The Democrats Could’ve Handled the MoveOn Vote Strategically: Eskow on Huffington Post

This is a good piece on this particular bit of nonsense political theater the Bushites have given us. But more than that, it is a good illustration of a much more general issue: why are the Democrats, whose position is so hugely strengthened by the fact that their opponents are so consistently aligned against reality, so pathetically deficient in devising effective political strategy?

Is there something about being a liberal, or a Democrat, that makes one inclined to fold when when holds a full house?


The Democrats Could’ve Handled the MoveOn Vote Strategically

by R.J. Eskow on Huffingtonpost

Posted September 20, 2007

The resolution condemning for its Petraeus ad was a no-win proposition for the Democrats – so why did they allow it to come to a vote without calling Admiral Fallon to the stand? Democratic Senators were left with the choice of either attacking MoveOn or opening themselves up to cheap shots come election time.

It didn’t have to be that way.

Instead, Senate Democrats could’ve taken this position: We can’t judge the fairness or accuracy of the MoveOn ad until we hear from Gen. Petraeus’ boss. The ad says Petraeus is a political general who shades the facts, and he deserves a fair hearing. So let’s put his boss under oath and ask him these questions:

1. Did Gen. Petraeus level with the American people, in your opinion?

2. Do you find him to be truthful and honest, or politically motivated?

3. Did you tell the General that you think he’s an “ass-kissing little chickenshit”? If so, why?

4. Do you believe that the so-called “Surge” is working?

5. Are improvements in Anbar Province related to the Surge?

6. In your opinion, do Gen. Petraeus’ opinions on Iraq reflect those of the Joint Chiefs and most experienced military leaders?

7. Do you consider criticism of Gen. Petraeus “the same as criticizing our troops”?

This GOP maneuver provided the ideal opening for Dems to do what they should have done before. Petraeus is a mid-level general. Why did the Senate minority and the Administration get to pick him, rather than a higher-ranking officer, to present his skewed version of the facts?

Admiral Fallon’s opinions on these questions are well known, and his answers would almost certainly have rendered the MoveOn resolution politically dead. The GOP would have objected to his testimony, of course, but the Dems could have answered: How can you ask us to vote without first hearing the facts?

Both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama tried, in their separate ways, to make the best of the situation. Sen. Clinton defending MoveOn from scapegoating, while Sen. Obama essentially said what many people were thinking: Don’t you people have more important things to do?

Both responses have some merit, but they and other Democrats were forced to play a bad hand. Why are they letting the minority decide who testifies and what comes to a vote?

This situation could have, and should have, been handled strategically. It would have served the Democrats politically – but more importantly, it would have given the American people a chance to hear the unvarnished truth.

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3 Responses to “The Democrats Could’ve Handled the MoveOn Vote Strategically: Eskow on Huffington Post”

  1. Brian Moore Says:

    The Democrats are complicit in a corporate authoritarian ideology that controls our government? They too are scared that a grassroots organization could call their own authoritarian power base into question?

    They really aren’t this incompetent. They are complicit.

  2. Robin Pettit Says:

    I called both my Senators to tell them to oppose this censure vote. Of course they both voted for it. So much for my input. This is political theater plain and simple and the Democrats are falling on their faces with ineptitude. Why do they flagellate themselves by making these strategic blunder.

    The move on Ad used the statement General Petraeus or General Betray us? as a rhetorical question which they then presented a side of the argument for the yea position. But they never said he was General Betray us. They left that up to the reader. I guess rhetoric and criticism is not acceptable anymore. The Democratic party is idiotic and does not think strategically. There were more than one way to derail this vote and keep debate off the floor of the Senate, but they choose to not go that route and then they voted for the censure to boot. Heaven help us, assuming there is a heaven.

  3. Gerrit Says:

    I thought that when Blackwater was banned it would be a matter of days before they were back–exactly three days, it turns out. The power of this juggernaut we have with Bush is not being met by anything nearly as powerful on the side of simple truth and hope that the world needs so badly. I wish for a consensus to inform me that I would live to see a turn toward a positive future. I am 70. I take some comfort in the knowledge that I will expire before the civilization I grew up in and had developed some faith in also expires. I don’t think there will be much of a time lag between the demise of me and all the rest of it. Or so it looks, at this point.

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