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I've noticed the same tendencies in the Democratic majority in Congress, but I guess I'm more hopeful than you. The modern Congress doesn't function well without executive leadership (I guess the Newt-led 1990s Congress is an exception...perhaps its just Democratic-led legislative majorities that don't function well without executive leadership!). I'm hopeful that, once a presidential candidate has been selected, the party will coalesce around that candidate and we'll see more unity of effort and message!


I completely agree with you. Either the Dems are playing out the Iraq war and related GWOT issues out as ammunition for the 2008 elections or they're just merely incompetent after years of being ignored. I'd like to think it's the former, but not sure I like that either. It's been very frustrating to watch the Dems flounder around as the Repubs continue their very partisan opposition to any changes in the status quo.

However, having said that, I think I speak for the lurkers out here when I say, we miss your insightful discussions on national security issues and military affairs. Don't let The Man drag you down. You should keep on writing, educate us and let's dialogue.

Andrew R.

I've been reading your blog for a while (nice, center-left commentary on military affairs), but you never struck me as one the immediate unconditional withdrawal guys.


I have come to the same place of disgust, but started from the position of actually voting for Bush (the first time). Your insightful and honest observations, along with my own sense of betrayal, has led me to abandon party loyalty altogether and begin thinking critically about a great many things. I can't speak for THE world, but your bloggin has nudged MY world in a much more positive direction.
Ron Paul is serious about the return to the Constitution that the Democrats were supposed to provide. His candidacy is providing me with what little hope I still have for our political process. I don't agree with everything he says, but I do respect the fact that he bases his positions on reasoned, Constitutional principles that I can support even if I disagree with his interpretation or application of those principles. The lesser of two evils is still evil, and I finally feel like I can vote for good. Check him out.


I'm not an "immediate withdrawal guy." I do believe that the United States has lost the Iraq war, based on whatever version of the murky, mercurial war aims the Bush Administration set at various points. Sure, counterinsurgency and counterterrorism require long campaigns, but there is no substantial progress towards a more stable, legitimate Iraqi regime. Even that outcome doesn't automatically translate into the successful achievement of US national security objectives.

Which points to another great political flaw, on the part of the Dems: why wait on asserting more Congressional control of our Iraq strategy? Why set up a potential Democratic president to be the fall guy responsible for declaring defeat? Even if you believe in the Rahm Emanuel strategy (get a Democrat in the White House), that's hardly a brilliant political strategem.


Glad that we have activity here again.

The disgust with the Democratic party and the limited change resulting from a midterm election are both excellent illustrations for why we need a conversation in this country about multiparty politics and about fundamental institutional reform. About democratization, that is, while our government becomes more authoritarian day by day, and our supposed "opposition" collaborates rather than opposes.

On those fronts, my reason for blogging is pretty much the same as Kingdaddy's ("you hope that you might nudge the world in a slightly more positive direction.") However, I spend a lot less time at Fruits & Votes on those themes, or on the problems with the current administration's supposed "opposition" than I used to, due to precisely the same sort of disgust mentioned here by Kingdaddy.

As for the Democrats and not taking more confrontational ("offensive") strategies, I no longer think this is the reason: "hey don't take risks that might lose them votes."

Sure, such a stance would be bold, but given the state of public opinion now, is there really much chance they would lose votes for aggressively going after this administration and its program of military domination leading to war without end?

I think they are more concerend with losing money than with votes. As in the big financiers of presidential and congressional campaigns don't want the boat rocked. Some GOP money is going to go to Clinton because she is safe. She can get the GOP out of office for 4 (or, worst case, 8) years, but she has made it abundantly clear that she differs only at the margins from the permanent-war policies of the incumbents. And her presidency will be great for resumed GOP fundraising in 2009 and beyond, and probably for winning back the House in 2010.

If that isn't an argument for establishing a new party that actually works on behalf of citizens, and for reforming American institutions, then I will submit that there must indeed be no such arguments.


Kingdaddy says:

1. I'm not an "immediate withdrawal guy."

2. I do believe that the United States has lost the Iraq war.

Am I the only one who detects a logical problem with sentence two following immediately upon sentence one?

Usually defeated parties withdraw from the scene of their defeat. And now is as good a time as any. Or at least of any time that has not already passed.


It all depends on how you disengage, and how much support you provide for the people left behind.

Andrew R.

Okay, Izzat al-Douri (or Ayub al-Masri) in charge of Iraq (or a rump Ba'ath/Salafi state) is a loss. I don't see how that outcome is by any means inevitable at this point.


Very glad to see Kingdaddy writing again. Sadly, I share his feeling in spades. And I'm convinced that anybody who expects "leadership" from a Dem president is setting himself up for an even more bitter disappointment. Hell, they've already telegraphed that they're going to keep on keeping on in Iraq through their first term. It's their version of Pelosi's idiotic, gutless and shameful refusal to even *consider* impeachment. What they're saying is that they're not responsible -- it's their turn at the trough, and that's what matters. The corporate donors are casting the only ballots that really matter, now, long before the first lever is ever pulled.

And I'm not convinced any longer that traditional Democratic spinelessness and gutlessness explain why we're still shambling along in Iraq. I suspect the Dems *like* having the war as a campaign issue. I'm certain they love running against Bush. What semi-sentient politician wouldn't? He's justifiably loathed.

But in the end, with dauntingly few exceptions*, the Dems are pipsqueaks. Personalities don't matter much. I think that what the last few years have shown is that the Constitution is totally outmoded. The political structure it set up is now incapable of responding to external reality. Supposedly a Constitutional Convention is the remedy for that, but who would you trust to attend? And who do you think would end up actually calling the shots?

Anyway, before I scrap my Democratic Party registration -- after 30 years -- I'm casting one last primary vote for Kucinich. I'm not writing any checks or volunteering for any campaigns this time. It's quite possible that I won't even bother to show up for the general election.

* James Webb seems to mean what he says. To my knowledge he's the only Dem who's tried to head off a bigger disaster in Iran in a serious way. Not that it's done much good....


sglover: "Anyway, before I scrap my Democratic Party registration -- after 30 years -- I'm casting one last primary vote for Kucinich."

Yes, that is precisely where I am, other than that I can't claim 30 years of Dem registration. Close, though, with a couple of exceptions for specific primary seasons.

The one thing I will not do, however, is sit out the general election. Unless, that is, Democrats successfully keep a Green or other peace-and-public-goods candidate off the ballot. Which is possible.


Hey Kingdaddy.

I just wanted to encourage your noble and valuable contribution to collective dialogue.

Please remember that your writing IS hopeful. Inherently. The act of blogging is, itself, deeply human and transpersonal. You throw idea-stones onto the "pond", people become part of the ripple of ideas as they encounter and spread them...

Please don't be tempted by silence.

Only silence is hopeless.

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