Democrats & Liberals Archives

Ned Lamont Was Mainstream

Joe Lieberman won fair and square, and deserves congratulations. There is a group of people who deserve a raspberry, though: The journalists and pundits who described Ned Lamont’s position on Iraq as extremist.

I wonder what they have to say for themselves now. According to this Washington Post story, "The bipartisan Iraq Study Group plans to recommend withdrawing nearly all U.S. combat units from Iraq by early 2008 while leaving behind troops to train, advise and support the Iraqis, setting the first goal for a major drawdown of U.S. forces."

Now compare this to the position espoused by Ned Lamont on his own website:

While we will continue to provide logistical and training support as long as we are asked, our frontline military troops should begin to be redeployed and our troops should start heading home.

Not much of a difference, is there? Ned Lamont apparently wanted a more rapid withdrawal, but not by much. If we are going to have almost all of the troops out by early 2008, the process would have to begin pretty soon. It is the same basic policy.

Henry Clay famously said "I had rather be right than President." Ned Lamont won't be a Senator any time soon, but he was right. And frankly, I was right when I complained in early August that media was showing a bias by treating him as an extremist.

So on behalf of Ned and myself, and staying within the rules of Watchblog, I invite the MSM to get stuffed.

Posted by Woody Mena at December 1, 2006 7:21 AM
Comments
Comment #197218

Woody

“The call to pull out combat brigades by early 2008 would be more a conditional goal than a firm timetable, predicated on the assumption that circumstances on the ground would permit it.”

It was always the goal to get out as soon as conditions permit. The difference is in the details of how it is done. You can withdraw as conditions permit (Bush policy), withdraw according to some preset timetable (Lamont?) or some combination.

You also have different estimate about when that will be possible. I might want to do something tomorrow, but estimate that it will not be possible to do it until next year. If we agree on the need to do it, but disagree on when it will be possible, we have both a disageement about objective options and a defacto policy disagreement.

Posted by: Jack at December 1, 2006 9:41 AM
Comment #197233

Jack,

A conditional timetable is still a timetable. That was what got you guys so mad at Kerry, remember? He said that we might be able to leave by X date under so-and-so conditions, and you guys accused him of emboldening the terrorists (because they just have to hold out for so many months, etc.) If this article is accurate, then that Baker Commission has essentially reached the same conclusion two years later.

So what do you think Bush and the GOP are going to do now? I have been predicting for a while that the GOP (but not Bush) is going to come out in favor of a clear plan for withdrawal. That won’t satisfy the diehard believers like yourself, but that’s what the public wants.

Saying “as soon as we can” just doesn’t cut it anymore, because there is no end in sight. If they GOP tries to stick to that line, they will lose in 2008.

To paraphrase the late Milton Friedman, we are all (mostly) timetablists now.

Posted by: Woody Mena at December 1, 2006 11:25 AM
Comment #197235

Woody

Again, we are talking details. In the broad brush, it is possible to see Lamont as right, but if you go that broad, Bush and Lamont (and Lieberman) have the same policies.

You are right that a plan based only on time will not satify me. Conditions are important. I might plan a ski trip for December 15, but if there is no snow on that date, I would expect to change my plans.

Posted by: Jack at December 1, 2006 12:06 PM
Comment #197250

woody,

as i see it, the primary problem with a timetable, for bush, is that he is entirely obstinate and inflexible.

i don’t think there is another person on the planet who would be so unwilling or incapable of adjusting a timetable to suit the on-ground situation (as common sense would dictate), as he.

it stands to reason (given bush’s record) that if and when bush sets a timetable, he will be every bit as incapable of retracting or revising said timetable as he has been in issuing one; no matter the situation on the ground…

obviously, when he sets his mind to something there is absolutely nothing, neither hell nor high water (and particularly not logic), that can dissuade him from his pursuit.

bush will glean only what he wishes from the baker report… watch; he will likely cite from the report, such technical jargon as “the” and “and” as providing support for his perpetual war.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 1, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #197251

i can see the headlines now;

“bush finally sets timetable”
“iraqi stability and democracy virtually assured… ‘just give us another day!’ ”
“wmd’s finally discovered in iraq - unsecured”
“iran vows, ‘invasion begins tomorrow’ “
“bush stands firm; we will pull out today, as per our timetable”

Posted by: Diogenes at December 1, 2006 1:11 PM
Comment #197281

Jack,

OK, let’s stop being vague. It’s July 2007, and things are exactly like they are today. Do we keep troops at current levels, or start pulling out?

I say start pulling out, and I think Ned Lamont would, too. George Bush is obviously committed to keeping troops at current levels until we “win” or he leaves office.

I think most Americans are more like Ned and I than like George. He is becoming more and more lonely in his blind determination to stay the course.

Posted by: Woody Mena at December 1, 2006 4:20 PM
Comment #197314


“It was always the goal to get out as soon as conditions permit.”

Jack: Your argument does not work for me. If that has always been the goal of the Administration, why have we spent a few billions of dollars on permanent U.S. bases in Iraq. It may be the Administrations goal now that the American people have turned against them, but it certainly wasn’t their goal two years ago.

Oh, I forgot another important Republican Mantra and I should have said—now that the liberals have turned the American people against them.

Posted by: jlw at December 1, 2006 7:48 PM
Comment #197321

jlw

That is what Bush has said since the before the invasion. Early on, in fact, Bush was criticized for planning to leave too soon and not making plans for a longer term operation.

