TPM Reader MA responds

June 19, 2006 1:46 p.m.

TPM Reader MA responds on our Iraq policy and our earlier post

It is true that the Dems don’t agree on what to do but the Dems, all Dems — except maybe Joe Lieberman and he doesn’t count anyway — agree that the U.S. needs to change course starting with actually having a plan AND a healthy, open debate about what is best for our country.

I’m a rare breed of Dem who believes Iraq was a disaster from the start but since we are there we have an obligation to position it for future success and security before we leave. What is happening now is a continuation of the incompetence that has been running the show from the start. If we won the war, we are losing the peace.

Competence in foreign policy seems like a political winner for the Dems. Level with the American people about what is really going on there, put a plan in place to restore order and fix infrustructure, and then get out of there.

TPM Reader RC also shares his views …

Something in your post this morning really clicked for me, and I’d like you to put a sharper point on it from here on out. I’d like to see the main Democratic talking point become, “Bush will be in Iraq forever. Period. The Democrats will extricate us. Period.” And let the administration convince the public otherwise. I think if the Dems just keep saying, over and over, “Republicans want us there forever, that’s why we have no timetables, that’s why THEY ARE building permanent bases, etc.,” this would be a useful evolution of the basic description of the situation.

That is the policy.

Finally, there’s TPM Reader TM

To further what you said, I think the notion that there has to be a unified Democratic plan on Iraq shows a complete misreading of the political situation. Bush is the President until 2009. The Dems won’t have any means of actually implementing any plan they come up with for 2.5 years, at the earliest. Additionally, any plan created now would be done without even knowing who the (hopefully) Democratic President in 2008 would be, or whether he or she would have any support for this hypothetical plan. All of this makes any plan created now worse than useless – not adding value and merely serving as a target for GOP attacks.

The 2006 Congressional election should not, and cannot be about the Democrats plan, or lack thereof, for Iraq. Instead, they should be about accountability for the actual actions of the current President and the current Congress. Any attempt to ask Democratic candidates what their plan is for Iraq should be met with a “I am not the President, and won’t have the power to implement any such plan if elected, so that is a ridiculous request. What I *can* do, however, is hold this administration accountable for their mistakes. Do you want more Iraqs and disastrous responses to natural disasters? Or do you want a Congress that thinks ‘checks and balances’ means ‘holding the President accountable’, not being the President’s rubber stamp. Never was the wisdom of our nation’s founders more apparant in the need for a Congress as a check on the President, and never has there been a Congress as woefully inadequate in*being* a check on the President”.

The question of the Democratic plan for Iraq is something that has to wait until 2008, when it is actually relevant.

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