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June 17, 2006
Kerry Loses The Center-Left

If the lopsided vote against a duplicate of John Kerry's amendment to the defense authorization bill signaling surrender in Iraq didn't tell him that he had joined Fringeland, then a scolding from Martin Peretz at The New Republic should correct any misunderstandings. Peretz not only dislikes Kerry's stand on the war, but he believes that Kerry is the wrong messenger for the message:

John Kerry can be trumped by just about anybody. But today, the titular leader of the Democratic Party was trumped by Mitch McConnell, consummate cynic and the second-ranking Republican in the U.S. Senate. Kerry had announced that he would soon offer a measure requiring the administration to withdraw almost all of the American troops now in Iraq by the end of the year. What was in the tactical side of his brain when he made this pronunciamento before he had figured out the details of his proposal? Well, a way to get headlines, I suppose.

Peretz thinks that Kerry hadn't "worked out the details" of his proposal because that's what Kerry said about the vote on Thursday, but Kerry had not been truthful about that. He actually had the amendment read into the Congressional Record on Monday, June 12th. It appears in the Congressional Record at page S5726, amending bill S2766, and it contains the complete cut-and-run along with this passage (emphases mine):

(b) Iraq Summit.--The President should convene a summit as soon as possible that includes the leaders of the Government of Iraq, leaders of the governments of each country bordering Iraq, representatives of the Arab League, the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, representatives of the European Union, and leaders of the governments of each permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, for the purpose of reaching a comprehensive political agreement for Iraq that addresses fundamental issues including federalism, oil revenues, the militias, security guarantees, reconstruction, economic assistance, and border security.

Again, that would require George Bush to have Iran and Syria decide what is best for the Iraqis, and gives no consideration to Iraqi sovereignty. Even if this amendment passed Constitutional muster, which it wouldn't given that foreign policy is the purview of the executive branch, it demands this conference whether the Iraqis want it or not; it doesn't have any conditions for an Iraqi refusal to have their policies on oil revenue, reconstruction, or federalism reviewed and approved or denied by Iran and Syria, two of the more oppressive regimes in the area.

Once again, Kerry shows his disdain for democracy. Once again, Kerry has managed to tell two different stories about his participation in an issue. He submitted the details before he had worked all the details out.

Peretz looks at the Senate vote and calculates the message:

[F]or all their ragging against Bush's war, as they term it, even the Democratic Party isn't for a withdrawal from the field. Of course, this does not bode well for Kerry's perpetual aspirations to be president. But nothing else does either.

The Democrats came together a bit more forcefully in the House than in the Senate, where over 150 of them voted for a similar resolution. Most represent very safe districts which probably support a full-tilt retreat, where the Senatos have to get re-elected in statewide races -- and they have a much clearer idea what a cut-and-run vote will do to their chances. It exposes most of the complainers as defeatists, people who cannot support victory even when it stares them in the face. Kerry would give it away to the very governments we hope to transform into responsive, representative democracies through a success in Iraq, and even most Democrats won't go that far.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 17, 2006 6:49 AM

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What began as a heated debate over the “origins and conduct” of the Iraq War, has ended today in a major victory for the GOP. The Iraq War Resolution (House Resolution 861), which endorses President Bush’s war policy and rejects [Read More]

Tracked on June 17, 2006 11:33 AM


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