John Edwards

Did the Dems Sell Out?

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The San Francisco Chronicle's Debra Saunders has an interesting column about differences between the Dems and GOP when it comes to what might be called internal integrity:

A New York Times/CBS News poll in July found that three-quarters of Democratic voters and 86 percent of Boston delegates opposed the war in Iraq. Yet both John Kerry and John Edwards voted for the resolution authorizing force in Iraq in 2002.

The same poll found that 19 percent of GOP voters and 3 percent of GOP delegates oppose the war. Those delegates are in harmony with Bush and Veep Dick Cheney, even if 51 percent of all voters polled oppose the war.

That's the central difference between the GOP and the Democrats: The Democrats were willing to—no, they chose to, by nominating Kerry –sell out their core issue in order to beat George W. Bush.

Whole thing here.

Despite Bush's apparent climb in recent polls (it's also assumed that, unlike Kerry after the Democratic convention, he'll get a true bounce from the GOP convention), it's obviously way too early to declare the race. But Saunders is right to suggest that a party that nominates a candidate at odds with its core beliefs is a party in trouble. This helps to explain weak and inconsistent messaging on the part of the Democrats. And it also suggests John Kerry may need to become more vocally anti-war in Iraq to mollify the Democratic base–a tactic that will only lend more weight to the flip-flop millstone around his neck.

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  1. “Todd,
    “more effective engagement.”

    You mean like Rootin’ Tootin’ Putin’s engagement?

    Face it, Demopublicans are simply taking the wrong approach to terrorism.”
    No Ruthless, more like turning the Taliban out of their power base in Afghanistan, killing them in Yemen, eliminating a supporter in Iraq, drawing them into a fight IN Iraq (better we’re killing them in Tikrit than Peoria) and seeking to transform the Middle East (Wahabists and Mullahs take note). That sort of approach to terrorism.
    Not the worry about their “Historical grievamces”, violate no individual rights, sort of approach that some hereabouts tend to support.

  2. And yes, the Dem’s have sold out. The Democrats find themselves with a base that came of age in the New Left, of the 60’s or its bastions on campus. But the majority of the electorate (Republicans and Moderates) ae not from that mileau. Sure the Dem’s don’t care about recruiting ME, but they do need the centre. And it’s not readily available to them, right now.
    Also, the Dem’s are cursed by 2000 and 2002, and even 1996 (Congressional races). They have not lost by much, so they keep telling themselves that they don’t HAVE to change. They just need to get their message out or find the right messenger. Now I don’t think that’s true, but I’m not one of them. Had they been buried in ’96, 2000, or 2002 they’d be rebuilding and looking for a new model. As they weren’t they are merely tweaking the message.

  3. Ken, Powell didn’t speak at this convention. Indeed, there was a news story last week in which Powell all but said he was told to stay out of New York City. Doesn’t look good for him coming back for a second term, unfortunately.

  4. “drawing them into a fight IN Iraq (better we’re killing them in Tikrit than Peoria)”

    Of course this glides over the small detail that nobody from Tikrit was coming to Peoria…

    “Not the worry about their “Historical grievances”, ***violate no individual rights***, sort of approach that some hereabouts tend to support.” (emphasis added)

    And people mock me for suggesting that war supporters are fascists?

  5. SR –

    Yes, we do mock you for suggesting that war supporters are fascists.

    “Fascist” is not defined as “mean people I don’t like.”

    Do a little research, find out what a fascist is, and you will find that fascism and support for the current war have almost no overlap at all.

  6. RC, you’re right, that was unfair. There are plenty of political philosophies other than fascism that cavalierly dismiss individual rights. However, since I doubt Joe L. supports collectivizing property, the installation of a theocracy or an absolute monarch, or most of the other things associated with those alternate philosophies, but does clearly support militarism (including invading countries without provocation) and that one should uncritically accept the guidance of a “maximum leader”, “fascism” would seem to be the best shorthand. “Neo-Jacobin” may be more accurate, but since the vast majority of people have no clue what that term means, it isn’t a very effective descriptor.

