Monday, December 12, 2005

One Caveat to Good Article at Raising Kaine

There's a recommended read over at Raising Kaine. At RK, guest blogger Greg's article explores the recent history of James H. Webb, Jr., who's considering a run against George Allen. Though he'd be a formidable candidate, I don't have a formed opinion on Webb's candidacy yet. But a comment toward the end of the article invents a premise. The author asks, "How do you argue that Iraq was a strategic blunder without being perceived as "anti-war" or weak in general?" Answer: Reject the premise and by having the evidence, courage of your convictions, and the strength to stand strong in the face of attack. It's also important to be able to reflect and reassess (something neocons are incapable of). They can label it a liability of our side, but it is not.

Recently, over at, William Rivers Pitt wrote a great column on the GOP's talent for changing the premise. As Pitt describes, someone throws a strawman into the argument. For example, Dick Cheney claimed that "we were not in Iraq (at 9-11) and the "terrorists hit us anyway." But Iraqi's did not cause 9-11 (see 9-11 Commisssion Report.) This was known shortly after 9-11 and long before the war began. So Cheney inserted a false premise, which serves as a confound and a distraction. GOPHERS try to send the argument splintering in numerous different directions. In other words, they'll lob lots of "incoming" our way and try to make us defend ourselves. It's a well-worn tactic, which we must reject. Radical conservatives know that the minute they push hard on Democrats, we'll try to clone them into our image. And that's why they do it. But bullying aside, de facto, those with the courage to speak the truth are far from weak. They show a toughness neocons only dream of. After all, how hard is, really, it to be a mantra parrot or a robo-cop?

We Dems get so defensive that we allow the other side to redefine the argument time and again. Why? One need only run through a litany of current events to show how Bush's inability to reassess has limited real progress in this country. The RK column is a compelling one. I am impressed that Webb stood strong. And it's a far cry from the Clinton, Biden, Lieberman me-toos--as well as Virginia's "favorite" son. I also believe if a reasonably diligent person (with no staff) could determine that the Bush case for war was fraudulent, then how hard could it have been for Senators with staffs? They didn't all see what Bush "saw," but they likely should have known enough. And if not, why not?

Though I'd want to know much more about his other positions, Webb may well be the candidate. Certainly he has the primary requirement for a Senator, that he'll examine the extant evidence and tell the truth. IMO, to shirk the truth just because one has (even) higher office in mind is pretty unforgivable. Still, we all got in line behind Sen. Kerry despite his aging (though once strong) "spine." But, just for once it would be more-than-refreshing to find candidates who's integrity didn't take a holiday over the launching of the Iraq war. They all bought into the changing of the premise when they shouldn't have. It's not a sign of weakness, but a strength to stand with integrity when few else would. Let's do a better job of rejecting false or strawman premises, no matter whom we chose to represent us. And let's do a better job celebrating our recent heroes.