Tuesday, September 20, 2005


As some of you may know, I've been experiencing a bit of frustration over the lack of backbone amongst leading Democrats, particularly the Presidential candidates.

I was perusing Kos when I ran across his discussion of the war dilemma:
So where does that leave Democrats like Hillary, Kerry, Biden and the rest of the presidential wannabees? What about Democratic challengers against Republican incumbents in the House and Senate? Well, they could hold their ground and become increasingly isolated from mainstream America on the issue. Or they could follow the polls and appear to be that worst kind of politicians -- one with no core principles, content to flip on the whims of shifting public opinion.

Nice catch-22 and one, I think is obvious, that hurts us no matter which route these Democrats take.
Indeed, there is much risk in politics, particularly on hot-button issues like Iraq. Kos goes on to say that there's still time to take a stand and not look like a flip-flopper, but that the clock is ticking. I agree with him.

But something else struck me. Isn't this discussion key in deciding who to chose as your candidate to support?

I'm not so naive as to think that politicians have to play it close to the vest, especially this early. Carefully weighing options on running a campaign and managing your public image is crucial to success (unfortunately). But on the other hand, what I want in a candidate is someone who is smart and is willing to show leadership. The "smart" part can be demonstrated by process...namely how that candidate runs a campaign; how they manage the process of candidacy, including personnel selections, campaign finance management, and general campaign administration. But how do you measure someone's leadership capability?

This is where I think the Dems are missing an opportunity. Kos, a smart politico himself, is suggesting that it's not too late to take a stand on withdrawing the troops from Iraq. I believe the case has been made that Iraq is not improving, nor is going to improve with our presence. Whatever damage is done in the middle east due to our withdrawal was fati accompli as soon as we decided to invade under a false pretense, and followed up that bit of brilliance with patronage driven incompetence in managing the "reconstruction".

What politican in their right mind is going to want to clean up Bush's messes? The task of Bush administration cleanup is going to make the New Orleans cleanup look easy, and is likely to take more than one administration. And the fickle American public is likely to blame whatever befalls the next administration as difficult decisions are made because of Bush's ineptitude. Of course the GOP knows this, and it's part of their strategy. For example, Republicans use the GOP cycle of administrations to embark on a crazy and inept invasion of a small tribally divided country, then accuse the doveish Dems of causing whatever disaster occurs later (you can say the same thing about taxes).

But it seems that this is all the more reason for getting out in front of the issues and taking leadership now.

Having a clear record on Bush is going to be important shielding when the shit hits the fan later. Now's the time to be clear and bold, not to keep the powder dry opportunistically. I think the war is an issue of our time and is a measure of who amongst the prospective candidates has the cajones to lead this nation.

UPDATE: Poll result from here
* In view of the developments since we first sent our troops to Iraq, do you think the United States made a mistake in sending troops to Iraq, or not? Yes, a mistake, 59 percent; No, not, 39 percent.

* Which comes closest to your view about what the U.S. should now do about the number of U.S. troops in Iraq? Send more troops, 8 percent; Keep as now, 26 percent; Withdraw some troops, 33 percent; Withdraw all troops, 30 percent.
Get with the program Dems!


At 2:16 PM, Blogger Jage said...

On a total tangent to the point of your post, I must say this is the first time I've ever seen clipart of a SHTF incident... ;)

At 3:18 PM, Blogger Greyhair said...

Yeah, I was wondering if I could find something more or less..... well....appropriate.

Those internets are amazing!


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