  7. “…the installation of a theocracy…”

    I don’t know, this is the GOP we’re talking about here, and they are yet to say no to America’s homegrown Taliban and the Mullahs Pat Robertson and Jerry Fawell.

  8. “Of course this glides over the small detail that nobody from Tikrit was coming to Peoria…”

    Of course that glides over the fact that a lot of the people being killed in Tikrit don’t come from Tikrit…

  9. “America’s homegrown Taliban and the Mullahs Pat Robertson and Jerry Fawell”

    Cute, yet entirely hyperbolic.

  10. This isn’t inconsistent. I opposed the war but supported giving Bush the power to go to war, to give him credibility of force.

    This may be dumb but it’s not inconsistent.

  11. It’s possible that the war in Iraq is NOT a core value among Dems. Clinton had no trouble sending troops around the globe.

    If you want to really talk about which party sold out its core values, the GOP did that way more than the Dems. And it worked pretty good for them, so the Dems are gonna try it too. Both parties are now competing to see which one can be everything to everyone. Call it “diversity”.

  12. Same ol’, same ol’…

    People get the government they deserve. Unfortunately, they drag the undeserving with them.

  13. Really SR, from my statement you discover I support Der Fuehrer Prinzep, believe in state-owned enterprises, a collevtivist capitalism, and a one-party state? Who knew? No you use “Fascist” like the campus Leftists use Fascist. Someone you don’t agree with and just don’t want to bother to muster an argument with, from fear, laziness, or complacency.

    And the “indvidual rights” comment comes from Raymond M. whose major concern seems to be the preservation of his and my rights, EVEN IF THAT SHOULD LEAD TO OUR DEATHS. He once pointed out that putting black clothes on trees in protest of the war in Afghanistan was preferable to action…. It doesn’t stop the Taliban or Al-Quaeda but at least no one’s rights were violated. So if being a Fascist means I’d rather eliminate the Taliban AND Saddam Hussein than pointless symbol manipulation mark me down as a A Fascist. Sadly, for YOU that means 60-70% of Amerikkka is Fascist and probably you are going to be out of power and barking at the Moon for a long time.
    I’m betting you’re from the Left, most Libertarians use the “cutting” epithet of “Collectivist” or “statist.”

  14. A New York Times/CBS News poll in July found that three-quarters of Democratic voters and 86 percent of Boston delegates opposed the war in Iraq. Yet both John Kerry and John Edwards voted for the resolution authorizing force in Iraq in 2002.

    I think the author is not without a point, yet there is a problem here: being “against” the war in 2004, whatever that might mean, is not the same as saying that in 2002, the Senate should have voted against authorizing the use of force.

    The inspections which happened in (IIRC) late 2002 and early 2003 simply weren’t possible without a credible threat of force. And if Hans Blix had reported in early 2003 that Saddam Hussein’s biggest concern was how to keep the radiation from his enriched plutonium stockpile from killing off his biological weapons across town, I’d bet the American public would now have a substantially different view as to whether this war was a good idea.

  15. Tom Foley put it best in his speech against the Second Gulf War (’90). HE argued that the michel-Solarz Resolution was a declaration of war. He urged all in favour of war to vote FOR it, but said that to vote for it so as to provide another DIPLOMATIC tool to Pres. Bush (41) was to fool oneself. Vote for war if you want war, don’t vote if you don’t want war…
    Same thing applies in 2002. Bush (43) asked for a declaration of war (functionally-sorry for all you CONSTITUTIONALISTS, but that’s what it was). If Kerry and Edwards wanted more inspections, more sanctions, more diplomacy they ought not ahve voted to remove the safety from the M-16.
    I’m just trying to say that voting for authorizations of force are dangerous things and generally lead to war, not more diplomacy. And Kerry ought to have known this.

