Sunday, August 26, 2007



Jan Schakowsky, not a Bush-Cheney-Baird Democrat

Right-wing pundits and propaganda hacks like Tony Blankley have been having a field day laughing at congressional Democrats as useful idiots like Brian Baird coming marching back from their little trips to the Greed Zone singing the praises of future Republican politician David Petraeus and convinced that endless war in the answer to any fears they harbor about re-election. Although southwest Washington Congressman Brian Baird showed what he was made of a few weeks ago when he was one of only 4 Democrats to vote with the Republicans against mandating rest time for U.S. troops before redeployment to the front, undiscerning observers have characterized his predictable "Stay the Course" rhetoric following a quickie in the Greed Zone like this:
Baird opposed the war against Iraq from the get-go but believes that since the US went ahead and attacked anyway, it should persist and be successful. He believes that the surge might be paying off, at least to a degree, and that-- therefore-- the troops should not be withdrawn soon.

Let's forget for a moment that Baird certainly did not oppose the war from the get-go and that he was one of many Democrats who refused to take a strong stand against Bush's Iraq agenda right from the very first roll call regarding Iraq. And let's not even question the motives of people who try passing these lies off as fact and instead let's just chalk that up to laziness, ignorance or even misinterpretation of the voting record.

Instead, let's keep in mind that it isn't only reflexive reactionaries like Brian Baird reporting from a bit of Iraq, nor even only confused and conflicted Democratic novices like Jerry McNerney, even though the rightist pundits will only highlight them. Today's Washington Post features what real Democrats who can keep a clear head in Iraq say when they get back. Chicago Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, who unlike Baird, actually has a voting record that shows she really did oppose Bush's war "from the get-go," just came back from a fact-finding mission with unshaken resolve to extricate America from this Bush-Cheney-NeoCon mess.

Jan was a little shaken when Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih told her congressional delegation, "There's not going to be political reconciliation by this September; there's not going to be political reconciliation by next September" and she was a little shaken when General BetrayUs concluded his slick GOP PowerPoint presentation with an announcement that "it could take another decade before real stability is at hand." (In case there are any Republicans who have accidentally wandered over to DWT today, a decade is 10 years.)
The trip gave Schakowsky a good look at the challenge that Democrats face next month, when Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker travel to Washington to testify before Congress, presumably with similar charts and arguments that the U.S. military is making strides in Iraq, and that withdrawal dates would be reckless and wrong.

The lack of political progress among Iraq's rival factions and Petraeus's estimate of the time needed to stabilize the nation left Schakowsky all the more convinced that Democrats must force Bush to begin bringing troops home.

"This is not the structure that's going to say, 'Why? Why are we here? What are we really accomplishing here?' The mission is to take down the bad guys, to establish order," she said of her sessions with Petraeus and other military leaders. The meetings "made me feel more determined that the policy is going to have to be set in Washington, that the Congress is going to have to exert its will here to end this war."

While the Republican Noise Machine builds up BetrayUs as the strong man to eventually challenge President Hillary and drooling idiots like Baird fall into line like they always do, a few hearty souls like Schakowsky recognize exactly what Petraeus really is and what he's trying to do. "I felt that was a stretch and really part of a PR strategy-- just like the PR strategy that initially led up to the war in the first place," Schakowsky told the Post once she was back in Chicago. Petraeus, she said, "acknowledged that if the policymakers decide that we need to withdraw, that, you know, that's what he would have to do. But he felt that in order to win, we'd have to be there nine or 10 years."

Darcy Burner's call to arms-- to elect more and better Democrats-- is at the heart of how progressives must respond to the latest Bush-BetrayUs propaganda surge. Brian Baird isn't the only moron suckered into this, but that is where the "better Democrats" part comes in. Enough of the weak and ineffective enablers in the Democratic Party, your John Barrows, Melissa Beans, Chris Carneys, Jim Costas, Henry Cuellars, Dan Lipinskis, Jim Coopers, Mike Rosses, John Tanners and Al Wynns. It's time progressives started to understand that primaries are every bit as important as the general election-- at least they are if you're serious about ending Bush's heinous policies at home and abroad.

Jan knows that there are some who will fall for or become confused by the slick Republican presentations. "If you took the briefings at their face value, without context, without bringing anything to it-- clearly they were trying to present that positive spin, and that's what [other lawmakers] took away from it." We need more lawmakers like Jan and less like Brian Baird.

Among the crucial primaries coming up for House seats:
- Progressive stalwart incumbent Steve Cohen is being viciously challenged by the reactionary DLC/Harold Ford machine in Memphis. We should support Cohen to the hilt; he's earned it.
- Progressive challengers Donna Edwards (MD-04), Randi Scheuer (IL-08) and Mark Pera (IL-03) are seeking to replace disloyal Bush-Democrats Al Wynn, Melissa Bean and Dan Lipinski.
-Progressive front runners Darcy Burner (WA-08), John Laesch (IL-14), Angie Paccione (CO-04), and Victoria Wulsin (OH-02) are being opposed by opportunists and Bush-Democrats. You'll find most of these progressives on the Blue America page-- and the ones that aren't there yet, will be soon. Please help-- for all of our sakes. And remember Darcy's words: "MORE AND BETTER DEMOCRATS."


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At 3:00 PM, Blogger walkabout said...

Jan sounds like a great candidate. I've given all I can this month, but will be supporting her a bit later.

We have some wonderful candidates, I'm so pleased that quite a few of them are excellent women candidates.

What is the verdict on McNerney by the important bloggers? I know what I'm going to do, but is there a concensus by DWT et al?

At 7:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know about anybody else, but it seemed to me that what little McNerney had to say dodged every substantive question that he was given, and that his strategy for ending the war is to be conciliatory towards the Republicans until such time as we can get a "veto-proof majority". In other words, he hasn't got a clue.

I don't know about the rest of his voting record, but he's a fool on the war.

At 7:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And he's a fool on dealing with Republicans

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