Sunday, August 27, 2006
The situation has put both parties in hypocritical positions. Republicans, who have frequently painted Lieberman as a leftist, are now supporting his views as being reasonable and moderate. Democrats are abandoning one of the ranking members of their party in the Senate, at a time when every seat will be critical for control of the Senate. Liberal blogs have turned on Lieberman faster than you can say "spin that dradle", and many of their attacks have been complete misrepresentations. Partisanship is in full swing.
The problem for the Democrats is that, as a party, they have taken the wrong position on the Iraq War. While setting a deadline to bring the troops home from what has been a debacle at every stage, seems like a perfectly reasonable stance to take, the execution of this strategy by Democrats like John Kerry has been poor. Setting arbitrary deadlines for troop withdrawal and leaving Iraq in a state of chaos is not a viable option at this point. Lieberman, Hillary Clinton and others in the Democratic party have had the right idea, which is to force the Bush Administration to set a timeline with tangible criteria for troop withdrawl.
As it stands now, the Bush Administration has no metric for success in Iraq. Bush is indifferent to the fact that we will be there "as long as he's President." Unfortuntaely, this is no better than saying "Bring the Troops Home for Christmas." The lack of an acceptable criteria for withdrawl is an example of how poorly thought-out the Bush Administration's strategy for Iraq has been from the beginning. Democrats have an opportunity to re-shape our strategy in Iraq, and set themselves up to the White House in 2008, by campaigning under a viable timeline for success in Iraq. This is something the Republicans can't campaign against, and haven't come up with on their own.
Instead, Democrats continue to present a fractured front on the issue, focusing on political polarization instead of actual policy steps to get us out of the mess that Bush got us into. It's a golden opportunity, and it's obviously more important for us to be the opposite of the Republicans, instead of finding reasonable solutions to these problems.