  16. Joe L., brilliant. From your mouth to the electorate’s ears.

    Alkali, you watch way too much evening news. I don’t mean to offend you, but such twisted logic can only come from a politician, academic, or the mainstream media.

  17. To those of you happy your Dubya and Rootin’ Tootin’ Putin are killin’ folks at a pretty good clip, you are making the same mistake some, mostly non-Hit&Runners, make confusing media monopoly with fewer major media companies. A monopoly is one thing. A duopoly is something entirely different.
    Killing terrorists is one thing. Killing every last one is something entirely different.
    A thousand years or more ago, somebody like Dubya could pick a city and obliterate it and it would stay obliterated.
    Today’s world is too interconnected to obliterate any part of it. That’s the secret the internet should have revealed to us, isn’t it?

  18. Uh Ruthless you lost me… I’m slow I guess. I guess us “Non Hit n’Runners” just aren’t in your league. Violence has settled a number of questions, even in the Internet Age, ask Kosovars, Bosnians, Croatians, and Croatian Serbs. Heck, ask Aideed, he demonstrated the value of violence in the Internet Age in Somalia.
    BTW, we aren’t rying to kill ALL the terrorists, just about 30% of ’em… the general rule of thumb being that at 30% losses a unit becomes ineffective. And it’s not the Peoples Liberation Front of Judea we’re after, UNLESS the PLFJ has connections to Al-Quaeda and plots terrorism across international borders.

  19. Uh Ruthless you lost me… I’m slow I guess. I guess us “Non Hit n’Runners” just aren’t in your league. Violence has settled a number of questions, even in the Internet Age, ask Kosovars, Bosnians, Croatians, and Croatian Serbs. Heck, ask Aideed, he demonstrated the value of violence in the Internet Age in Somalia.
    BTW, we aren’t rying to kill ALL the terrorists, just about 30% of ’em… the general rule of thumb being that at 30% losses a unit becomes ineffective. And it’s not the Peoples Liberation Front of Judea we’re after, UNLESS the PLFJ has connections to Al-Quaeda and plots terrorism across international borders.

  20. For Christ’s sake, how many Joes are there on this board?

  21. There will always be terrorists. There have always been terrorists. You can’t eliminate ‘terrorism’.

    But what is new is the rise of massive, interlinked networks of terrorists with the support of states behind them. THESE terrorists are the shock troops of Islamofascist nations that cannot fight a traditional war, so they are waging it unconventionally.

    But as a network grows in size and complexity, it starts to become vulnerable. And where individual terrorists can be difficult or impossible to find and eliminate, large networks can be disrupted or destroyed and states compelled to stop support through diplomacy or force.

    Individual terrorists can blow up a small building, or even kill a hundred children in a school. What they can’t do is bring down an entire nation or destroy the world economy. But Islamofascist terror networks can. They have hundreds of millions of dollars, safe harbor inside countries, perhaps access to military stockpiles and WMD.

    This is why the overthrow of Saddam was so important. Saddam was thumbing his nose at the world, actively sponsoring Palestinian terrorists, giving safe harbor to terrorists like Zarqawi and Abu Nidal, and sneering at the west. If he wasn’t directly supporting worldwide terror, he was at least inflaming it. A message needed to be sent that the U.S. will not tolerate the intesection of international terror and state support, and Iraq was a good object lesson. It was also a moral war because of the brutality of Saddam and the casus belli of his violation of U.N. inspections.

    The war on terror will never be completely over, but it will be ‘won’ when terrorists are forced to operate individually and states won’t dare support them. It will be ‘won’ when the conditions in the Middle East are improved such that it no longer resembles a hornet’s nest spitting out terrorists by the thousand. Thus Bush’s three-pronged strategy for the war on terror – destroy the terror networks themselves with intellignce and special forces, use hard diplomacy and war if need be to end state sponsorship, and reform the middle east and help the people there end the cycle of despair that breeds terrorists in the first place. It’s a sound plan. It may not work, but then D-Day could have failed too. There will be setbacks, and there will be victories. And it’s going to take a damned long time.

