Their anti-war statements are coming home to roost:
Strong antiwar comments in recent days by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean have opened anew a party rift over Iraq, with some lawmakers warning that the leaders’ rhetorical blasts could harm efforts to win control of Congress next year.
Several Democrats joined President Bush yesterday in rebuking Dean’s declaration to a San Antonio radio station Monday that “the idea that we’re going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong.”
The critics said that comment could reinforce popular perceptions that the party is weak on military matters and divert attention from the president’s growing political problems on the war and other issues. “Dean’s take on Iraq makes even less sense than the scream in Iowa: Both are uninformed and unhelpful,” said Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.), recalling Dean’s famous election-night roar after stumbling in Iowa during his 2004 presidential bid.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) and Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (Md.), the second-ranking House Democratic leader, have told colleagues that Pelosi’s recent endorsement of a speedy withdrawal, combined with her claim that more than half of House Democrats support her position, could backfire on the party, congressional sources said.
Of course they fear a backlash- running around telling the country we should immediately withdraw, that we have no chance of winning, and that we are ‘terrorizing’ innocent Iraqis generally does not engender the public with positive feelings, particularly during wartime.
They really are in a tough position- they want to oppose (they are the opposition party, after all), and some of them do actually oppose the war, but their problem is they have been so clearly political throughout the entire process that they now have no way out of their predicament. They, in essence, painted themselves into this corner, which is why you hear them making all sorts of lame attempts to extricate themselves from the mess. Each week, they trot out a new strategery. “They cherry-picked the intelligence” was followed with “Bush lied” which was followed with “I didn’t have acces to all the intel” which was followed by “I voted to authorize force, not to go to war” which was followed by “They put the vote close to the elections so I couldn’t vote my conscience” and so on and so on.
With each new excuse, my assessment of the majority of Democrats decreases, and my opinions of the true anti-war left (see Kucinich, Dennis) increases. They at least believe in something, as wrong as I think their position might be. And, quite frankly, as loathesome as I find much of the Republican party, these transparent and awkward attempts to gain politically (notwithstanding the impact on the war effort) makes me think less of the Democrats and their leadership with each passing day.