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Hullabaloo


Friday, June 23, 2006

 
More Of The Same

by digby

I initially had some second thoughts about this post from yesterday. I thought perhaps I was being to harsh in criticizing the Democrats for their response to this Republican trash talk on the war. But I posted it anyway because I honestly believed that they were in danger of screwing this up at a time when there is no reason for it and I feel almost apoplectic at the prospect.

I'm not the only one. From Josh Marshall:

Consider this post an open letter to Senate Democrats.

You're really doing a poor job in the public debate over Iraq.

Luckily, unlike what's imagined by the imbeciles who write The Note and others in Washington, reality is not simply a DC media and politics confection. The Dems can muff this several times before coming back and getting it right. And they'd still be more or less fine. Because the Iraq War is still really unpopular. And the great majority of the country has lost faith in President Bush's conduct of the war.

But that's still no excuse for handling this so poorly.

The Democrats have to be much more aggressive. But 'more aggressive' doesn't mean a quicker withdrawal. It means making your point forcefully, on your own terms, repeatedly.

But they're not doing that.

What I see is Republicans on TV repeating their 'cut and run' charges. And to the extent I see Democrats, it's Democrats denying the charge. No, we're not for cutting and running.

The president wants to stay in Iraq for at least three more years. It's not that he won't set a date to withdraw. He doesn't even have a plan that gets to the point where the US could end the occupation. In practice he wants to stay in Iraq forever. What Repubicans are voting for is More of the Same, More of the Same failed policy.


More here.

The war is unpopular. It's a quagmire. Yet, they change nothing. The only proposal they can come up with is to grant amnesty to the insurgents in the hopes they will be so grateful they will just give up. That's it. This war just grinds on, nothing improves, they make no progress.

And they refuse to change course because the president sees everything in terms of losing face and covering ass. From what we've been reading this week, it's his prime motivation for everything. He believes that if he loses face, the country loses face --- l'etat c'est moi.

In the face of that, it doesn't matter whther or not the Democrats all agree to the last comma on a plan for withdrawal. What matters, as Marshall says, is that we are against the status quo:

The thing is that the status quo is morally indefensible because it just means continue to burn through men and money for a failed policy because President Bush isn't capable of admitting his policies have failed.

He's like an owner of a business that's slowly going under. He doesn't know how to save the situation. So he won't get more money or resources to fix the business. That's throwing good money after bad. And he won't just liquidate and save what he can, because then he'd have to come to grips with the fact that he's failed. So his policy is denial and slow failure. Here of course the analogy to President Bush is rather precise since he only has to hold out until 2009 when he can give the problem to someone else, just as he did in his past life with other businesses he drove into the ground.

But for the country that's not acceptable. We don't have a policy except for slow burn and denial. And the president's ego isn't enough to ask men and women to die for. We need an actual plan. And the president doesn't have one.

Democrats need to hammer this point again and again and not get tripped up in the president's bully-boy rhetoric. The president has no plan. He wants to stay in Iraq forever. He says for at least three more years. All the Republicans agree they want more of the same.


The Republicans are like mortally wounded dogs who are barely standing but who bare their teeth and growl dangerously when you get too close. When that happens, if you are a responsible person, you don't get afraid and run away. You get some help and you put the dog down.

They can hammer us with "cut 'n run" all they want, but they can't "cut n' run" from the fact that they are telling the American people there is no end in sight and there is nothing they can do about it. That's the reason why Dems must step up now and aggressively pound this message home that the president has no plan. In order to win, the people must believe that by electing Democrats they are taking action to change the status quo. Democrats need to hammer the fact that for all the president's bluster --- he's paralyzed by his inability to admit that he's made a mistake.

Democrats may not have all the answers. The administration has got us in a hell of a mess and it's not easy to get us out of it. But the Republicans have made it quite clear that their intention is to keep doing exactly what they are doing until somebody stops them. Democrats need to stop them --- and they need the American people to understand that they are the only ones who can stop them. The Republicans can't stop themselves.



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