Edwards Calls For Mass Opposition To The Surge
AP Photo of John Edwards today in Manhattan calling on Americans to resist Bush’s troop surge
Notwithstanding my post yesterday on Bush’s surge proposal and my qualified support for it, the political dynamic launched by the proposal inside both parties as we head towards the 2008 campaign is already unfolding. On “Meet the Press” today, Chuck Hagel called into question the credibility and competency of Joe Lieberman, when our friend Joe tried to tell us on the same show that our choice in Iraq was simply a choice between victory and defeat.
Hagel: I am not nor any member of Congress that I'm aware of Tim, is advocating defeat, that's ridiculous and I'm offended that any responsible member of Congress or anyone else would even suggest such a thing…Sen. Lieberman talks about his children and grandchildren, we all have children and grandchildren—he doesn't have a market on that nor do any of my colleagues. We're all concerned about the future of this country…
I have already speculated that the McCain Doctrine will end up crippling its author’s chances at getting independent votes in 2008. I have also remarked privately to several journalists that the recent CBS and AP/Ipsos polls that show the country fixated on Iraq as the Number One issue facing the country, and the polls’ recent findings that large majorities reject Bush’s surge would give both John Edwards and Barack Obama a chance to tag Hillary for being too timid on the surge and Iraq. Although Obama is still playing it somewhat safe with regards to the surge, Edwards came out today in Manhattan and laid down a marker to fellow Democrats.
The growing pressure on Democrats to confront the White House was highlighted by a speech delivered Sunday by John Edwards, the former Democratic senator from North Carolina who is seeking his party’s presidential nomination. Mr. Edwards, who voted to authorize the war when he was in the Senate in 2002 but has since said that was a mistake, said that Congress had a moral duty to cut off financing.
“If you’re in Congress and you know this war is going in the wrong direction, it is no longer enough to study your options and keep your own counsel,” Mr. Edwards said at Riverside Church in Manhattan where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once gave a speech denouncing the American campaign in Vietnam. “Speak out, and stop this escalation now. You have the power to prohibit the president from spending any money to escalate the war — use it.”
Mr. Edwards also called on fellow Democrats to support the immediate withdrawal of 50,000 troops.
In making his speech, Mr. Edwards staked out antiwar turf in the nascent Democratic presidential primary contest while challenging others to do the same — most notably Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who also voted to authorize military action in Iraq in 2002 but has yet to take a position on legislative options like withholding funds. She visited Iraq on Saturday to speak with military commanders, and plans to explain her views in fuller detail when she returns Tuesday.
Edwards knows that he can maneuver around both the too-cautious Hillary and Obama on the issue of the surge. He apparently has read the same polls, knowing that if he gets out in front of a “no funds for the surge” movement, he will not only grab the party’s base but also a large portion of independent voters as well.
That's Smart Politics 101 kids. He just stuck a finger in the eyes of his chief Democratic competitors, while McCain heads for the deep end of the lake with Lieberman as his anchorweight among independents.
Hat tip to Crooks and Liars for the video link