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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

 
Wankerrific

by digby

Atrios names Bob Shrum Wanker of the day based upon this post by Will Bunch. It's a good call:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards was skeptical about voting for the Iraq war resolution and was pushed into it by advisers looking out for his political future, according to an upcoming book by one of his former consultants.

Democratic strategist Bob Shrum writes in his memoir to be published in June that he regrets advising Edwards to give President Bush the authority to go to war in Iraq. He said if Edwards had followed his instincts instead of the advice of political professionals, he would have been a stronger presidential candidate in 2004.

[...]

Shrum writes that Edwards, then a North Carolina senator, called his foreign policy and political advisers together in his Washington living room in the fall of 2002 to get their advice. Edwards was "skeptical, even exercised" about the idea of voting yes and his wife Elizabeth was forcefully against it, according to Shrum.

But Shrum said the consensus among the advisers was that Edwards, just four years in office, did not have the credibility to vote against the resolution and had to support it to be taken seriously on national security. Shrum said Edwards' facial expressions showed he did not like where he was being pushed to go.


Like Bunch I don't blame Edwards alone for this. After all, the entire House and Senate presidential hopeful club adhered to this advice, not just Shrum. They all followed that advice because it wasn't just good old Bob wearing his loser presidential campaign hat:


The 2004 election proved that the Democratic Party needs leaders—not poll-driven consultants, who too often sacrifice principle for what appears expedient.

For example, Kerry voted for Bush’s Iraq war resolution, following the “guidance” offered by Democracy Corps, a non-profit “dedicated to making the government of the United States more responsive to the American people.”

On October 3, 2002, prior to the Iraq war resolution votes, Democracy Corps (founded in 1999 by James Carville, Stan Greenberg and Bob Shrum) advised Capitol Hill Democrats: “This decision [to support or oppose an Iraq war resolution] will take place in a setting where voters, by 10 points, prefer to vote for a member who supports a resolution to authorize force (50 to 40 percent).”


The mistake was not only in the rank immorality of voting for this ridiculous war (on the basis of 10 points in the polls, no less.) It was also a huge tactical political error. If the war went well, it was going to be nearly impossible to beat Bush in 2004 and everyone knew it. If the war was going badly, then a vote for it was going to tie these candidates up in knots and make them look weak and irresolute, which is exactly what happened to Kerry. There was no margin in Democratic presidential candidates voting for the war.

These so-called strategists were wrong on the substance and wrong on the strategy on the most important vote in decades. You'd think they'd be just a little bit more humble.



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