In case anyone needed an illustration of what’s wrong with the national Democratic Party they got it in spades today when the Washington Post reported that John Murtha, a 37 year combat vet and 31 year House veteran, boldly called Bush’s Iraq policy a failure saying U.S. troops should return home within six months:
“Our military’s done everything that has been asked of them,” Murtha said, regaining his composure. “The U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It’s time to bring the troops home.”
The [Murtha press conference] questioning turned to the inevitable charges that Murtha was irresponsibly advocating a cut-and-run. The Old Bull roared like a lion. “This is a flawed policy wrapped in an illusion!” he said, pounding the podium.
That’s apt and reminds me of the saying “an enigma wrapped in an illusion” (where does that quotation come from?). Didn’t know that Murtha had any literary references in him.
Of course, the Republican never-served crowd (folks like Denny Hastert and Dick Cheney) came down on him almost at once saying he gave aid and comfort to the enemy, that he supported cutting and running, etc. You know the routine. When Murtha heard of some of their criticism he had this to say:
“I like guys who’ve never been there to criticize us who’ve been there. I like that,” the burly old Marine said, hands in pocket. Referring to Vice President Cheney, he continued: “I like guys who got five deferments and never been there, and send people to war, and then don’t like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done.”
So how did Democrats react to their most senior Armed Services committee member and long-time point person on military affairs? Did they congratulate him on his courage, on telling it like it is, on doing the right thing? Far from it, they ran as far away from him (at least in public) as they could as fast as they could:
Democrats ran for cover. Rep. Norman Dicks (D-Wash.) walked away when reporters asked if Murtha’s move would change the Democrats’ position. Asked if he agreed with Murtha, Rep. Ike Skelton (Mo.), the ranking Democrat on the Armed Service Committee, replied: “Talk to you later.”
Murtha had said he got a “standing ovation” when he announced his position to colleagues in the morning.
Evidently, they were just being polite. At her afternoon news conference, Pelosi was meticulous in avoiding any agreement with Murtha’s “very provocative” statement.
“But do you agree with the call for immediate withdrawal?”
“As I said, that was Mr. Murtha’s statement,” she replied.
Earlier in the day, Pelosi had seemed ready to join Murtha in a bold statement on the war according to Post:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told colleagues at a closed meeting yesterday morning that she, too, would advocate an immediate troop withdrawal, according to several who attended. But by day’s end, Pelosi — a liberal who has sharply criticized Bush’s handling of the war — chose merely to praise Murtha and say he deserved to have “his day.”
What bold, innovative thinking!
You remember Rahm Emmanuel, that bright shining star of the Clinton Administration. Well, this was all he could muster:
“Jack Murtha went out and spoke for Jack Murtha.” As for Iraq policy, Emanuel added: “At the right time, we will have a position.”
When will it be the right time, Rahm? Next month, next year? I say, with Murtha, there’s no time like the present to distinguish oneself and one’s party from the miasma into which Bush’s Iraq policy has sunk this country.
Despite Bush’s torpedo bomber like dive in popularity, Democrats are chicken-shit when it comes to promulgating an alternative national security/Iraq strategy. They’re still petrified they’ll be labelled soft on terror if they advance a more reasonable and rational policy. It’s pathetic, beyond pathetic. This is a Party that wants to regain control of the Senate of the House in a year? This is a party that wants the White House in 2008. Good luck, I say. On what basis do they think they will captivate the American public? By saying “we supported the Patriot Act, we supported revoking habeus corpus, we refused to filibuster Alito (though this remains to be seen), we refused to call for an Iraq pullout even though none of us believed in the war any longer.” That’s a real profile in courage now, isn’t it?
I hate to say this but maybe this Party deserves to wander in the wilderness a while longer until they get their guts and gumption back. How do you think Harry Truman would’ve responded to this Republican jingoism and pandering? He would’ve given ’em Hell. That’s what the Democrats need now. Someone who can give ’em Hell. John Murtha showed them the way. Now maybe the rest of the Democrats can follow him.
The Times provides a transcript of Murtha’s remarks at the press conference.