The War and the Elections

Nation magazine editorial | posted December 15, 2005 (January 2, 2006 issue)

[...] it does mean the Iraq debate has evolved from a contest over how to manage the US occupation into the question of whether the occupation should continue. That question will be a central--perhaps the central--issue of the 2006 Congressional elections.

In our November 28 cover editorial, "Democrats and the War," we took the stand that "The Nation will not support any candidate for national office who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq a major issue of his or her campaign." We urged voters to join us. In recent weeks, as more Democrats have spoken out against the war and for a timely exit, we have come to believe even more firmly that antiwar candidates, with the requisite credentials, can prevail next fall. The first step in that process is, of course, to encourage support for such candidates, as we are doing this week and as we will continue to do throughout 2006.

Among leading Democratic Representatives and strategists, there is a palpable unease about laying out a withdrawal timeline. The DC insiders fear that doing so might provoke a voter backlash, despite the evidence of the polls. It is encouraging that recent weeks have seen significant if incomplete movement in the House Democratic caucus toward embrace of an exit strategy, especially since minority leader Nancy Pelosi endorsed Murtha's plan.

But the same cannot be said for the Senate caucus, which continues to send dramatically mixed messages. A handful of members, like Russ Feingold, clearly support a timeline, but others, like Joe Lieberman, still back Bush's "stay the course" talk. And top Democrats, like minority leader Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton--who has attracted an antiwar primary challenge from former National Writers Union president Jonathan Tasini--continue to try to have it both ways, expressing ever-increasing impatience with Bush's approach but rejecting a firm exit strategy. [...] Read the rest of the article at http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060102/editors1 or http://tinyurl.com/7hboz

David Sirota has a full analysis of the Nation article above. Read it at Sirotablog on WorkingforChange. This link will get you there: http://tinyurl.com/eyhwd

© Virginia Metze


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