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Who bears blame for anti-war failures? (Barf Alert!)
The Politico ^ | September 18, 2007 | Dan Gerstein

Posted on 09/19/2007 12:00:19 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

For many in Washington, the biggest unanswered question from Army. Gen. David Petraeus’ high-profile, low-satisfaction testimony last week was not about military strategy but about political tactics. Why has the anti-war movement been unable to translate the clear public mandate they claim into any clear change in our government’s Iraq policy?

To most war opponents, the blame increasingly lies with the Democratic leadership in Congress, for not taking a hard enough line with President Bush and not fighting to cut off war funding. And their frustration is visibly bubbling over — the provocative group Code Pink, for example, has actually taken to protesting outside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home in San Francisco in recent days

But there is a growing feeling among many Democrats, particularly within the D.C. establishment, that just the opposite is true. They may not say it publicly, for fear of arousing the grass roots’ wrath, but the realist wing of the party seems to think the Democrats’ biggest problem on Iraq these days is not that there’s too much Bush Lite but that there’s too much Bush Left.

Under this view, too many anti-war activists, not satisfied with berating the president, have too often wound up behaving like him. They have gone beyond fighting back and holding the Decider accountable to adopting the same divisive, dogmatic and ultimately destructive style of politics that Democrats have been decrying for the past seven years, with the same counterproductive results.

What’s the basis for that argument? Consider some of these stunningly similar parallels between Bush and his Democratic doppelgängers, along with the ramifications for progressives’ overarching goal of ending the war. (For the record, that is a goal I share, no matter my continued admiration and work for Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, the independent from Connecticut.)

Polarization. As last week’s New York Times magazine reported, the anti-war umbrella coalition Americans Against Escalation in Iraq started the new session of Congress with a clear, common-sense strategy to stop the surge: Turn up the heat on moderate Republicans, especially in the Senate, and separate them from the president.

They got the Democratic leadership to set up a series of confrontations and tough votes, culminating in the infamous all-night Senate session in late July, and launched a $12 million presidential-style campaign with major TV ad buys targeted at critical swing voters.

The trouble is, AAEI and its supporters ran the equivalent of a base-rallying primary campaign to win a general election debate. They mimicked Bush’s polarizing, “with us or against us” rhetoric while doing little to actually persuade their swing voter targets to change or address their legitimate concerns with withdrawal deadlines.

Not surprisingly, this tack largely tanked — the best the Democrats could do after several months of pressure tactics was, in that July showdown, to get four Senate GOP-ers to back a timeline for troop withdrawal, leaving them seven votes short of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster and political light years away from the 67 needed to overcome a veto.

Intransigence. The anti-war movement has rightly castigated Bush for his reflexive inflexibility and, specifically, his maddening decision to stick with the same failed strategy in Iraq.

So what did AAEI and its allies do once it became apparent their pressure campaign was not succeeding in peeling off moderate Republicans? Just like the president — and just as some modest signs of success were emerging from Iraq — they doubled down on their bet and countered with an escalation of their own.

Over the August recess, after the Senate pajama party backfired and prompted the Republican caucus to dig in its heels even deeper, MoveOn Executive Director Eli Pariser said that he appreciated the Senate Democrats’ efforts to force concessions from the minority, but “we’d like to see it go further.”

The movement itself went further by running more hostile ads against Republicans up for reelection in 2008, slamming Reid for suggesting he would pursue a bipartisan compromise without a hard deadline, and setting up the Petraeus report with the now-infamous “General Betray Us” ad in The New York Times.

Cheap shots. That ad, beyond being a terrible tactical blunder, marked a tragic turning point in the Iraq debate, the moment the anti-war movement seemed to fully morph into the thing it hates.

The very same activists who angrily denounced the Rove machine for broadly questioning the patriotism of war critics, and in particular for smearing disabled war hero Max Cleland in the 2002 Georgia Senate race, turned around and attacked a decorated general commanding troops in a shooting war as a liar and a traitor in one of the most visible ways possible.

Some have suggested that the MoveOn ad was a smart move in marketing terms, because its buzz-generating, base-energizing effect will help MoveOn expand its membership ranks. But as one anti-war Democratic strategist told me, that goes to show a fatal flaw in the movement’s MO — it has elevated its own narrow constituency interests above the good of the party.

In this case, the short-term goal for Democrats, as MoveOn’s own Washington director says, continues to be to separate moderate Republicans from Bush. Yet all the MoveOn ad served to do was to alienate them and push them closer to the president.

