A Test of Leadership

This is a post on behalf of the Presidential candidacy of Senator Chris Dodd. I am not connected to the campaign.

The Washington Post reports:

Democratic leaders in Congress have decided to shift course and pursue modest bipartisan measures to alter U.S. military strategy in Iraq, hoping to use incremental changes instead of aggressive legislation to break the grip Republicans have held over the direction of war policy.

. . . “We’re reaching out to the Republicans to allow them to fulfill their word,” Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) said yesterday. “A number of them are quoted significantly saying that come September that there would have to be a change of the course in the war in Iraq.”

Let me be blunt, the Democratic leadership is either being extremely foolish or extremely cynical. They should know that accomodating Senate Republicans will do nothing to change course in Iraq, much less end the Iraq Debacle. If they do not they are being foolish. If they do, then they are being cynical. And foolishly cynical as no political or policy aim can be met by accommodating Senate Republicans.

Democratic Presidential candidates who are in the Congress have, not only an opportunity, but a duty to lead the Democrats in Congress away from this disastrous course and to an approach that can end the Iraq Debacle and make clear which political party wants to end the Debacle and which one wants to continue it.

In an interview last night with Keith Olbermann, Senator Chris Dodd eloquently explained what the stakes are in this Congressional Iraq Debate:

I urge you to watch this segment as Dodd demonstrates the qualities that will make him a great Democratic President, with a deep understanding of the true source of America’s greatness – our values. Of special note is Dodd’s discussion of his new book, Letters From Nuremberg, a collection of letters from his father, Senator Thomas Dodd, who worked with Justice Robert Jackson at the Nuremberg trials, which he describes as “epistles to this generation.”

Senator Dodd is providing leadership now on Iraq in the Senate. In his remarkably good speech yesterday, Senator Barack Obama said:

You know, I welcome all of the folks who have changed their position on the war over these last months and years. And we need more of those votes to change if we’re going to change the direction of this war. That is why I will keep speaking directly to my colleagues in the Congress, both Republican and Democratic. Historically, we have come together in a bipartisan way to deal with our most monumental challenges. We should do so again. We have the power to do this – not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans. We don’t have to wait until George Bush is gone from office – we can begin to end this war today, right now.

Senator Dodd’s challenge to his colleagues to not support any legislation that does not have an enforceable date certain for ending the Debacle is on point:

And Senator Dodd is right when he says:

I was disappointed that Senator Obama’s thoughts on Iraq today didn’t include a firm, enforceable deadline for redeployment, and dismayed that neither he nor Senator Clinton will give an unequivocal answer on whether they would support a measure if it didn’t have such an enforceable deadline.

“It is clear to me – especially after yesterday’s testimony – that half-measures aren’t going to stop this President or end our involvement in this civil war. I thought it was clear to Senators Obama and Clinton as well after they finally came around to supporting the Feingold-Reid measure and voting against a blank-check supplemental spending bill this spring. If ‘enough was enough’ then, why isn’t it after the bloodiest summer of the war?

“Senator Obama has a gift for soaring rhetoric, but, on this critical issue, we need to know the substance of his position with specificity. Without tying a date certain to funding how does he plan to enforce his call for an immediate redeployment?

“The only specificity Senator Obama offered was a call for a new constitution, but that will do nothing other than provide the Iraqis and the Bush Administration another excuse to delay — the ink is barely dry on the constitution they have.

“It is going to take bold leadership to change our course in Iraq. We need to do more than write letters to the President, we need to be clear with him.

“I urge Senators Obama and Clinton not to backtrack on the need for a firm, enforceable deadline and state clearly and directly whether they will support an Iraq measure if it does not include one.”

It is a question of leadership. Now. On Iraq.

79 comments

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    • Armando on September 13, 2007 at 4:02 pm
      Author

    as this is my weekly MYDD post on behalf of Senator Dodd.

    • Zwoof on September 13, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    I think we’re 4 seconds apart

  1. He has done a bit of his own homework also and even talking specific numbers possible to withdraw per month being 2.5 brigades.  Wimps don’t venture to investigate such things let alone say such things.

  2. but he rocked on KO last night. It’s nice to see someone with a backbone in the Senate (apart, of course, from Feingold).

  3. thank you for your leadership.

    if youre going to darken your eyebrows, shape them like eyebrows.  just sayin…

    /message to sen dodd

    of course youre absolutely correct, armando.  for instance, biden’s logic on iraq is ‘if we dont fund, the troops dont get up-armored vehicles’.  um…joe…if we end the fucking war-ccupation, the troops get to come home.  dont need up-armored vehicles where i live, joe, and you dont live too far from me.  just sayin..

    • documel on September 13, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    This is an easy one–Dems should be as cooperative to their Republican colleagues as they were to the Dems recently–NOT AT ALL.  I am getting preemptively angry at Nancy–again.

  4. Can someone please explain to me why more Democratic Presidential contenders don’t come out strongly in favor of an Iraq withdrawal policy that the vast majority of Democrats approve of?

    Dodd’s position is not only good policy. It’s good politics.  He sees his opening left by the equivocating ‘Big Three’ and takes the opportunity to fill that void. 

    Oh, if only we had a few more smart Democratic politicians running for President who understand the way this game is supposed to be played.

    Let me be blunt, the Democratic leadership is either being extremely foolish or extremely cynical.

    I’d say both.

  5. electability is not one of your sticking points?

    Don’t get me wrong….I love what he is doing. Dodd has surprised and gratified the hell out of me since the MCA….

