| Oh Jerry McNerney. What is to be done with you? Frankly, I am saddened about this whole thing. It has been clear that all of our work to create communications channels about your Iraq positioning was for naught. Many a blog post has been written, warning you to take a strong stance on withdrawing from Iraq or face the loss of the blogosphere's support. In fact, you heeded our calls to do exactly that. You were praised here and across the blogosphere. Finally, it appeared that you were living up to your campaign promises.
But only hours later came this article in the WaPo. There are so many things wrong with this story and your role in its creation that it is hard to know where to start. The entire premise of the article is that the Democrats are in disarray. After all of the work done this summer to divide up the Republicans, we are now undoing all of our gains through these articles. Repeat with me, "the bloodiest summer yet". Just check out this lede:
Democratic leaders in Congress had planned to use August recess to raise the heat on Republicans to break with President Bush on the Iraq war. Instead, Democrats have been forced to recalibrate their own message in the face of recent positive signs on the security front, increasingly focusing their criticisms on what those military gains have not achieved: reconciliation among Iraq's diverse political factions.
I am no foreign policy or Iraq expert. What I can say is that the Democrats are screwing up the messaging in their attempts not to appear against the troops. But that's what Obama, Edwards and Clinton have been screwing up on. You take a different tact to blow up the national strategy for Iraq: declare the Republicans reasonable, announce your desire to negotiate with them for a timetable and undercut the Democratic leadership. It's a trifecta on a day when you appeared to mend fences.
Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.), who made waves when he returned from Iraq by saying he was willing to be more flexible on troop withdrawal timelines, issued a statement to constituents "setting the record straight."
"I am firmly in favor of withdrawing troops on a timeline that includes both a definite start date and a definite end date," he wrote on his Web site.
But in an interview yesterday, McNerney made clear his views have shifted since returning from Iraq. He said Democrats should be willing to negotiate with the generals in Iraq over just how much more time they might need. And, he said, Democrats should move beyond their confrontational approach, away from tough-minded, partisan withdrawal resolutions, to be more conciliatory with Republicans who might also be looking for a way out of the war.
"We should sit down with Republicans, see what would be acceptable to them to end the war and present it to the president, start negotiating from the beginning," he said, adding, "I don't know what the [Democratic] leadership is thinking. Sometimes they've done things that are beyond me."
Answer me this, what is possibly gained from trying to negotiate with the Republicans about a specific timeline for withdrawal when they are trying to keep the war going on indefinitely? Negotiating over a specific timetable can and will occur when we have enough votes for a timetable in the first place. We don't have that yet. What exactly do you mean Jerry, when you say that we need to stop being partisan about our withdrawal resolutions? You can't possibly be suggesting that we agree to the "moderate" Republican demands for a non-binding timetable. What the heck do you think you or the fight to end the war will gain by attacking the Democratic leadership in the Washington Post? They have bent over backwards to ensure you have an excellent shot to retain your seat, despite the concerted efforts of the Republicans to target you. I would argue that they have been more timid than I would like in terms of ending this war, not too much.
You were supposed to be our Mr. Smith goes to Washington and be a fighter to end this war, not some squishy person in the middle attacking both sides. You have listened to what we have to say, but it has done little good. I am at a loss of what to do. More talking has clearly not been productive. I am curious about what the community here thinks should happen. You seem to have hung our friend Eden out to dry here, but more than that, you tried to pander to us and then undermined the entire movement to end the war. This one hurts and I am reluctantly coming to the conclusion that there must be consequences.