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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hey, Democrats....lookee here in the real world
Posted by Jill | 9:08 PM
...where 76% of Americans say the war is going badly:

the number of Americans who say the war is going badly has reached a new high, rising 10 percent this month to 76 percent.

Nearly half of all Americans (47 percent) say the war is going very badly, while just 20 percent say the recent U.S. troop increase is making a positive difference.

Even a majority of Republicans, 52 percent, now say the war is going at least somewhat badly – a 16-point increase from the middle of April. Nine in 10 Democrats and eight in 10 Independents agree.

Although Congress has backed down from attaching a timetable for a U.S. troop withdrawal to the war funding bill, six in 10 Americans would like one. The public also favors setting benchmarks the Iraqi government must meet as a condition for future funding of the war – something that Congress will include in the pending legislation.

The poll also finds a record number of Americans say getting involved in Iraq in the first place was a mistake. Only 35 percent say the U.S. did the right thing by invading Iraq, while 61 percent say the U.S. should have stayed out.

In trying to figure out what the hell the Democrats were thinking today, Chris Bowers, one of the Heathers of the Your Blog Sucks movement, has a plausible theory:

But there is something else going on here besides a bizarre fear of continuing to oppose the least popular president in thirty years on the least popular war in fifty-five years, and a fear of prolonging a debate that was causing Democrats to win over voters in frontline House districts. Keep in mind that while a demoralized progressive activist base has negative repercussions for Democratic electoral fortunes in general elections, in terms of intra-party power struggles, a demoralized, progressive, grassroots activist base actually strengthens the position of neoliberals, LieberDems, and the DLC-nexus within the Democratic Party power structure. If progressive grassroots activists are too demoralized to make small donations, the party becomes more reliant on large donors. If we are too demoralized to run for party office or challenge sitting Democrats in primaries, the establishment Democratic power structure are never held accountable for running ineffective campaigns or selling out the base. If we don't use the strength of the progressive movement in the 2008 presidential primaries, then the influence the DLC-nexus, neoliberals, and LieberDems have in determining the direction of the Democratic Party increases. And on and on. In other words, there are those who benefit internally from a demoralized, inactive, progressive grassroots base, even if the party as a whole is damaged. We all saw this from 1994-2002, when the Democratic Party was regularly defeated in general elections on a scale not seen since the 1920s, and while the DLC-nexus simultaneously solidified a unprecedented level of control over the Democratic Party establishment.

I hate to admit it, but Bowers has a point. This is a party that has been listening to the consultants -- the Jim Carvilles and the Bob Shrums and the other DLC losers who seem to think the Democratic Party should be about out-Republicaning the Republicans. Grassroots people power as big a threat to their income as reduced government funding of medical research is to mine. So the best way to ensure the perpetuation of power of the hacks is to get the base so demoralized that we just go away. I'm not sure what I think about that, nor does it inspire me to get more actively involved just to not give the DLC what it wants.

But I think there's something else operative here: The Democrats may believe, plausibly so, that Bush will keep the troops in Iraq even if there is no money allocated to provide for them. Alas, I can't seem to find a video yet (though I have to believe someone will post it) The odious John Boehner, his crocodile tears flowing, spoke about how not passing this bill means that the troops will go hungry over there. Is it my imagination, or did he confirm my worst suspicions about this president today? And is that why the Democrats caved?


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