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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Today's New York Times

Posted by Bob Brigham

Headline: Roadside Blast Kills Four U.S. Soldiers
Headline: Bombings Kill 43 at Key Terminal for Buses in Iraq:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 17 - Three car bombs exploded Wednesday in quick succession in and around a crowded bus station in Baghdad, killing at least 43 people, injuring 88 and paralyzing one of Iraq's most important transportation networks.

Headline: Turning Out to Support a Mother's Protest:

CRAWFORD, Tex., Aug. 17 - Supporters of Cindy Sheehan held more than 1,500 candlelight vigils across the country on Wednesday night in solidarity with this mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, who has set up a protest encampment down the road from President Bush's ranch here.

Headline: Bad Iraq News Worries Some in G.O.P. on '06

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 - A stream of bad news out of Iraq, echoed at home by polls that show growing impatience with the war and rising disapproval of President Bush's Iraq policies, is stirring political concern in Republican circles, party officials said Wednesday.

Some said that the perception that the war was faltering was providing a rallying point for dispirited Democrats and could pose problems for Republicans in the Congressional elections next year.

Republicans said a convergence of events - including the protests inspired by the mother of a slain American soldier outside Mr. Bush's ranch in Texas, the missed deadline to draft an Iraqi Constitution and the spike in casualties among reservists - was creating what they said could be a significant and lasting shift in public attitude against the war.

The Republicans described that shift as particularly worrisome, occurring 14 months before the midterm elections. As further evidence, they pointed to a special election in Ohio two weeks ago, where a Democratic marine veteran from Iraq who criticized the invasion decision came close to winning in a district that should have easily produced a Republican victory.

Time to fight in every precinct in every district in every state -- every day.

Posted at 04:06 PM in 2006 Elections, International | Technorati


    Paul Hackett,
an Iraq war veteran and a Democrat running in a heavily Republican district, almost beat the GOP candidate in a special congressional election in Ohio, winning 48 percent of the vote, against the 52 percent won by Rob Portman, the Republican incumbent in 2004. The Republicans are running scared on the war issue, and GOPers are defecting from the ranks of the War Party in droves:

    "'There is just no enthusiasm for this war – nobody is happy about it,' said Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., R-Tenn., who opposes the war. 'It certainly is not going to help Republican candidates, I can tell you that much.' Rep. Wayne Gilchrist, R-Md., who originally supported the war but has since turned against it, said he had encountered 'a lot of Republicans grousing about the situation as a whole, and how they have to respond to a lot of questions back home.'"

Looks like the debate has overtaken the debaters

Antiwar Populism:
>The Floodgates Open

Russ Feingold, Chuck Hagel, and Cindy Sheehan give voice to the pro-peace zeitgeist
by Justin Raimondo

It's amusing to watch the utter powerlessness of the neocon attack machine as they try – without success – to smear Cindy Sheehan. Matt Drudge is heaving spittle at his computer screen, and Karl Rove must be having nightmares about this courageous albeit heartbroken housewife from Vacaville as she faces down his attack dogs and skewers them with the sheer simplicity and moral authority of her message. Amid all the debate and speculation – is she losing her "authenticity" as MoveOn.org moves in on her, and the professional handlers start to hover? – antiwar conservative Pat Buchanan had the most astute (and timely) analysis on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews last night:

"Something like 60 percent of the country do not believe the president is doing a good job in leading in the war. And I think she has given a voice and a face and a certain moral authority and authenticity to this giant protest movement. And Norah [O'Donnel], I'm telling you, I believe that some Democratic candidate, or some Democratic senator or governor is going to try to step forward the way McGovern did and Gene McCarthy did to give political leadership to this movement."

Even as Pat was speaking, his prediction was coming true: Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), a prospective Democratic candidate for president, was telling U.S. News it's time to set a deadline – Dec. 31, 2006 – for withdrawing our troops from Iraq. He'll make the announcement today, at a "listening session" in Marquette, Wisc. Said Feingold:

"I call what I am doing breaking the taboo. The senators have been intimidated and are not talking about a timeframe. We have to make it safe to go in the water and discuss this. A person shouldn't be accused of not supporting troops just because we want some clarity on our mission in Iraq."

The Democrats, Feingold avers, are too timid when it comes to confronting the president on the war, and he's right about that: it was, after all, two Republicans, Reps. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and Ron Paul (R-Texas), who took the lead in introducing a resolution calling for the beginning of a U.S. withdrawal no later than Oct. 1, 2006 (although it was co-sponsored from the start by two Democrats, Neil Abercrombie and Dennis Kucinich, Jones, being a Republican, was more visible and took the most heat). With national polls showing support for the war plummeting, it's time for the Democrats to play some catch-up, but the party honchos are slow to realize their opportunity – or have ideological problems with doing so. As Ari Berman, writing in The Nation, put it:

"The prominence of party leaders like [Senator Joseph C.] Biden and [Hillary] Clinton, and of a slew of other potential prowar candidates who support the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, presents the Democrats with an odd dilemma: At a time when the American people are turning against the Iraq War and favor a withdrawal of U.S. troops, and British and American leaders are publicly discussing a partial pullback, the leading Democratic presidential candidates for '08 are unapologetic war hawks. Nearly 60 percent of Americans now oppose the war, according to recent polling. Sixty-three percent want U.S. troops brought home within the next year. Yet a recent National Journal 'insiders poll' found that a similar margin of Democratic members of Congress reject setting any timetable. The possibility that America's military presence in Iraq may be doing more harm than good is considered beyond the pale of 'sophisticated' debate."

Posted by: John McCutchen [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 19, 2005 12:27 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment