Vote Progressive 2008: Past Performance Predicts Future Success
How can the United States of America extricate itself from Iraq in a manner that harms the American and Iraqi prospects the least? This is a difficult question. More difficult still is the question of who Americans can trust to provide a trustworthy answer. To a dangerous extent, citizens are flying blind when it comes to the situation in Iraq, as independent journalism is constricted, press releases are carefully groomed to avoid negative information, and embarrassing details are classified for the sake of “Homeland Security.” As a consequence, when a politician tells us they know what’s going on Iraq, we have to decide whether they are trustworthy or not.
So who do we trust? Should we trust people whose contentions about Iraq proved to be disastrously, catastrophically incorrect in the past? Or should we trust people who made the right call back in 2002 and 2003, when the question of invading Iraq were under consideration? Come on, you know the answer. And here’s the deal: every single major Republican presidential contender was disastrously wrong on Iraq: John McCain, Duncan Hunter, Rudolph Giuliani, Bill Frist, Condoleeza Rice, and Newt Gingrich all fed us untruths about Iraq as part of their quest to start a war of unforgivable choice. So the authoritarian right-wingers are out of the question if you want a leader whose foreign policy and military judgment you can trust.
But many Democratic presidential contenders don’t provide us with anything better. Senators John Kerry and Hillary Clinton supported going to war in Iraq. Governors Tom Vilsack and Bill Richardson supported going to war in Iraq. These Democratic politicians all held in common the notion that for the sake of electoral wins, it was best to just go ahead and give George W. Bush the go-ahead. And once they committed to that strategic notion, they found themselves to support the war not just strategically but substantively. So for years now, Democrats like Kerry, Clinton, Vilsack and Richardson have been fumbling and bumbling over their own words as they try to say things that sound vaguely critical but not contradictory of their previous statements. They’re tied up in knots, and they can’t just come out and say what is on their minds. It’s not an accident that these are the “moderate” Democrats; “moderate” goes in quotes because what “moderate” Democrats really are is partisan, interested more in being on the winning side than being on the right side.
Who was right on Iraq? Who among the major presidential contenders for 2008 had the right prior judgment? Senator Barack Obama of Illinois was right on Iraq. If you go back and read his October 2002 speech as a Senatorial candidate, every single word of opposition to Bush’s war policy still rings true. Barack Obama went out on a limb in October 2002 with his opposition: he was warming up for a national political campaign and faced a media that told us opposition to war was unpatriotic. But it’s not a coincidence that Barack Obama, who got the situation in Iraq right and said so despite the cost, also has a pretty darned progressive record as a State and U.S. Senator: the progressive political position is one based in ideas rather than in partisan victory, and is a position that has been borne out by time.
Past performance is a predictor of future success, and that’s reason #44 to vote progressive in 2008.
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