Two stories in the Los Angeles Times today underscore my reasons for joining the California Peace and Freedom Party. With a stated mission of “moving the party towards the center” (the Kerry-Edwards platform in 2004 was already barely distinguishable from that of the Republicans), the Democratic Leadership Council unveiled a plan that would do some good, with “proposals to make college tuition and home-buying more accessible, expand the availability of healthcare, and provide greater retirement security — all leavened with a smidgen of Bush-bashing.” Senator Hillary Clinton, often spoken of as a contender for the 2008 presidential nomination, “said a Democratic-run Congress would investigate no-bid contracts, ‘the role oil companies are playing in Iraq,’ and supply problems that have plagued U.S. combat troops.”
The truly amazing part of all this is the assumption of a continued role in Iraq. “A member of the Maryland House of Delegates, Clarence Davis, delivered a diatribe against Republican ‘fascists’ and Bush that lighted up the small hotel ballroom in which he spoke. The Democratic Party, Davis said, has allowed ‘self-serving, draft-dodging idiots to claim America … and we ought to be ashamed of ourselves.'” This is clearly not about scaling back American imperialism; it isn’t even about Bush’s hypocrisy in evading service in Vietnam. It is about a continued appeal to militarism, as former President and possible future First Husband Bill Clinton appeared at a campaign rally for Senator Joe Lieberman, arguing “that Democrats should not abandon their leaders over the war issue. Lieberman’s unyielding support for the war in Iraq has turned Connecticut’s Aug. 8 primary into a startlingly fierce contest, pitting a three-term U.S. senator and vice presidential nominee against a political neophyte, Ned Lamont, who advocates setting a deadline to withdraw troops. . . . ‘No Democrat is responsible for the mistakes that have been made since the fall of Saddam Hussein,’ [Bill Clinton] said. ‘We’re not responsible for the fact that that a lot of those kids still don’t have body armor … and there’s billions of dollars that have been given out in no-bid contracts and millions that are just missing. We’re not responsible for that. So I say, we can fight later in the future about what do we do next, and honorable people can disagree.'” The war, therefore, is okay; it is Bush’s handling of the war that is under challenge. The lies that persuaded the American people to support the war are okay; but Democrats will fuss over Halliburton.