Doug Schoen To Democrats: Cave On Iraq
by Chris Bowers, Mon Apr 23, 2007 at 12:14:26 PM EDT
A dangerous game of 'chicken' for DemocratsDemocrats are "playing chicken?" They should "compromise" by doing exactly what Bush wants--pass a "clean" supplemental bill? They will be blamed for abandoning troops in the field? They should ignore polling showing public support for timetables and withdrawal? This is so anti-Democratic, it is barely even triangulating. This is basically just a stream of Republican talking points on Iraq that seeks to divide the Democratic Party, sprinkled with a few neo-liberal hawk talking points like "Democrats must continue to criticize the prosecution of the war" without ever mentioning that the war was a bad idea or that withdrawal is a good idea.
By Doug Schoen | April 23, 2007
DEMOCRATS and Republicans in Washington are headed toward a showdown. At issue is how to provide an additional $100 billion in supplemental funding to support American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Congressional Democrats are intent on passing legislation that will include a requirement -- or at least a call -- to bring the troops home next year. President Bush insists he will accept no such provision, even if it means vetoing legislation that would provide badly needed money for the troops in the field. The American people, he maintains, will fault Democrats if that happens.
In short, the politicians in Washington are playing a high stakes game of chicken -- one whose outcome will change the balance of power and have a profound effect on the 2008 presidential elections.(...)
Democrats should not be misled by polls showing that most Americans support the idea of cutting off funding for the war unless benchmarks of success are reached. Of course they do, in the abstract. But Bush's counterargument -- that Democrats are prepared to undermine troops in the field -- will be a powerful one, in part because it is far more concrete than Democrats' complex, poll-tested plan.
In short, Democrats would do well to compromise. If that means accepting a "clean" supplemental funding bill, so be it. While Democrats must continue to criticize the prosecution of the war and the Bush administration's failure to promote political reconciliation, they should also recognize that the public has not yet elected a new commander in chief.
The regularity with which DLC-nexus Democratic consultants publicly triangulate against their own party and attack Democratic Congressional leaders while employing Republican talking points is a constant drag on our electoral and legislative efforts. The lack of disclosure in these attacks, and the complete lack accountability these consultants face for such attacks, is particularly grotesque. For example, in the recent past, Doug Schoen has publicly attacking MoveOn.org and defended Fox over the Nevada debate, without disclosing that he is a paid commenter on Fox News, and also posted anti-Democratic messaging on Medicare drug benefits without disclosing that the polling information he gathered for the article was commissioned by pharmaceutical companies. Schoen seems to basically exist in order to provide anti-Democratic messaging in public on any major political battle Democrats currently face, often without disclosing his conflicts on interest on the matter. Shouldn't there be some form of reprisal for this behavior in terms of lost business among Democratic campaigns, or at least in the form public smackdowns from prominent Democrats for his regular lack of disclosure and divisive anti-Democratic messaging? Do we just let our consultants run wild and never hold them accountable? It certainly seems to be the case, and the tacit approval that many leading Democrats give to such behavior by continuing to hire firms like Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates despite Schoen's actions demonstrates that it probably won't come to an end anytime soon. Right now, attacking and dividing Democrats is a profitable business for Doug Schoen, and for several other "Democratic" consultants as well. As long as that is the case, expect DLC-nexus consultant attacks against Democrats to continue unabated.
Update: Commenter tgeraghty directs us to a recent post by Matthew Yglesias on this very subject.