Posted by: Jack at December 1, 2006 8:33 PM
Comment #197327

Jack, so you’re perpetuating the spin that Bush never said “Stay the course?”

Seriously, the conditions in 2008 will be the same as conditions now — which are the same as they’ve been for the last three years. Bush has always said — and is still saying — that he’s not withdrawing troops until we win.

Despite the Baker commissions recommendation to withdraw in 2008 (the exact same type of plan the Democrats offered two years ago — we were right), Bush is never going to go for it. He has too much at stake.

If Bush stays the course until the next President is sworn in, then he can say, “My plan would have worked if President Hillary hadn’t withdrawn the troops.”

Posted by: American Pundit at December 1, 2006 8:55 PM
Comment #197329

Woody,

Ned Lamont Was Mainstream

Oh, you mean ‘mainstream’ like Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, and most certainly Dennis Kucinich!

Posted by: eric simonson at December 1, 2006 9:04 PM
Comment #197330

Jack is absolutely correct of course. But then, isn’t he always? Well, ok, mostly.

I have also noticed that there is a liberal propaganda template out there trying to pretend that Bush has never said we will leave Iraq, ever.

Of course, we’ve never left Germany or Japan either.

Posted by: eric simonson at December 1, 2006 9:09 PM
Comment #197354

Eric,

Nancy Pelosi was elected the Speaker of the House.
That’s pretty mainstream.


I have also noticed that there is a liberal propaganda template out there trying to pretend that Bush has never said we will leave Iraq, ever.

Eric,

I think I’m a pretty smart guy, but there are too many negatives in there for me to process…

Posted by: Woody Mena at December 1, 2006 11:34 PM
Comment #197356

AP

Bush says stay the course. If you are crossing the ocean and staying the course, that does not mean you do not tack or adapt to conditions. We clearly have adapted and changed. Many people try to read a lot into that stay the course statement. It seems to mean whatever his opponents want it to mean.

What stay the course means is that you want stay on the way to the goal. That goal was - from the beginning - to establish a stable Iraq and bring American troops home.

Many Bush opponents have never believed this and/or never believed it was possible. This is a legitimate disagreement. Implying that staying the course means staying in Iraq for ever is just incorrect.

Re staying until he is out of office - you remember when he first said that and it was treated as a scandal in some quarters. That implies these people thought it a change in policy. It was not a promise; it was merely as assessment.

Posted by: Jack at December 1, 2006 11:38 PM
Comment #197364
That goal was - from the beginning - to establish a stable Iraq and bring American troops home.

You’ve gotta be kidding me. The goal all along was to have a “stable Iraq” and “bring American troops home”?! We could have had a stable Iraq by doing nothing, and bringing the troops home wouldn’t have even been an issue.

You know, I’m cursed with this thing called memory, and I seem to remember other some goals that have fallen by the wayside. Like neutralizing the WMD? Establishing a democracy? And don’t forget the flypaper theory: That we are fighting the terrorists in Iraq so we don’t have to fight them here.

But wait a minute… if Iraq becomes stable, then it won’t be flypaper anymore. The bad guys will come back here!

Posted by: Woody Mena at December 2, 2006 12:21 AM
Comment #197368
It seems to mean whatever his opponents want it to mean.

No. It’s always had a very specific meaning: An insistence on keeping the same force levels in Iraq — not enough to win, but enough to destroy our military by attrition.

That goal was - from the beginning - to establish a stable Iraq and bring American troops home.

Which still hasn’t happened and there’s no indication things will be better in 2008. I understand that you guys need to go in semantic circles to avoid saying Democrats were right, but Democrats were right.

In fact, Democrats were right about everything from it being easier to achieve the goal by putting together a legitimate coalition through the UN, to sending more troops up front, to not handing the country back until we were sure thugs like al-Sadr wouldn’t get elected, to saying we should focus our troops on logistics and training.

It must be spooky to you guys how Bush is always wrong and Democrats are always right. Like witchcraft… or just plain common sense unblinded by ideology and spin.

To be fair, though, Hagel and Lugar said the same things all along as well. Unfortunately, moderates in the GOP are ignored and marginalized.

Posted by: American Pundit at December 2, 2006 1:09 AM
Comment #197373


Jack: The day after the election, Bush made his first attempt at tacking. He fired Rumsfeld.

Posted by: jlw at December 2, 2006 2:25 AM
Comment #197375

Jack, Eric, stop. Please stop. Admit the truth, and please stop trying to spin everything like a top. It’s so nauseating.
Woody, you’re absolutely right. Lamont is/was very moderate and mainstream, but I think that because the Netroots Left decided to get solidly behind him, the MSM found it extremely easy to paint him as a radical lefty.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 2, 2006 2:34 AM
Comment #197446

AP

I would not feel that good the Dems successfully predicting America could not win. I still have some hope. Two of my friends are running PRTs. Their impressions are different from what we hear in the media.

Remember when the VC destroyed themselves during TET. We only thought we lost.

Posted by: Jack at December 2, 2006 6:28 PM
Comment #197472

Jack,

I hope Bush’s critics are wrong about Iraq being an irredeemable mess, too, even if I am one of them. The long-term harm the Iraq fiasco is doing to the country outweighs the short-term political benefit to the Democrats and liberal causes.

But I don’t think we’re wrong…


Posted by: Woody Mena at December 2, 2006 9:12 PM
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