November 23, 2006

More myth busting

Another prominent figure debunks the "Dems won by going conservative - The Dems didn't win, the Republicans lost" myths. Even though it's false, many conservative Dems are quick to swallow it. (as our own commenter DemGorilla has, lock, stock, and barrel.)

From Frank Rich in the New York Times (sub required):
Elections may come and go, but Washington remains incorrigible. Not even voters delivering a clear message can topple the town’s conventional wisdom once it has been set in the stone of punditry.

Right now the capital is entranced by a fictional story line about the Democrats. As this narrative goes, the party’s sweep of Congress was more or less an accident. The victory had little to do with the Democrats’ actual beliefs and was instead solely the result of President Bush’s unpopularity and a cunning backroom stunt by the campaign Machiavellis, Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel, to enlist a smattering of “conservative” candidates to run in red states. In this retelling of the 2006 election, the signature race took place in Montana, where the victor was a gun-toting farmer with a flattop haircut: i.e., a Democrat in Republican drag. And now the party is deeply divided as its old liberals and new conservatives converge on Capitol Hill to slug it out.

The only problem with this version of events is that it’s not true. The overwhelming majority of the Democratic winners, including Jon Tester of Montana, are to the left of most Republicans, whether on economic policy or abortion. For all of the hyperventilation devoted to the Steny Hoyer-John Murtha bout for the House leadership, the final count was lopsided next to the one-vote margin in the G.O.P. Senate intramural that yielded that paragon of “unity,” Trent Lott. But the most telling barometer is the election’s defining issue: there is far more unanimity among Democrats about Iraq than there is among Republicans. Disengaging America from that war is what the country voted for overwhelmingly on Nov. 7, and that’s what the Democrats almost uniformly promised to speed up, whatever their vague, often inchoate notions about how to do it.

Even before they officially take over, the Democrats are trying to deliver on this pledge. Carl Levin and Joe Biden, among the party’s leaders in thinking through a new Iraq policy, are gravitating toward a long-gestating centrist exit strategy: a phased withdrawal starting in four to six months; a loosely federal Iraqi government that would ratify the de facto separation of the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds and fairly allocate the oil spoils; and diplomacy, diplomacy, diplomacy to engage Iraq’s neighbors, including Iran and Syria, in securing some kind of peace.

None of these ideas are radical, novel or much removed from what James Baker’s Iraq Study Group is expected to come up with. All are debatable and all could fail. At this late date, only triage is an option, not “victory.” There’s no panacea to end the civil war that four years of American bumbling have wrought. But the one truly serious story to come out of the election — far more significant than the Washington chatter about “divided Democrats” — is that the president has no intention of changing his policy on Iraq or anything else one iota.


At 11/23/2006 9:24 PM, Blogger diehard said...

As Colin Powell said about Iraq'You broke it you bought it'
I'm afraid by staying the U.S. is only prolonging the inevitable civil war.
2nd of all Raum Emaunuelle has about as much election management strategy as a tree stump.
I think that the reason we won was because Americans are weary of the Gihad against Iraqi civilians 100s killed in the last month or so.
Our own kids getting killed and F----ed up over there, missing limbs, brain damaged, post tramatic stress you name it.
While Bush and Cheney just seem to not be very concered! There level of empathy for parents or relatives that have lost some one is pretty underwhelming!

At 11/23/2006 9:37 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Very true.

Apparently enough people had the guts to realize something that some people simply can't bring themselves to comprehend, and no wonder.

That a president and those around him LIED their asses off and took us to war for personal and financial reasons, and out of some misguided pipe dream of empire and taking control of the middle east.

Any school kid could have told you that the entire idea was reckless and doomed, but Bush fed us all a bunch of crap, and RUSHED to invade Iraq before anyone knew what hit them.

They were so stunningly uninformed and so stupidly unconcerned with details, so convinced that they, using our military, could do literally anything they wanted to do, that they embarked on this catastrophe and thumbed their noses at the rest of the world who could also see just how unjust and unjustifiable it all was.

Now Bush has driven us into the middle of a tar pit, stubbornly refusing to admit that he has, and arrogantly refusing to change course or admit the magnitude of their mistakes.

He's simply going to sacrifice yet more thousands of lives so he can preserve whatever "face" he thinks he still has, and then leave it to the Democrats to try to undo the damage.

And that's just Iraq. The ripple effects of the actions and inaction of this administration has yet to be fully realized. Most of the country doesn't even realize a fraction of the things that have occured under the radar. The ways laws have been changed to benefit the rich and corporations and leave them out to dry, the massive damage allowed to be done to the environment in the name of mazimizing profits, the wholesale looting of the treasury by connected businesses and corporations, the coddling of the oil and gas industry and how they've directed our foreign policy, and on and on and on.

The damage is far worse than the American people realize, and the chickens will be coming home to roost for generations to come.

The Dems may not impeach Bush, but I predict that in a few decades, our children will be asking us why we didn't.

At 11/23/2006 11:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have U lost U'r mind?

President Bush took us to war with Iraq for "personal and financial" gain?

At 11/23/2006 11:51 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

No I haven't lost my mind. Thanks anyway.

I should have been more clear. I meant that he invaded Iraq for personal reasons, perhaps trying to prove he could do what his Dad couldn't. He also was motivated by revenge due to Sadaam's reported assasination attempt against his dad.

Bush, Cheney, and a host of their long-time supporters all stood to, and have, made billions off of Iraq, and they will for decades to come.

At 11/24/2006 2:43 PM, Blogger UMRBlog said...

There's a difference between selecting candidates who look like and talk like the people who elected them and actually recruiting candidates who have a different belief system than the party they represent. We got more local and more plainspoken.

But there is also merit in the argument that, if Sally Quinn and her pals accept something for true, it's a washington truth and there's nothing we can do about it.

Maybe we can use that mistaken impression to our advantage by actually seeming less foreboding to the moderate Repubs and perhaps pass some legislation, like the drug card improvements for example, that could actually, Gasp!, help people.

Now that would be a concept, wouldn't it.

At 12/05/2006 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it your claim that the President of the United States ordered our men and women to die ina War in Iraq simply to "revenge his father"? Please provide a shred of evidence to back-up you wacky claim!

At 12/05/2006 9:54 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Nope. That's not my claim at all. But I feel it was definitely a factor. While Bush was listing Hussein's attrocities at one point, he added, "And he tried to kill my Daddy."

There's also the real factor of psychologically trying to outdo his father. Where Bush Sr. had a brain and realized that marching into Bagdhad would be far too risky with far too many negative consequences, Bush Jr. was determined to do what many right wing war hawks had been whining about ever since the first Gulf War, namely, knocking off Iraq.

None of this can be proven of course, but it's certainly a reasonable speculation as to Bush's motivations. And trust me, I'm not the only one to have mentioned them. I've read it from dozens of other writers and pundits.


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