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Thread: Left attack on Petraeus poses problem for Democrats

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    Default Left attack on Petraeus poses problem for Democrats

    Left Attack on Petraeus Poses Problem for Democrats

    Wednesday, September 12, 2007
    By Susan Estrich


    LOS ANGELES —

    The Democrats, especially the Democrats running for president, have a problem, and his name is Petraeus.

    In two days of hearings on Capitol
    Hill, he probably didn’t change any of the views held by members of Congress about the war in Iraq. But he almost certainly impressed a lot of people sitting at home by displaying all the traits Americans hope for in a military leader.

    He was, to put it simply, good, a man who came across as brave, honorable, and true, and that’s the problem.

    On Monday, the day Petraeus was to begin his testimony, in the great tradition of Washington politics, MoveOn.org blasted him before hearing a word of it. In a full page ad in the New York Times, that became the talk of Congress, the talk shows, and cable news (as it was supposed to), the liberal group accused Petraeus of "cooking the books," and charged that he was betraying the American peoples' trust by spinning the facts to support the White House.

    That is, by the way, how MoveOn itself summarized the ad, in an email to its supporters sent the next day, giving notice that it wasn’t backing down.

    The ad made some Democrats uncomfortable because of its harsh tone, and gave Republicans a juicy distraction to attack. With polls showing that most Americans trust the military to deal with the war in Iraq far more than they do either the president or Congress, MoveOn’s choice of targets put those Democrats who need the support of both the hard left and the mushy middle squarely between a rock and a hard place.

    It’s one thing to attack the president as a fool and a bumbler, as misguided in his policy and incompetent in its execution. That’s easy: almost everyone outside Bush’s family will agree with you, even the Republican candidates, who are generally the ones forced into an elaborate two-step as they try to defend the war and distance themselves from the Commander-in-Chief who has been in charge of it.

    But attacking the General who oozes courage, fortitude and decency?
    That’s a bit trickier, to say the least. Barack Obama, commenting/questioning the general about the options in Iraq, noted that there aren’t any good ones, only bad and worse ones. He might also have been describing his own situation, not to mention his friend Hillary’s.

    There’s no question what the Left wants. Why don’t these guys (and girls) have any courage, a very left leaning friend demanded of me recently. Why aren’t they angry? Why don’t they start screaming bloody murder? Why don’t they demand that the troops start coming home NOW?

    That is, figuratively speaking, not only what MoveOn is doing, but what it is demanding. In his new book, “The Argument,” Matt Bai, after carefully researching MoveOn and other new generation Democratic activists and bloggers, concludes that what they are offering is not so much a new vision as a new strategy; that they are seeking to match the “right wing conspiracy,” which spews out faxes and statements every day, blogs on Drudge and speaks through Rush and Hannity, with a left-wing version, which spews just as much ink, blogs on Huffington, and speaks through Olberman.

    You control fires by building new ones, or at least you meet fire with fire, and if we all end up in the rubble, you certainly can’t blame the people who fought back second rather the ones who started it first. The Left has, in a word, adopted the tactics of the right. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    Primaries are won on the Left and Right. General elections are won in the middle. That’s the problem Petraeus poses for Democrats. If he could convince MoveOn, this would be easy. But he can’t and won’t.

    The danger is that he convinces folks in the middle that it would be irresponsible to simply pull out troops now, rather than trying to stabilize the situation further, that there is enough improvement both politically and militarily at the grass roots level to follow his schedule, rather than a Democratic one, that he knows what is happening on the ground in Iraq better than people who aren’t there.

    The risk for Democrats is that those who take him on will be seen as nave or weak or beholden to the Cindy Sheehans, which is not a direct route to the Oval Office. The other risk is that those who don’t will be attacked and belittled for failing to do so, and will never make it to the finals in this contest. It was a whole lot easier when this was just Bush’s war.


    Click here to link to Susan's new book, "Soulless. "


    Susan Estrich is the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Southern California. She was Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the first woman President of the Harvard Law Review. She is a columnist for Creators Syndicate and has written for USA Today and the Los Angeles Times.

    Estrich's books include the just published “Soulless,” “The Case for Hillary Clinton,” “How to Get Into Law School,” “Sex & Power,” “Real Rape,” “Getting Away with Murder: How Politics Is Destroying the Criminal Justice System” and "Making the Case for Yourself: A Diet Book for Smart Women.”

    She served as campaign manager for Michael Dukakis' presidential bid, becoming the first woman to head a U.S. presidential campaign. Estrich appears regularly on the FOX News Channel, in addition to writing the “Blue Streak” column for FOXNews.com.

    FOXNews.com - Left Attack on Petraeus Poses Problem for Democrats - Opinion

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Coming from Fox News this story is hilarious. I don't think too many people are looking at Patraeus as brave, honorable & true. He's basically backing this war, and being Bush's mouthpiece.

    If the Democrats have a problem, it's because they still don't have the balls to go to the mat with Bush over this war. It seems like their top priority is the election, which is over a year away. It hasn't dawned on the Dems yet that by trying to pull the plug on this war, they can only help their cause, because it shows they have the strength and conviction to try and do what the American people have been clamoring for, which is to bring the troops home and end this illegal war.

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Well one of the reasons why we voted for the democrats last year is because of their pontifications that their priority would be to bring the troops back home. I mean, with their fire and brim speeches, I was expecting the troops to come back home within months. Yet here we are, a year later, and all that talk was for naught. The troops are still over there, and we all have this nasty taste in our mouths over this.

    Just recently obama was bragging about how he would bring home the troops in 2008. Ya right. Ain't no one bringing anyone home.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    But attacking the General who oozes courage, fortitude and decency?
    How about oozes lies, brownnosing and political opportunity? That's all Petraeus is. He's a bush Yes man, has a history of being a yes man, and has been playing politics ever since Bush deposed the last general and replaced him with this yes man.

    Why is FOX news so fucking stupid?

    All the general's assertions have been debunked BY HIS OWN GOVERNMENT.. well, the one outside that death star of a white house, from which no truth can escape..
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Laurent's Avatar
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    The risk for Democrats is that those who take him on will be seen as nave or weak or beholden to the Cindy Sheehans, which is not a direct route to the Oval Office.
    Oh, please! The danger for the Dems is taking on Betray-Us against the middle because they'll see us as nave? Give me a break! If the middle is deciding elections in this country, it's time for the wake up call that keeping troops in Iraq until January 2009 when Bush leaves office is the way of insanity! It's watching Faux News exclusively that leads to this willing ignorance of what's going on!

    We've facilitated a civil war that we can't end, and Bush refuses to acknowledge it, people. The only nave thing about this is the sheep like way people keep following him. Keeping ground troops over there for another 6, 9, 12, 18 months won't resolve this! Who are these morons that are buying this crap?!?! Still navely thinking we're over there searching for WMDs for crying out loud!
    What are you looking at, sugar-tits? - Mel Gibson

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