The Netroots has this year focused its fire on Iraq on “moderate” Republicans and what they term Bush Dog Democrats. Move On’s Tom Matzzie “masterminded” a brilliant plan that Move On has implemented this spring and summer of running ads against “moderate” Republicans like Jim Walsh and it worked, Walsh will now favor a toothless “change the course” strategy that Democrats will offer as a “bipartisan” plan. Move On and the Dems have concocted a political position that will give “moderate” Republicans cover on the Iraq issue in 2008 while doing nothing to change the course of the Debacle. Brilliant!
Similarly, the Bush Dog Democrat plan, which threatens to run Netroots-inspired primaries against people like Mississippi Congressman Gene Taylor (D-MS) (because I am sure Mississippi Democrats will rise up once some Mississippi progressive is anointed as the Netroots candidate in such a primary), will no doubt make a big dent in Bush’s Iraq policy. Not.
Meanwhile, erstwhile Netroots Dem Joe Sestak (D-PA), once a supporter of a date certain for withdrawal, no longer supports a firm timeline:
Sestak said, Democratic leaders should set aside their demands for immediate withdrawal “and begin to help author a comprehensive regional security plan that accepts the necessity for a deliberate redeployment.” . . . Sestak has been among those Democrats who think that setting a “date certain” for withdrawal is the best way to force Iraqis to assume more responsibility. But he now believes the length of time needed to redeploy, and the potential for the entire Army to “unravel” unless troops are redeployed, require a compromise. . . .
This is indicative of all that was wrong with the progressive activist strategy on Iraq in 2007. Instead of concentrating on growing and holding the group of Dems, once 171 strong in the House, in favor of no funding without timelines, some decided they could pressure Republicans and conservative Dems like Gene Taylor. And we are where we are today in no small measure because of these miscalculations. I repeat, one more time, that it will take pressure on Dems, MAINSTREAM and PROGRESSIVE Dems, to hold the line on no funding without timelines. We need to work for more pledges like this one:
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. . .
The pledge made in this letter should have been the focal point of our activism. Sadly, it was not.