    It’s a difficult solution, which has as its main redeeming factor the fact that all the other solutions are worse.

  22. Well, there’s me…

  23. Joe L.
    I love you man.
    If you need a place to hide from Dan, you can count on me and the widdle woman.
    Dan is what we short-timers (longer than four months, but still short) referred to as a “lifer.”

  24. For Christ’s sake, how many Joes are there on this board?

    One too many, Ken. One joe too many.

  25. “But Saunders is right to suggest that a party that nominates a candidate at odds with its core beliefs is a party in trouble.”

    Very true, but what choice do they have? Their core beliefs won’t win the election. IMO, they can only do that by convincing the public that they will be better at fighting terorism than Bush. Which is something that’s certainly possible, but the party faithful want retreat, not a deeper, more effective engagement.

  26. Todd,
    “more effective engagement.”

    You mean like Rootin’ Tootin’ Putin’s engagement?

    Face it, Demopublicans are simply taking the wrong approach to terrorism.

  27. My comment is not so much on the war as on the general dilemma facing the Democrats:

    The Democrats know that, at least on most issues, the same old liberal policies simply won’t sell. Whether you think that’s good or bad, the fact is that “liberal” is a 4-letter word in American politics. (I’m surprised that Cheney didn’t just say “Go LIBERAL yourself!”) So, the Democrats know that most Americans aren’t liberals and you can hear it in their policies. Sure, they offer the same old stuff, but they do it timidly, and incoherently. They try to water it down. They try to run away from it.

    Why don’t they just abandon it altogether and try something new? After all, the greatest imperative for any politician is SURVIVAL. Well, the primaries are controlled by people who won’t yet let go of the same old tired stuff.

    The Republicans, meanwhile, seem to harbor no such insecurities. Sure, they know that they need to tone it down a little bit. They know that they need to trot out the moderates. But they clearly don’t suffer from the same level of ambivalence as Democrats. And that shows. Republicans are much more aggressive and confident.

    I don’t know what the Democrats need to do in place of the same old tired liberal policies. Maybe move to the center. Maybe become fiscally conservative and socially liberal (I know, I’m dreaming). Whatever it is, it has to be a big change, and yet it is completely impossible for them as long as the people who control the primary elections refuse to change.

    Sucks to be a Democrat. Glad I’m not one of them.

  28. Did Colin Powell speak at the Republican convention? Wasn’t he a big part of the appeal to Soccer Moms in the 2000 election?

    I guess the Republicans don’t see the need to appeal to Soccer Moms this cycle, or, rather, maybe they’re seeing that all the Soccer Moms are still on the war path. Isn’t that the question: How can Democrats appeal to Soccer Moms on the War Path?

    Wesley Clark’s appeal wasn’t so apparent in February, but the Democrats might have done much better to nominate Clark.

  29. I’ll call it-Bush has the election won.

    Kerry is a non-entity. All the Dems had to do was offer real alternative to Bush. Instead, they give the mob another Dukakis. Idiots.

  30. If you evaluate them in terms of the values of their base and the rhetoric they use to appeal to those values, then both parties have “sold out.”

    The Republicans appeal to the middle American values of self-help and pulling your own weight, and to the small town, aw-shucks symbolism of Norman Rockwell’s America. Main Street America votes Republican because of this packaging. Then the GOP promotes an actual agenda of corporate welfare and crony capitalism.

    On foreign policy, if you leave aside some of the more aberrant deviations of the PNAC crowd, both party establishments are pretty much agreed on most things. Kerry sponsored Plan Colombia and accused Bush of being soft on Hugo Chavez, for cryin’ out loud!

