Saturday, February 9, 2008


I know, it is four days after Super Tuesday, but the significance of the vote on Tuesday wasn’t clear to me right away. It didn’t take that long for Connie. Bright and early Wednesday morning she wrote letters to both Clinton and Obama with this message:

Now that Super Tuesday is past and some of that excitement is dispelled the rest of the election campaign intensity, I'm assuming, will escalate. My suggestion is, "please, Hillary/Barak, do not succumb to anymore mud throwing toward or with Obama/Clinton." We have lost so much dignity as a nation because of arrogant and aggressive personal affront that our potential representatives need to regain some dignity by being professional and objective. It is so important to me and I believe millions of other Americans how as a person you represent us. Getting into "personal" verbal combat with an opponent is not what I want to see. I need to see the respect you hold for your opponent, not your disdain.

I think she’s right. Those two have bigger fish to fry.

One thing Super Tuesday did was to make clear that Mitt Romney was not going to be the nominee for the Republican Party. He revealed his decision
during a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. I don’t know if the symbolism of Thursday being the “third day” after his defeat, but this seems to be the day that he sought to “resurrect” himself as the candidate for 2012, or possibly a spot on the ticket with McCain. What struck me was the reason he gave for withdrawing:

"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win," he said. "And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror."

This will be the mantra attack on either Clinton or Obama in the general election: the Democratic candidate will “surrender to terror” by abandoning Iraq.

I hope Clinton and Obama insist on debating the war with McCain, not just in the general election but in the months left of the primary season. The Republicans don’t want a real debate about the war and in Congress they have done everything they can do to keep it from happening. We had a debate around the 2006 election and in the early months of the new Congress, but the debate has stalled. We also have Democrats who run for cover whenever the Republicans mention “terrorists,” and don’t want the debate either. The leadership in the House and Senate need to find new ways to get and keep the issue before Congress. But Hillary and Barack must set the example, not because the issue is politically advantageous, but because the war in Iraq is one of the greatest foreign policy catastrophes in our history. How the war is dealt with will define the presidency of whoever is elected in November. It may also define who we are as a people.

Many Americans understand this. Despite the glowing reports of the success of “the Surge” the majority of Americans want us out of Iraq.
SusanG reported this evening on the latest AP poll:

The heck with Congress' big stimulus bill. The way to get the country out of recession -- and most people think we're in one -- is to get the country out of Iraq, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll.

Pulling out of the war ranked first among proposed remedies in the survey, followed by spending more on domestic programs, cutting taxes and, at the bottom end, giving rebates to poor people in hopes they'll spend the economy into recovery.

Last night as I watched Ann Coulter address a gathering of young Republicans, I was amazed by her hatred—yes, “hatred” is the word she used—of McCain. Over and over again she came back to his opposition to waterboarding and his stated intent to close Guantanamo. She went to great lengths to explain how waterboarding wasn't torture. I wonder if she would be willing to have it demonstrated on her. Then, she could tell us again how it wasn't torture.
Coulter reminded me that there are significant differences between McCain and Bush. But those differences pale in contrast to McCain’s identification with Bush’s war policy. VoteVets has released a detailed record of Senator McCain on the Iraq war, and it isn’t pretty.

Senator John McCain presents himself as a maverick and a critic of the Iraq war. But a close read of his record indicates that his position on the Iraq war has consistently matched President George W. Bush’s.

At every point between now and the election, Senator McCain should have to answer the American people for his identification with President Bush.

From Clinton and Obama, I shouldn’t have to hear any more nitpicking about what they did or didn’t do at the beginning of the war. What I should hear from them are challenges to McCain, his record, and intentions. What I should also hear from them are straight answers to questions that go beyond their scripted sound-bites. The main-stream media has failed miserably at asking hard questions about the war.
McJoan has compiled a list of questions that are at the heart of the debate to be. I have re-stated them because I share them, but they were inspired by her:

Will you renounce the doctrine of preemptive war?

Will you get our troops out of Iraq before the end of your first term in office, without leaving permanent bases?

Will you find bin Laden, take seriously the threat that al Qaeda still poses, and know where and how to fight them?

Will you take care of the men and women who gave their all for us in Iraq and Afghanistan, end the shameful lack of funding, services, and treatment these brave men and women face when they come home, and ensure they get the help that they not only need, but deserve?

Will you unequivocally renounce the use of torture and agree to abide by the Geneva Conventions and international treaties on the treatment of prisoners of war?

Will you shut Guantanamo and every secret prison down as soon as humanly possible, and accord the detainees genuine due process of law?

Will you end the warrantless and illegal surveillance of American citizens by our intelligence agencies?

Will you hold any corporation that aided government in illegally spying on American citizens accountable to the rule of law?

Let the debate among the presidential candidates, in Congress, and in our communities, commence!

- Milo

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