Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Progressive Agenda for Victory

Gary Kamiya of Salon Magazine has written an excellent analysis of the Democratic Party's potential winning strategy for the fall campaign. It can be summed up as follows:

1. America should not be at war with radical Islam, a war that cannot be won with bullets.

2. Al-Qaida WANTS us to stay in Iraq. Our presence in a Moslem country insures that new recruits will be plentiful.

3. Our war in Iraq has invited the Arab-Muslem world to wage guerrilla war against us, essentially negating the vastly superior military force they face.

4. It is the GOP that is endangering our national security by pursuing it's failed military policy in Iraq and that in fact the war is weakening American military strength.

5. The faux-patriotism, flag-waving, and macho posturing should be openly derided.

In his words:

Terrified of appearing "weak on national security," the Democrats have not come right out and said that America should not be at war with radical Islam, because that's a war we cannot win with bullets. They have not hammered home the point that al-Qaida wants us to stay in Iraq, that every day American troops remain in a Muslim country, more jihadis sign up for a holy war against us. They have not pointed out that by invading Iraq, Bush essentially invited the entire Arab-Muslim world to fight a guerrilla war against us, a war that renders our overwhelming military supremacy utterly useless. They have not forcefully argued that it is not the supposedly appeasing Democrats, but Bush and the GOP, who have rashly endangered our national security by persisting in their failed military approach. They have not openly derided the flag-waving, macho posturings of the Republicans.

If this simple advice were to be hammered home again and again during the fall campaign, the democratic candidates would be a lock for election. Will they?

A disturbing point is made by Glenn Greenwald. He feels that a goodly portion of the Congressional Democratic Caucus essentially support the status quo of the current administration's position on national security. The supposedly "bi-partisan" consensus that has given the President victory after victory regarding wiretapping and funding for the war is in actuality the Republican caucus voting 49-0 and the Democrats voting 31-19 usually without exception. The 19 "BlueDogs" including our own Jim Webb, are acting as enablers for the endgame of Bush's grandiose power grab and are backing his war policy.

As always, when it comes to the most radical Bush policies, the GOP lines up lock-step behind them, and the Democrats split, always with more than enough to join the Republicans to ensure passage. That's the process that is called "bipartisanship" in the Beltway.

Greenwald goes on to say:

But a large number of elected Democrats vote in favor of the radical Bush agenda for a very simple reason: they believe in it. Despite the glorious "D" after their name, their views are materially indistinguishable from the defining ones of the Bush faction on the key issues. A huge portion of Congressional Democrats are members of the corrupt, bipartisan Beltway political establishment first, and everything only follows that, and they thus embrace and support the values of that establishment.

That's why Bush has won and -- even with "Democrats in control of Congress" -- continues to win most key votes. The fault lines in the Beltway aren't primarily between Republican and Democrat but between those who support the core values of our political establishment (as reflected by the Bush administration) and those who don't. Through a bulging coalition of both Democrats and Republicans, the pro-establishment forces have a strong, clear and easy majority, and that's why the most radical Bush measures continue not only to prevail, but -- as today -- do so easily.

The Democratic Party's gains in the past election were largely a mirage. It is Progressives that are needed in the halls of Congress and in the White House. The real fight is not Republicans vs Democrats, it is Conservatives vs Progressives. It is Progressive candidates we should be supporting and in the current political climate Progressives can WIN.

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