Unaccountability. One of the Bush traits that galls the progressive community the most is his unwillingness to acknowledge or take responsibility for mistakes. Yet when substantive criticisms like the ones outlined above have been raised about the anti-war movement’s political tactics, the Bush Left has pointed fingers everywhere but at itself.

Instead, many in the movement have opted to punish their friends — a campaign is now forming online to mount primary challenges against so-called “Bush Dog” Democrats from swing House districts who voted for the big war funding bill in May.

One of the few exceptions to this rule recently came from Leslie Cagan, national coordinator of United for Peace and Justice.

In the Times magazine profile on AAEI, she questioned the anti-war movement’s over-reliance on the Internet as a means of mobilizing opposition to the war, saying it has “undermined a little the more traditional approach to organizing, where you go and knock on doors and talk to people. ... People think, ‘Oh, well, I’ve signed a petition online, so I’ve done my bit.’ So I think a lot of us as organizers have become a little sloppy. We haven’t put enough attention into talking to our neighbors, talking on the shopping line.”

Not exactly a stinging rebuke, but it is revealing nonetheless — in large part because it helps to explain why the anti-war movement has failed to force a wholesale change in our Iraq policy.

As Cagan suggests, AAEI and its allies have been borrowing a page from Karl Rove’s discredited playbook and talking the most to the people who agree with them most — and, it should be noted, in terms that won’t resonate with the people they need the most. In doing so, they have failed to enlarge their base and enhance their strength — which is precisely what they have to do to swing moderate Republicans in Congress to their side.

That is not to say, however, that the anti-war movement’s pressure campaign has been a failure. Indeed, the great irony here, as one Democratic strategist told me, is that AAEI and its supporters could credibly claim some measure of victory if they were not so absolutist in their demands.

Their strategy, while executed in a flawed way, has still paid significant dividends: More and more moderate Republicans are on edge and ready to vote for a change in course. And Bush’s announcement last week of a small troop withdrawal by the end of the year, as unsatisfying as it was to war opponents, was a concession in the right direction.

However, for the anti-war forces to consolidate and build on those gains, they are probably going to have to make some concessions of their own and accept some kind of bipartisan compromise along the lines that Reid is proposing.

The fact is, the swing Republicans whom Democrats need are even less inclined to support a hard deadline post-Petraeus, and they are never going to vote to cut off funding. But they will be hard-pressed to reject the political lifeline that Reid wants to offer them, which would increase the number of Republicans formally breaking with the president and accelerate the momentum for a true change in course.

In the end, much like the war itself, there are no good choices here for progressives. But they are inevitably going to have to decide what’s more important: prolonging their war with Bush or ending the one in Iraq.

---------------------------------------------------------

Dan Gerstein, a Democratic strategist and political commentator based in New York, is a regular Politico columnist.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; Politics/Elections; US: California; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 911truthers; aaei; answer; antisemites; antiwar; bush; canswer; cindysheehan; codepink; codepinko; communists; congress; cutandrun; democraticcongress; democrats; gatheringofeagles; generalpetraeus; gop; iraq; karlrove; moonbats; moveon; nancypelosi; peacecreeps; petraeus; petraeusreport; presidentbush; republicans; tinfoil; treason; usefulidiots; wot
Amazing how many lies can be shoe-horned into so few paragraphs.
1 posted on 09/19/2007 12:00:24 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The truth is, that during the 60’s most young Americans were not part of the counter culture movement. They were patriotic Americans who actually admired their parents generation. I was ten years old in 1967. I didn’t like Hippies then and I like them less now.


2 posted on 09/19/2007 12:07:25 PM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
So The Politico let's ignorant liberals write for them?

How disappointing

3 posted on 09/19/2007 12:08:15 PM PDT by TexasCajun
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

When you live in the liberal altered reality state it is easy to pack in the lies. Truth is entirely relative and subject to be re-invented if it does not fit with their agendas. Page 2, top of the page of the liberal handbook.


4 posted on 09/19/2007 12:08:26 PM PDT by stm (Fred Thompson in 08!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“Democrats’ biggest problem on Iraq these days is not that there’s too much Bush Lite but that there’s too much Bush Left.”

The Democrats biggest problem is that they won’t be able to get President Bush to accept the defeat that they have been pushing for.


