Iraq: Not The President

Ezra Klein wrote a great piece taking apart the very silly Roger Cohen's lament that “liberal hawks” like himself are misunderstood. They are NOT neocons Cohen insists. Ezra responded:

This shouldn't be necessary to say, but increasingly, it seems like the only point worth making to the commentariat. American politics isn't about you. It's not about your ideas, or your personal vision of the world, or your purity. . . . It is the impact of your ideas, and your commentary, that matters. . . . Here's why: Roger Cohen is not president. George W. Bush is. And until Roger Cohen's foreign policy vision integrates itself with an understanding of American power, and how ideas interact with the current administration, he is, effectively, a neoconservative, or, worse, an enabler of the neoconservatives who's able to advocate for their policy agenda without needing to answer for their failures.

(Emphasis supplied.) Great stuff. But it is worth asking this question – are progressive pundits, progressive blogs, and progressive activists considering  how their “ideas interact with the current administration?” I think not. There is precious little discussion from most about the fact that the only way to stop the Bush Administration's Iraq Debacle is to not fund it after a date certain. So either they are of the view that NOTHING can stop the Iraq Debacle while Bush is President (and if they think so, they should say so), or they are just as guilty of the narcissism Klein accuses Cohen of. Moreover, while George Bush will not be President after January 2009, neither will Ezra Klein or any other progressive pundit, blogger or activist. More.

Let's assume for a moment that in fact there is nothing that can be done to stymie Bush while he is President and that the Iraq Debacle will continue and that we will continue to live under the threat that Bush may springboard an attack on Iran through the Iraq Debacle. And we just hold our breaths and wait it out until January 2009.

Consider for a moment what appear to be the most likely scenarios for what we will see in January 2009. A Congress slightly more Democratic. And either a Hillary Clinton presidency or a Giuliani, Thompson or Romney presidency. How will the ideas of progressive pundits, blogs and activists “interact with the current Administration?” Are we confident that a Clinton Administration  that may include a Michael O'Hanlon and preoccupied with reelection in 2012 will end the Iraq Debacle? We surely do not expect a Republican Administration to “lose Iraq” do we?

The impact of our ideas, writings and activism on the “current Administration” (whenever “current” may be) is important to consider. But what about our impact on the “current” Congress? Why no consideration of that? Why no consideration of the role Congress SHOULD play? Why no pressure on Congress to carry out its Constitutional duty? And why not now? Will we “wait out” Bush only to realize that there will be a new President we have to “wait out?”

No, the time is now to try and pressure those who MAY “interact” with our ideas. Standing silent now while the Congress continues to fund Bush's Iraq Debacle is not an option.


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    • Armando on October 5, 2007 at 16:33

    about wonkery.

  1. with the people who have been seduced by Richardson’s promises of “no residual troops.”

  2. hell, Long Island is full of ’em, they are just too stupid to realize what a neo-con is, hence the confusion.

  3. of the current top candidates- Hillary, Barack, or John, has committed to leaving Iraq.

    Edwards comes closest, Hillary seems ok with indefinite occupation.

    The time to put the screws to the candidates is NOW.

    What will we do when W is forgotten and it’s Hillary’s war just as much as Vietnam was Nixon’s?

    • robodd on October 5, 2007 at 17:06

    The problem is that democrats don’t want to defund.  Defunding does, or may, create at least moral problems:  we broke it, we bought fixing it.  There may be a diplomatic solution that does not entail simply pulling out.

    The problem is that no such solution is possible with the Bush administration.  So the dems are left with two extreme choices:  defund or “support and wait”.  “Support and wait” has its own moral problems as well, though.  Namely that soldiers and Iraqis will continue to die and be maimed, money wasted and stolen, and the quagmire actually worsened.  And there is no guarantee that our staying, even with a diplomatic approach, guarantees success or a way out of the quagmire.

    And what’s more problematic is the abject failure of the leading democratic presidential candidates to share any meaningful plan for our future engagement with Iraq with the citizenry.  Indeed, Clinton’s statement that she cannot provide a plan because the facts are changing is totally unacceptable.  She must be prepared to hit the ground running if and when she takes the presidency.  Demand a meaningful plan or defund.  Those are the only two approaches imo.

  4. but today – I got nuttin’ in the tank.

    Yesterday, Howard Dean was on Ed Shchultz’ show (however you spell his name).

    Ed said something along these lines:

    But what about the idea floated by Kucinich? He says it’s simple. Don’t bring a bill to fund, and don’t approve a Republican brought bill to fund, unless there is a date certain.

    Howard’s reply (paraphrased):

    Ed, I appreciate the question. But the American people don’t want us to leave our troops without funds. They don’t want us to leave them stranded. So we will continue to fight this president by introducing bills designed to bring our troops home. And we will continue to pressure Republicans to join us in this fight with the President.

    I just bring this to the group’s attention because some have asked where Dean was on this issue. Yesterday, I heard loud and clear where he stands.

  5. With that bit on Howard out of the way…

    This is a great point you raise, Armando. Truly, and done with a perfect lead in.

    My 2 cents.

    Continued pressure from now to election day and beyond, non-stop, day-in-day-out pressure has no down side. Absolutely none.

    Even if we just soften them up for 2009, pressure to end the fiasco should not let up.

  6. that we are all strategic narcissists!

  7. the whole circus from the time it rolled into town. You have my sympathies.

    The first time I heared the word “neocon” was on the Today programme on the car radio when the BBC first heared about PNAC. For some reason I thought it had something to do with real estate. Then I saw Wolfowitz slavvering into his comb and I knew it was worse. Much worse.

    • oculus on October 5, 2007 at 18:44

    and important part of Hillary Clinton’s campaign also works on behalf of Blackwater.  I am so pissed off at her (and her emmissary, Ambassador Wilson).

  8. what have we got for leverage that can come anywhere near matching the influence of the second most powerful lobby group in America – more influential than the NRA and the AFL-CIO  – when that lobby group wants war with Iraq and war with Iran?

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