Chris Bowers writes:
If our vote totals on key pieces of legislation are actually going backward in Congress, then no one in the Democratic field is successfully leading on Iraq in Congress. Good leadership isn’t just about proposing legislation (which all current members of Congress have done), sending out press releases announcing how you will vote beforehand (which a couple of candidates did this time), exhorting your colleagues in Congress to vote a certain way (which at least Dodd has done among current members of Congress running for President), and then casting the right votes (which pretty much everyone does now, even though none of the Senators running for President did so last year). Successful leadership is actually causing the debate to bend in your direction, and gathering support where none previously existed. According to this criteria, when it comes to the impact of the 2008 Presidential field on the Iraq fight in Congress, no one has done that. To varying degrees, they all have tried-or at least made it look like they were trying-but no one has succeeded.
I think that is a fair criteria for all of us. And by that criteria, I think it is fair to say that the leaders of the Netroots have utterly failed. It is ironic that Bowers criticizes people like Chris Dodd (for his post is really a pushback against Dodd’s little surge in the Daily Kos straw poll while his preferred candidate, Bill Richardson, had a meltdown) for their efforts in Congress without even considering his own failures and that of the other leading Netroots lights, like Move On. Interesting use of blinders there. More.
Over at daily kos, the top rated diary says:
The MoveOn ad worked. It worked very well, indeed. That’s what has them so scared and angry.
Let’s look at the results that MoveOn.org accomplished with their ad. MoveOn says that their $142,000+ expenditure yielded them something on the order ofb $500,000 in contributions in just one day. Measured simply on the financials, the ad was a good move by MoveOn.org.
It was a good move FOR Move On apparently. Played for suckers yet again. As for Move On’s success in the Iraq debate in Congress, see Bowers. Move On’s support for the Iraq Capitulation bill in the Spring and its strategy of ratcheting up the pressure on REPUBLICANS in the Summer have been abject failures. But no matter, it ran a stupid ad, became fodder for the GOP, and then raised a lot of money. Very successful, in its way, has been Move On. Barnum knew what he was talking about.
Consider however, if the activists had joined Feingold, Reid, Dodd and the Out of Iraq Caucus in adopting and agitating for the only strategy that can work on Iraq – the not funding strategy. Suppose we had jointly and tirelessly urged our representatives, from the begining of the year, to sign the pledge?
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to inform you that we will only support appropriating additional funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office.
More than 3,600 of our brave soldiers have died in Iraq. More than 26,000 have been seriously wounded. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed or injured in the hostilities and more than 4 million have been displaced from their homes. Furthermore, this conflict has degenerated into a sectarian civil war and U.S. taxpayers have paid more than $500 billion, despite assurances that you and your key advisors gave our nation at the time you ordered the invasion in March, 2003 that this military intervention would cost far less and be paid from Iraqi oil revenues.
We agree with a clear and growing majority of the American people who are opposed to continued, open-ended U.S. military operations in Iraq, and believe it is unwise and unacceptable for you to continue to unilaterally impose these staggering costs and the soaring debt on Americans currently and for generations to come. . .
Where might we be on this fight? Sadly, we did not. We have not led on this issue. The Netroots has been an utter failure this year.