…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…