Wednesday, August 24, 2005



Henry Waxman is one of the best congressmen in America. Waxman is smart and he's fierce and he is an indefatigable worker. If the Democrats take back the House in '06, I expect Waxman will have bills of impeachment against Bush and Cheney ready to go. I was proud when he represented my district. A slight redistricting gave my neighborhood to Diane Watson. She doesn't make fireworks but she's a good solid Democrat who never votes wrong. Unlike Waxman. Oddly enough ALL the L.A. area congressmen of the Jewish persuasion abandoned their erstwhile progressive allies to join forces with Tom DeLay, Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Richard Pombo, Bob Ney... and every extreme right-wing proto-fascist in the House of Representatives when it came to voting on the little war (in Iraq) cooked up by the neo-cons and the Likkud. It was very disheartening to see otherwise dependable progressives like Waxman and Howard Berman and Brad Sherman (as well as a somewhat less progressive Adam Schiff) abandon fellow progressives like Nancy Pelosi, George Miller, John Conyers, Maxine Waters, Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kucinich, Jim McDermott, Barbara Lee, John Lewis... and a MAJORITY of Democrats in the House to support Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, DeLay, Frist and the other war criminals. I wrote Waxman a letter and said I'd never forgive him (although my anger towards him has since subsided). There are, however, plenty of Democratic supporters of this disastrous war for whom my anger has only grown.

Unlike the House Democrats, a majority of Senate Democrats voted FOR Bush's war in Iraq (29 for, 21 against). They've been in the awkward position since then of either defending Bush and his abysmal policies or of admitting that they were naive enough to fall for Bush's lies (a tough thing to do for an ego-centric mini-president). Having stood up to Bush and seen through his gross deceptions, the anti-war Democrats have a lot to feel good about. Ted Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, Russ Feingold, Robert Byrd, Paul Wellstone (facing a tough re-election campaign), Patrick Leahy, Richard Durbin, Carl Levin, Kent Conrad (from North Dakota, one of the reddest states in the Union) represented what Howard Dean called the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party. Progressivish senators like Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Tom Daschle, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Chris Dodd, not to mention more reactionaries like Dianne Feinstein, Joe Biden, Evan Bayh, Joe Lieberman, represented Israel's Likkud Party and the American corporate interests pushing this war.

Three years and one month have passed since that wrenching vote. Progressives were repulsed when Kerry announced if he had it to do all over again-- knowing then what he later found out about all the lies from the Bush Regime-- he would still vote in favor of the war. When the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Joe Biden, a major Bush-enabler, announced his intention to make a run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 he kicked off his campaign with a major speech at the Brookings Institution in which he criticized rising calls for withdrawal as a "gigantic mistake." Now that a growing majority of Americans see what a disaster Bush's war is and have awakened to the lies and deceptions behind it, Inside the Beltway corporate careerists like Biden have embraced the war. When Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel calls for reduction, Biden calls for a troop build-up. Biden says Iraq is like the Viet Nam quagmire. Biden is playing his tragic, hawkish role as so many Democratic politicians did in the 60s and 70s. Biden, however, is not widely admired or even taken seriously outside of the Beltway. The corporate media builds him up and calls him an "expert" and "respected." Most Americans who even know who he is, know he's someone who was caught cheating on a college paper and who can always be counted on to support the corporate interests over the people's interests. No one, except DLC reactionaries, takes his bid for the presidency seriously. Hillary Clinton is another matter.

Hillary Clinton is the hands down favorite, at this point, to win the Democratic nomination. A U.S.A TODAY poll also showed her beating EVERY prospective Republican candidate-- even John McCain. Her attitude towards Iraq is almost identical to Biden's and Joe Lieberman's (the Likkud's senior representative in the U.S. Senate). A member of the Armed Services Committee, she's been calling for enlarging the Army by nearly 100,000 troops and is adamantly opposed to what most Democrats and most Americans want: a plan to extricate ourselves from Bush's Iraqi quagmire which includes a deadline. At a time when the American people are turning against Bush's war (by between 60 and 70%) and favor a withdrawal of U.S. troops, and some British and U.S. leaders are publicly discussing a partial pullback, the leading Democratic presidential candidate is a hawk (as are other several prospective lesser candidates like Biden and Bayh). The vast majority of Americans understand, either intellectually or intuitively, that the U.S. military presence in Iraq is doing more harm than good-- for Iraq and for our own security concerns. The DLC position, adhered to by Clinton and a gaggle of Inside the Beltway careerists along with the whole pathetic class of professional losers calling themselves political advisors and foreign policy "experts," is that this position is too unsophisticated to be taken seriously. These people had it wrong-- DISASTROUSLY WRONG-- in July 2002 and they still have it wrong today. They don't represent me. These never-elected-to-anything Democratic foreign policy "experts" (Richard Holbrooke, Madeleine Albright, Ken Pollack, Jamie Rubin...) are catastrophes for America and catastrophes for the Democratic Party. Holbrooke and his horrible advice probably had as much to do with Kerry losing the 2004 election as did Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell.

In a essay Ari Berman has a quote from former Colorado Senator Gary Hart: "There's an approach which says, 'Let's raise the stakes and call.' That if Republicans want a ten-division Army, let's be for a 12-division Army. I think that's just nonsense, frankly. It's stupid policy. Trying to get on the other side of the Republicans is folly, both politically and substantively." So far the only voices in the Senate (seriously considering a run for the presidency in '08) representing Americans who want this war over are Russ Feingold (who voted against it originally) and, ironically, Republican Hagel (who supported it originally). Both are considered long long-shots. If the primary were held today, I'd be voting for Feingold. If it were between Clinton and Hagel I'd have to think carefully.


At 7:05 AM, Blogger buffalobobb said...

I'm Jewish and I agree, it's sad how these particular progressives folded on the issue. I felt the same way when
some others (not along religious lines)voted for NAFTA and when my local Rep., a Democrat, voted for the bankruptcy bill. All these are betrayals. But it hurts especially, and makes me angry, when I see Joe Lieberman marching to Bush's tune.

At 9:25 AM, Blogger Timcanhear said...

Looking ahead to 2008, I think it's very possible that someone in the dem party will come forward with a plan for the mess in Iraq.
Hillary has no plan. Biden, none.
Ted Kennedy on the other hand, would act switftly and decisively.
I say we ask Ted Kennedy to run. I think he can win.
If not Ted Kennedy, we need a voice as loud and honest as Paul Wellstone. Jesus what a tragedy he had to die. To this day I wonder how much an accident his plane crash was.


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