Thursday, October 04, 2007

Time for new Democratic leadership?

By Edward Copeland

Jack Murtha and two other House Democrats are taking some actions to try to stop Iraq war funding, embracing an idea similar to one I proposed a long time ago: Forcing a tax hike to pay for the war.

Unfortunately, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to Murtha, took him to "the woodshed" for the proposal. Apparently, they are as gutless about the word "taxes" as they are about trying to stop the war despite overwhelming public support. There's a reason Democrats lose so many elections: They suck at strategy. When they do win, as in regaining control of Congress last year, it's usually in spite of themselves instead of any strong political moves.

With the media trying to perpetuate the idea that Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton is inevitable, what once seemed a lock for a Democratic win of the White House in 2008 seems more precarious with each passing day. John Edwards still is out there fighting, but his decision to accept public financing doesn't bode well for him if he gets the nomination. (He's committed to federal funding for the general now, something that the GOP certainly won't be since Clinton and Obama already tossed away that longtime tradition). Obama needs to step up and start fighting back, but he seems too concerned with keeping his above-the-fray image. As has been pointed out, the only major election he's won was against Alan Keyes. His experience problem isn't with his resume, it's with his lack of campaign fights.

Meanwhile, on the Senate side, Democratic leader Harry Reid and others embrace the distraction of the Rush Limbaugh "phony soldiers" controversy in attempt to get back at the GOP for the ad brouhaha. Unfortunately, Republicans are much better at that sort of nonsense than the Democrats and as much as I enjoy seeing Rush hammered (no pun intended), what's the point? The issue is the war. Period.

Stop with the distractions, grow some balls and fight. It's the only way you can win: You can't count on that happening by default. It's not too late: You've got a weakened president, an unpopular war and a presidential frontrunner in a field where most voters say their support is still soft and her negatives are still high. We cannot afford to lose 2008 for too many reasons to list, not least of which is the Supreme Court. John Paul Stevens may be vigorous, but he can't last forever, and who knows the truth about Ruth Bader Ginsburg's health? Democrats, wake up! If the party's leaders aren't going to do it, lower-ranking officeholders and those of us out in the trenches must start doing it ourselves.

The Democratic Party must be saved from itself.

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