Democrats just don’t get it. Voters handed them control of Congress in 2006 with a mandate to get us out of Iraq. They waffled, and on every vote that counted, they’ve gone along with the Bush administration. They refuse to impeach Bush, I think because to do so would be tantamount to an admission that the entire political establishment of this country, including Democratic Party collaborators, ought to be hauled up on charges for crimes against humanity. They have capitulated on telecom immunity, and Obama, though he seems to realize he screwed up, had “emphasized caveats that seemed to suggest his timetable [for a withdrawal from Iraq] might slip, saying he would ‘refine’ his policies after he consulted with U.S. generals on a trip to Iraq he plans to make this summer.”
Obama’s attempts to explain his stance could leave some Democratic voters disenchanted. Since locking up the nomination, he has moved toward the political center. He has downplayed his criticism of the North American Free Trade Agreement, opted not to stick to campaign spending caps and backed a bill that bars invasion-of-privacy lawsuits against phone companies that cooperated with President Bush’s wiretapping program.
This kind of confusion alienates those who would vote for Obama because he has–with significant reservations–“promised” to withdraw troops within sixteen months. It gives the Republicans the opportunity to say that “even” Obama–as if he were anything like a radical leftist–acknowledges the need to remain in Iraq. And it gives those who are undecided no reason to trust that Obama means what he says–as if he has ever been clear about it. Amy Goodman writes:
It may be the strategy of the Obama campaign to run to the middle, to attract the independents, the undecided. But he should look carefully at the lessons of the 2004 Kerry campaign. John Kerry made similar calculations, not wanting to appear weak on the war in Iraq. Uninspired, people stayed home. There are millions who care about the issues from which Obama is distancing himself, from FISA to gun control to gay rights to free trade to the death penalty.
Goodman argues that disillusioned voters should not stay home, but the problem runs far deeper than the cynicism of Obama or of Kerry. As Gore Vidal put it, we have a “one-party system . . . with two right wings, Democrat and Republican.”