    More generally, I think supporters of both parties in the general public share similar petty bourgeois views, including a populist resentment of bloodsuckers. The Demo rank and file perceive, rightly, that the plutocracy has been making off with the silverware for the last thirty years; but they wrongly see government as the solution, rather than the cause. The GOP rank and file rightly resent parasites who don’t pull their own weight; but they wrongly allow their populist hatred of elites to be directed to Karl Rove’s targets of choice, like welfare moms and “trial lawyers,” while ignoring billionaire welfare cases.

    On the other hand, the mainstream establishment of both parties (DLC/TNR Demos and neocon Repugs) has more in common with each other than with the working people in their respective bases.

  31. Dan:

    “THESE terrorists are the shock troops of Islamofascist nations.”

    Dan, you’re going to have to wrap that naive worldview of yours around the fact that Saddam was brutal death on Iraqi Islamists. Beside Iran, which poses no threat to us, to which nations do you refer?

    “This is why the overthrow of Saddam was so important”

    Our government’s war on Iraq was inexcusable because Iraq posed no credible threat to our security. A credible threat is the only legitimate reason for war. A “threat” was concocted via duplicity (phony WMD and “connections” “evidence”) by the neocons as a pretext for the war that they had long advocated as being something beneficial to the Israeli state.

    Saddam was thumbing his nose at the world, actively sponsoring Palestinian terrorists”

    And, our government is sponsoring the state terror of the Israeli government’s murderous and thieving occupation of Palestinian land. This is what motivated the 9/11 terror attacks against us. Note that the 9/11 commission findings reveal:

    Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the man who conceived and directed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was motivated by his strong disagreement with American support for Israel, said the final report of the Sept. 11 commission.

    http://www.kentucky.com/mld/heraldleader/news/nation/9222612.htm

    Dan:
    “The war on terror will never be completely over”

    That’s part of the problem. There shouldn’t even be a “war on terror”. What a ridiculous concept! Terror is not an enemy, it’s a tactic. A war on a tactic is by nature, an open ended war and one with out cessation. The war on terror is nebulous enough to give the government a sort of carte blanche excuse for infringing on all manner of individual rights.

    Our government’s response to 9/11 should have been to hunt down AQ and kill them so they can’t do it again and quit the needless and sometimes shameful interventions that motivated their attacks against us in the first place. The Iraq war had no proper place in the response and only served to multiply our losses. It was used by the neocons as an excuse to activate their preexisting designs.

    Dan:
    “(One of) Bush’s three-pronged strategies for the war on terror-reform the middle east and help the people there end the cycle of despair that breeds terrorists in the first place”

    Oh right! That would be laughable if the details weren’t so tragic. Our government gives many billions of dollars to the Israeli government every year to prosecute the occupation. The thug Egyptian regime receives 3 or 4 billion dollars from our government and a half billion dollars goes to the oppressive Jordanian regime. Also, it’s opposition our government’s foreign policy that makes us the target of terrorists more than despair. We need to have our government take action, or quit certain actions, concerning threats to us, not terrorism in general.

  32. But did the Democrats actually nominate someone whose philosophy is counter to their core belief, or is it just that Kerry is running on a platform counter to their core beliefs?

    In the example of the war, look at his former Vietnam protests and publications. Who is to say what he’ll do if he’s elected and really has the power?

    Another example is gun control. He’s never met an anti-gun bill he’s voted against. The only time he interrupted his primary campaign it was to vote anti-gun. Yet right now he’s out on the campaign trail in hunter orange shooting birds and visiting gun ranges, trying to convince gunowners he’s a true believer in the Second Amendment.

    Unfortunately the national media is letting him get away with it.

  33. “….Saddam was brutal death on Iraqi Islamists.”
    –Rick Barton

    Which is probably the reason that Bush Senior, although he also lied us into a war, at least had the sense not to remove Saddam from power and take over direct responsibility for administering that shithole.

  34. “But Saunders is right to suggest that a party that nominates a candidate at odds with its core beliefs is a party in trouble.”

    Yeah, a party always does better when it goes with a Goldwater or a McGovern.

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