Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Democratic Dinosaurs in D.C. and is that an Elephant in my soup?

Oh, the animals are messing everything up, as usual. Time to break the mold(y) models and do more than just rattle the cages. Anna Huffington at her blog gives it her best shot, however, and may stir the Masters up, but can we expect change that means what it really means, or more of the same old, same old?

Here's the opening excerpt, and link to read the entire article:

read more digg story

With each passing day, Washington, D.C. is turning into the Land That Time Forgot.
While the rest of the country is dealing with the here and now -- exemplified by Bush's puny approval ratings and this new poll showing rural voters turning against the GOP's handling of Iraq -- the Beltway's Democratic dinosaurs are acting like it's 2002. For them, Bush still has credibility on Iraq, Democrats still need to tread lightly in opposing the war for fear of alienating red state and swing voters, and Iraq is still a right vs left issue.
The latest proof that Tyrannosaurus Democrat is not an extinct species comes in the fossilized thinking of Stuart Rothenberg, editor of The Rothenberg Political Report. Writing in Roll Call, the Cro-Magnon pundit waxed ecstatic over Congressional Democrats' handling of the war funding issue, spinning the Dems' capitulation as having "played the issue like a Stradivarius," and proclaiming: "From a purely political point of view, Democrats had their cake and ate it too."
Rothenberg's piece is so confounding, it might have been written by David Chase. But the screen abruptly going to black would be preferable to a mindset that completely and totally (and even gleefully) buys into the Republican framing on the war -- namely, that pushing to bring the troops home is somehow not supporting the troops.
This sclerotic framing is wrong on every level: moral, strategic, and psychological.
You want a snapshot of immorality in action? Look no further than this bloodless analysis of the ultimate political question of life and death as nothing more than a question of tactics. "Why take a chance alienating swing voters," ask Rothenberg, "when the party already made its point by sending the president a deadline bill that he voted?" How about because a deadline bill is the right bill for the country -- and without it there will be hundreds more dead young Americans, and a less safe future for our children?
Instead, Rothenberg lauds the spineless positioning that led Democrats to defeat in 2000, 2002, and 2004: "The Democratic House and Senate leaders wisely played things safe by allowing a bill to pass that Bush could sign." Memo to Democrats interested in winning in 2008: from now until the next Election Day, do not use the words "wisely" and "play things safe" in the same sentence. Or paragraph. Or even the same speech.
Unfortunately, Rothenberg's timorous, realpolitik rationalization for giving the president another book of blank checks on Iraq has been adopted -- along with the Republicans' "support the troops" framing -- by many in Congress, including heretofore anti-war stalwarts Carl Levin, Jim Webb and Jack Murtha. All three voted for the war spending bill, and all offered some variation of Webb's claim, "I find myself unable to vote against a measure that is necessary to fund our troops who are now in harm's way."
But even putting morality aside and looking at things just from what Rothenberg calls "a purely political point of view," his analysis is deeply flawed. The truth is that while the punditocracy and the consulting class continue to search for electoral treasure using badly outdated red state/blue state maps, the country has changed. Radically. Especially when it comes to Iraq.

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