    But

    I see him as being about as electable as Kucinich.

    I am SURE you have had this conversation elsewhere, lol, so feel free to just link me to your boilerplate post on the issue!

  6. When I click “post a comment” it kicks me back to the top instead of staying where I am  and I have to scroll to find the open box to comment. It does the same thing after I click preview…kicks me out of my place and I have to scroll to find where my preview box is. Very annoying. Can the founders contact Soapblox and see if they can work on this? Thanks.

    • banger on September 13, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    they are the ones that seem to be responsible for who gets publicity. Two candidates who deserve more notice are Senator Dodd and Governor Richardson. Both are very clear about the Iraq War and other issues where the two front-runners are not. Both are highly qualified but lack the buzz among the courtiers. There’s not much we can do about that either. We live at a time of style over substance and fame over ability–it’s just the way it is. At best one of them (I hope) will be VP.

    • plf515 on September 13, 2007 at 6:22 pm

    but has he any chance?  I mean, I would bet most people don’t even know he’s running!

  7. a bit like Howard Dean?

  8. He sure has brought himself up in my estimation by his willingness to speak plainly and powerfully.  I’d like to see more of him in the debates.  I’m very sceptical about rhetoric right now, what I want is blunt, plain words that point to a way home for US troops.

    From my point of view we are wrong to be there, we are exacerbating the problem every day we are there, we increase the hatred of others towards our country every time a soldier shoves someone around, points a gun at them in front of their kids, and generally acts as an occupier must act.  This doesn’t even take into account what we know is happening, the torture, the secret prisons, the renditions, the barbaric acts that we used to lay at the door of the KGB.

    Nothing is harming our country more, and will cause it more grief in the long run, than this war.  I would leave the equipment behind if necessary and start pulling troops as transport was available, we can replace the equipment out of the $10 billion we spend per month, and we can replace it at a level that encompasses a much smaller military in my opinion.

    • SherriG on September 13, 2007 at 6:55 pm

    throughout Sen. Dodds interview, Armando.  Especially when he stated that he will soon propose approval of funding only for the orderly redeployment of our troops.

    Sen. Dodd is an important voice.  And, I agree with and respect him. 

  9. Now on front page at Huffingtonpost.

    http://www.huffingto

      • DWG on September 13, 2007 at 5:41 pm

      John Kerry.  The whole logic behind his support was electability.  I am not sure John Kennedy or Bill Clinton looked most electable. 

    1. in theory

      But since that is exactly why they do it and we have….as yet…no way to do anything about it….

      One of the many reasons I am a Gore guy is that he has the potential to explode a lot of the current structure that has been emplaced to control the process.

      Also a big BIG Public Financing guy.

  10. been underexposed as a candidate. I’m impressed by his saying the first thing he would do is restore the constitution. This issue is for me that most important. Everything seems to spring out of this, including this unstoppable? war. 

  11. I saw him on Countdown last night and was very impressed. Unfortunately I just can’t see him having a prayer against Hillary.

  12. It gets that voice into the conversation. I admit I have not been following Senator Dodd much, but his comments really made me sit up and take note. How easy it is to simply state, enough!

    And the rest of the pack (save, perhaps Kucinich) can’t even get the gumption to do that.

    Thank you, Senator Dodd!

  13. He is head and shoulders above the rest on clarity.  I liked what he said about Jan. 20th: “the first thing I’ll do is restore the Constitution.”  As for his statement about “new Nurembergs,” well, I’m hoping he was just keeping his head low.  It is not consistent with the rest of his views to follow the rule of law to its logical conclusions in all cases but some.

    • byteb on September 13, 2007 at 9:46 pm

    Kos sounds like he’s liking Dodd a great deal while having enough of Obama:

    “Which senator is showing leadership, and which one is preemptively capitulating?

    Is there anything Obama will fight for? Because at this point, I don’t even get the sense he’s fighting for the nomination.”

  14. I respect Senator Dodd and his expectations to be able to remove up to 2 and 1/2 brigades/month from Iraq.  I wonder which of our 3 top-tier candidates you believe have the same mission?  My SSG National Guard son and his military/local friends in the Tampa Bay area totally support Obama and his Middle Eastern policies. They “trust” him and are hearing straight talk with the worsening mess in Iraq, Afghanistan and the growth of Bin Laden’s groupies in the “Waziristan” area of Pakistan.  For safety reasons, we can not pull troops too quickly from Iraq and we certainly don’t want to leave behind equipment/gear that can be used against others. (such as what happened when we arrived in Iraq)  Now, Bushco is arming the former “Sunni” insurgents, while our Congresscritters have ignored investigating/prosecuting the Cheney/Bushco Cabal for their blatant War Crimes and War Profiteering in Afghanistan and Iraq; in our name and with our stolen tax dollars.  Obama has picked up the necessary independent/moderate voters in our area, Edwards would probably do well as many of these voters liked him better than Kerry in 2004.  (Gore won our Pinellas County in 2000, Kerry shockingly lost it in 2004)  Hillary will get her butt kicked in the general elction in this area because so many of our voters are registered independent because they disliked the Clinton and Bush administrations.  Maybe S. Florida can win Florida for Hillary with the registered Democrats but I doubt it.  Maybe she won’t need this “swing” state if she gets more independent/moderate support elsewhere.  love, mjd

  15. I’m still undecided but he is really growing on me. One thing I really like is his knowledge of Latin America.

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