5 posted on 09/19/2007 12:11:42 PM PDT by tobyhill (The media lies so much the truth is the exception)
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To: massgopguy

I was seven that year, but I remember. Many people voted for George Wallace in 1968 as a protest against the counter culture. I think Ameriprise Financial is making a mistake using Dennis Hopper as their spokeman. That will alienate over half of the Boomers.


6 posted on 09/19/2007 12:13:47 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (https://www.fred08.com/contribute.aspx?RefererID=c637caaa-315c-4b4c-9967-08d864cd0791)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Actually, its a candid assessment of the Left's own extremism. These people shoot themselves in the foot when compromise would do them good. In essence, they've emerged with the same traits they hate in the President and in the process, they've turned off the moderate middle. Good job, MoveOn!

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

7 posted on 09/19/2007 12:13:55 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"Why has the anti-war movement been unable to translate the clear public mandate they claim into any clear change in our government’s Iraq policy?"

Because they have abandoned true liberal policy for political gain? Ya think?

8 posted on 09/19/2007 12:15:12 PM PDT by Earthdweller (All reality is based on faith in something.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Why isn't the "antiwar" movement gaining traction in DC? First, because a claimed "mandate" isn't a real one, and just talking about it as if it were an established fact makes the speaker look parochial and foolish. Second, because we aren't losing, and just talking about it as if it were an established fact makes the speaker look parochial and foolish. Third, because those of us forced to participate in the great Vietnam media follies got a bellyful of bullsh*t and aren't going to let it happen again. And fourth, because the incredible smugness and moral superiority of the "antiwar" side doesn't really translate into votes in the real world and the Dems in Congress know it.

The best way to stop a war is to win it. Someone who is truly anti-war instead of merely anti-Bush or anti-American would recognize that. The people we're fighting aren't into negotiations unless it's a surrender and that turns out to be a tough sell in DC. What surprises me is that it surprises anyone.

9 posted on 09/19/2007 12:21:15 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: massgopguy

From what I’ve read about many of the 1960s “rallies”, some band would be giving a free concert in the park and some stinking socialists would take the stage (and the mike) away from the performers.

The crowds were not always gathered for political reasons. But the politicos claimed them as their “supporters”.


10 posted on 09/19/2007 12:29:29 PM PDT by weegee (NO THIRD TERM. America does not need another unconstitutional Clinton co-presidency.)
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To: Earthdweller

“Why has the anti-war movement been unable to translate the clear public mandate they claim into any clear change in our government’s Iraq policy?”
_________________________________________________________
For a self proclaimed anti-war pol/leader to actually get a resolution to the war by bringing home the troops, etc., is like asking a skunk to take a bath.

He/she would suddenly be transformed into someone w/o a cause in which to be a leader. Like the freshly bathed skunk, the pol would initially “smell better” but ultimately return to the “smelly and anonomous beast” he is.


11 posted on 09/19/2007 12:31:07 PM PDT by crazyshrink
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
".. there are no good choices here for progressives.."

I disagree. Lefties, like they did before the air campaign against Saddam, can go to Iraq and be human shields. I suggest hundreds of thousands can disperse amongst the noble liberation fighters. I'll call them Carrie Brigades, in memory of Rachel Carrie, Peace Be Upon Her.

12 posted on 09/19/2007 12:40:54 PM PDT by Leisler (Just be glad you're not getting all the Government you pay for.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Why has the anti-war movement been unable to translate the clear public mandate they claim into any clear change in our government’s Iraq policy?

Because nobody is being drafted out of his safe, soft life.

13 posted on 09/19/2007 12:41:40 PM PDT by Publius (A = A)
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To: crazyshrink
Yes...and that mysterious “skunk” smell they carry around with them is the scent of communism.
14 posted on 09/19/2007 12:41:58 PM PDT by Earthdweller (All reality is based on faith in something.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Might I make a suggestion?

Don’t read beyond the headline.

My point being, isn’t that very very satisfying, in light of what we all thought after last November’s election cycle?

This is the only way a liberal can admit defeat...yep, the ‘reasoning’ found in this article is pathetic, but focus on the big, bright, glowing ‘warm fuzzy’ the title gives you, when you think it over.

Hope that helps. It sure gives me pleasure.

6 for 06 has turned into ‘1 and done’. And note the latest polling data on the congress itself, its never been lower from what I’m seeing.


