…he is us. Over at Open Left, Chris Bowers relates the results of some polling. Democratic voters were asked the following question:
Now I’m going to read you a list of people, organizations. For each person or organization, please tell me which of the following four choices comes closest to what you think their view is on what the U.S. should do in Iraq?
The respondents had four choices:
1. Make no cutbacks in U.S. troops in Iraq.
2. Leave a substantial number of troops in Iraq, but have them concentrate on training Iraqis and targeting Al Qaeda leaders in Iraq.
3. Start withdrawing troops within the next three months, with all troops out within nine months from now.
4. Begin an immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops in Iraq.
As Bowers notes:
While these plans do not exactly matchup with existing Democratic plans on Iraq, they are pretty close. Biden, Clinton, Dodd, and Obama basically support option #2, Richardson and Kucinich support some combination of options #3 and #4, and Edwards is something of a hybrid between #2, #3 and #4.
What we have here is a staggering divorcing of reality and desire. Bowers predicts a “rude awakening”:
The lack of voter education on presidential candidate plans for Iraq is both breathtaking and frightening. Unless something changes in the next few months, voters will be in for a rude awakening when they find out that virtually every candidate for President with a real chance of becoming the nominee of either major party, save possibly Edwards and definitely save Richardson, are way more hawkish on Iraq than they are believed to be. Democratic voters might be in for a particularly rude awakening in the general election, or at least some point in 2009, when they find out the candidate they nominated is actually in favor of keeping a substantial number of troops in Iraq.
Bowers is also worried about the potential of a big con:
…if Democrats end up nominating a candidate who supports a substantial residual forces plan while thinking that candidate will actually withdraw virtually all troops in a short period of time, then basically our party will have been hoodwinked in a manner not unlike the way the war was first sold to the American public back in 2002 and 2003. While that will be incredibly depressing and infuriating, it also won’t be that much of a huge surprise. After all, most of the Democratic foreign policy elite behind the substantial residual forces plan actually helped sell the Iraq war before it began. The obfuscation used to continue American military involvement in Iraq never ceases, and it seems the players involved never change.
Here’s where I disagree with Bowers: the Democratic Party is currently being hoodwinked. There’s no future tense here–it’s happening right now. And there are specific people doing the specific hoodwinking: Senator Clinton, Senator Obama, and possibly Senator Edwards.
We wonder why the Democratic Party doesn’t take the rank-and-file seriously. It’s because we punk ourselves. It’s one thing to lose because the numbers are against you, but these delusional views of the major Democratic candidates engender nothing but contempt from Democratic politicians and political operatives. Then the Democratic rank-and-file wonder why they feel so divorced from their political leadership…
Excellent post! Thank you.
I’d like to add that after 20 devoted years of being a registered Democrat, I’m leaving the party. Why? Because the Democratic leadership, when not lying, are spineless b@stards. Bush should have been impeached two years ago. WTF is the party doing? Holding dinner parties???
:::washing my hands of them:::
I may have no “place” (party) to go too (eh, the Greens? Libertarians? Post Fugelism Womanist Party?) but come ON. Enough is enough. They get no more of my $$$.
The ‘rank-and-file’ are deluding themselves on the ‘leadership’s’ ending the war, yes, but I don’t think the solution is to leave the party. Rather, we should take over the State Democratic parties and change it from within. We have to patiently but firmly retrain our representatives to both listen to their base and not get suckered by the insane gibbering from the fearmongering fascists. And if they can’t do both of those, well, that’s why we have primaries.
As for Edwards, well, he’s vastly better on domestic issues than Clinton or Obama(his New Hampshire speech is being dutifully ignored by the corporate media – go check it out). And by this poll he’s better on Iraq than them (though not perfect).
Two years ago it would have been impossible to impeach him. But that’s no excuse for declaring it “off the table” now.
It disturbs me how many people pay no attention to the actual positions and actions of these candidates.
Dennis in 2008!
As the Ridger says, vote for Dennis. The more democrats vote for Dennis, the more the winner will doubt their own plan to keep troops in Iraq.
Well, it’s not really a hoodwink if the plans are openly stated, but media fails to pick up on it and/or people fail to heed the message. It’d be nive to think people make an effort to research what exactly they’re voting for, but it just doesn’t happen enough to make a difference.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again:
The problem with democracy is that humans are idiots.
The problem with your democracy is that, by enforcing a two party system, you eliminate the protest vote. People are afraid to vote for the people they might like to because they think their vote won’t count – which is largely true if they vote outside of the big two. In civilised countries (ok, Australia) our vote stays in play, so if your first choice can’t win, it goes to the second, and so on.
You can’t vote Hilary because you’re worried others won’t vote for her. You can’t vote Nader becuase you know it takes a vote away from voting *against* the Republicans. With a preferential voting system you could vote Nader -> Hilary -> Obama, and when the masses reject the first two your vote still goes to the third.
You know it makes sense.
How is it democracy if you can’t vote for the people you want to vote for? Or, at least, you can’t make it count…
PS: to make it clearer, I mean that in the US system you have to second-guess how everyone else is going to vote. No democracy should make you do that, and a preferential voting system takes that problem away.
Maybe everyone in the US wants to vote for a thrid party candidate, but becuase they think no-one else will, they don’t…
Demacratic party meets pogo
It goes beyond that. I think the two main parties actively conspire through rhetoric to force the moderates to one of their side. After all, that way they at least both get 40+% of the vote.
ahh ulen be yazdiklarindan bisi anlamiyorum