that. Maria needs to see whatever dissent there is during the primary so the she will know that the next six years will not be a free pass. As for taking on Mini-Slade, I have every intention of working against him during the general but (as J. Leonard has pointed out) Cantwell's position and votes has not made that job very easy. All I will have to work on is ANWR and the nuances that separate him from Maria on Choice, Trade, Foreign Policy, Pentagon Budgets, and the rest.

Chad (The Left) Shue