15 posted on 09/19/2007 12:44:31 PM PDT by Badeye (You know its a kook site when they ban the word 'kook')
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To: Leisler

Not to be picky, but you misspelled piss, as in “piss be upon her” ref: Rachel Corrie.


16 posted on 09/19/2007 12:44:32 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (https://www.fred08.com/contribute.aspx?RefererID=c637caaa-315c-4b4c-9967-08d864cd0791)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

That would be a waste of good, natural ammonia.


17 posted on 09/19/2007 12:48:56 PM PDT by Leisler (Just be glad you're not getting all the Government you pay for.)
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To: crazyshrink
The Democrats won control of the House and Senate last fall, but the Nutroots overreached in claiming a mandate they were not given to "end the war now." Just like Hillary Clinton thought she had a mandate to socialize health care in 1993. Democrats constantly overreach when they win. They do not know the art of compromise or conciliation. They were SOBs when they ran the House for 40 years before 1994 and they are SOBs now.

The last paragraph of the article really says it all. This is NOT an anti-war movement, it is an anti-Bush movement dressed up in an anti-war movement's clothing. They do not see surrender in Iraq as bad for America, just bad for George Bush and so it must happen.

18 posted on 09/19/2007 12:51:51 PM PDT by Dems_R_Losers (Remember the Pentagon - - www.pentagonmemorial.net)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; All

“However, for the anti-war forces to consolidate and build on those gains, they are probably going to have to make some concessions of their own and accept some kind of bipartisan compromise along the lines that Reid is proposing.”

Be prepared to see more and more of this type of persuasion coming from the left. They know Hillary will be the candidate and are attempting to assuage the anti-war crowd and get them back into the fold. Kos is doing the same with his folks.


19 posted on 09/19/2007 12:55:30 PM PDT by sageb1 (This is the Final Crusade. There are only 2 sides. Pick one.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

There’s not one word in this screed about what’s in the United States’ interests or in the best interest of our national security. Not one. Nothing about winning; nothing about furthering our national interests; nothing about the interests of Iraqis in having a free nation; nothing but their moronic plan to ensure a defeat and a crushing blow to our national credibility. Morons, every one of them.


20 posted on 09/19/2007 12:56:14 PM PDT by hsalaw
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To: Dems_R_Losers
The Nutroots really didn't overreach. They were used and were too dumb to realize that. They were responsible for the Dems winning in '06 and they were allowed to believe that they would be rewarded with the end of the war and the impeachment of Bush. Now they are po'd.

You are right that most don't understand the art of compromise, but that stems from being raised as spoiled brats who always got their way and who have still not grown up.

You are also correct that it was never really about the war. It was about Bush. Soros's hatred for Bush spread like a cancer. President wasn't the one who divided this nation. It was Soros and his minions - people like Ritter and Kucinich, Medea Benjamin, et al, who in turn used Sheehan. It was the leftist media who were worried about their bottom line in the international markets.

The whole thing nauseates me.

21 posted on 09/19/2007 1:13:14 PM PDT by sageb1 (This is the Final Crusade. There are only 2 sides. Pick one.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Because THIS time there is a new media that does not push the only view as the antiwar view.

THIS time we hear from the soldiers via email and direct interviews.

THIS time we see the smelly stink repusive nature of the left protesting.

THIS time they can’t use creative edits to allow walter cronkite to conceal victory with defeat.

THIS time American has a voice.

To those sticky, leftists we sing: “alllll we are saaaaaying issss give soaaaap a chanceeeeee.”


22 posted on 09/19/2007 1:22:39 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: sageb1
....it was never really about the war. It was about Bush.

Bush represents everything the left is in opposition to. He's a WASP capitalist male, an equal opportunity punching bag for racists, christianophobes, communists, gay militants, feminazis and Islamofascists.

That said...he's right about the Wot and they can't see past their collective political noses.

Blindness becomes them.

23 posted on 09/19/2007 1:30:10 PM PDT by Earthdweller (All reality is based on faith in something.)
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To: weegee

During The Who’s set at Woodstock, Abbie Hoffman took to the stage and grabbed Pete Townsend’s microphone, and just as he was in the middle of yelling, “Free Rubin Sinclair”, Townsend “El Kabonged” him over the head with his SG.


24 posted on 09/19/2007 2:02:45 PM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“Who bears blame for anti-war failures?”
Off hand, I would say our brave war fighters and their support units, but that just me.


25 posted on 09/19/2007 2:05:21 PM PDT by jmaroneps37 (Union work: comparable value for twice the price.)
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To: TexasCajun
So The Politico let's ignorant liberals write for them?

Who did you think started the site? A couple of ex-WaPo jerkwaters. What else would one expect.

26 posted on 09/19/2007 2:10:35 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: hsalaw
There’s not one word in this screed about what’s in the United States’ interests or in the best interest of our national security.

There never is. The Left does not want the US to flourish or succeed, because the US stands in the way of their global agenda. That's why we have to fight these simpering 'rat-bastards.

Yes, after you strip away all the sludge and BS, it really is that simple.

27 posted on 09/19/2007 2:16:44 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: hsalaw

Thank you! I noticed this too. The whole article is bemoaning the failure to “get Bush”. No mention of what a free democratic Iraq would mean for the middle east, or what a withdrawal would do to “innocent Iraqis” that liberals care so much for.
BTW, to the other poster who thought Dennis Hopper is a mistaken spokesman for some financial services business. Hopper is a conservative republican. Even though he was a big hippie in the 60’s.


28 posted on 09/19/2007 2:52:18 PM PDT by boop (Trunk Monkey. Is there anything he can't do?)
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To: massgopguy

Prior to the event, the Yippies and the Black Panthers blackmailed the backers of the original Woodstock Festival for $10,000 and booth space (they threatened to slur the event and cause physical problems before/during if their demands were not met).


29 posted on 09/19/2007 3:28:45 PM PDT by weegee (NO THIRD TERM. America does not need another unconstitutional Clinton co-presidency.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
YOU WANT A BARF ALERT!!??

A Big CHUCKY-CHEESE SCHUMMER-DOG B-A-R-F ALERT!!

Did you check out Cheesy's Comment -found quoted from his other, typical Anti-American , Anti-Troop, Anti-Bush and Gen. Patraeus comments?! Found on http://mcr.org

He stated AFTER everyone was agreeing that the Troops have made such GREAT STRIDES that,"...any progress wasn't made BECAUSE of the SURGE-but rather DESPITE it!!"

Go leave it to the Biggest Traitor to America -who should know what a be-heading feels like- to say something like that!

Almost as bad as Biden's "..well-I don't think it's (Iraqi's Winning their War TOGETHER & Struggle for DEMOCRACY with U.S. and Coalition Troops -but I wish you luck.."

Gee-Wiz! THAT was awefully NICE of him! Warner-Rankle Butt and the rest- and ALL RINOs must GO!

Thanks for the post! God Bless you 2nd Division Vet! OOH-RAH!


30 posted on 09/20/2007 7:52:22 PM PDT by AirBorn
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

HOW STRANGE—AFTER 9-11-01 THE COUNTRY WAS UNITED FOR ABOUT TWO WEEKS.

WE WERE ATTACKED AND YET WE, AMERICA, ARE SUPPOSED TO SURRENDER?

NOW WE ARE FIGHTING TERRORISM AND THE SOCIALISTIC- DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS HELPING THEM.

WHERE IS OUR COUNTRY?

THE DEMOCRAT/SOCIALISTS WANT THE WORLD TO LOVE THEM. WHAT FOOLS WE MORTALS BE.

IF YOU VOTE FOR THE OLE GRAY MARE YOU DESERVE SOCIALISM.


31 posted on 09/21/2007 12:38:27 AM PDT by joydoc (ILLEGAL ALIENS HAVE NO RIGHT TO OUR SOCIAL SECURITY MONEY OR ANYTHING ELSE IN AMERICA)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

HOW STRANGE—AFTER 9-11-01 THE COUNTRY WAS UNITED FOR ABOUT TWO WEEKS.

WE WERE ATTACKED AND YET WE, AMERICA, ARE SUPPOSED TO SURRENDER?

NOW WE ARE FIGHTING TERRORISM AND THE SOCIALISTIC- DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS HELPING THEM.

WHERE IS OUR COUNTRY?

THE DEMOCRAT/SOCIALISTS WANT THE WORLD TO LOVE THEM. WHAT FOOLS WE MORTALS BE.

IF YOU VOTE FOR THE OLE GRAY MARE YOU DESERVE SOCIALISM.


32 posted on 09/21/2007 12:38:28 AM PDT by joydoc (ILLEGAL ALIENS HAVE NO RIGHT TO OUR SOCIAL SECURITY MONEY OR ANYTHING ELSE IN AMERICA)
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