Arianna Huffington explores one of life’s great mysteries… how John McCain — despite his recent gaffes on Iraq, his insistence that renewed violence is evidence “the surge is working,” and his promise to continue the war for another hundred years — leads both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in national polls on the question of who is most capable of dealing with the war in Iraq, in the face of overwhelming support for withdrawal.
So what the hell is going on here? What accounts for such a major — and potentially disastrous — disconnect?
In short, Democratic candidates up and down the ticket are facing a message gap when it comes to Iraq. McCain’s rah-rah pitch is very simple and upbeat: “Vote for me and I will win the war.” Democrats have a tougher time trying to answer the question: “What are you going to do about Iraq?”
Part of the problem is the unrealized promises of 2006. Dashed hopes often metastasize into cynicism and mistrust. So this time around, voters want to hear more than “I am going to end the war.” They want to know how. Specifically. Concretely. In detail.
Enter Darcy Burner, a Democratic challenger who is running for Congress in Washington state. Working with national security experts and retired military generals such as Major Gen. Paul Eaton, the officer in charge of training the Iraqi military immediately after the invasion in 2003 and 2004, she developed “A Responsible Plan to End the War,” a comprehensive approach to Iraq based on legislation already introduced in Congress.
And as for the 45 Democratic challengers who have now signed on to the Responsible Plan?
It’s worth noting that this is no collection of “make love, not war” pacifists. Massa is a 24-year Navy veteran. Edwards’ father was in the Air Force. Burner’s brother served in Iraq. And they are all clear that there are real threats facing America, and that our military needs to stop being distracted — and depleted — in Iraq, so it can better address the mounting dangers in Afghanistan and the areas of Pakistan where al-Qaeda has reconstituted itself. So, for national security reasons, they are united in their commitment to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq and begin to repair the damage the war has done to America’s standing in the world.
The idea is to band together a group of challengers running on a shared platform who, if elected, will be able to head into Congress armed with a mandate, supported by allies, and wielding a specific legislative agenda designed to end the war. Call it A Contract to Restore America.
It is also an effective way to let voters know that this is a group of Democrats who won’t cave in every time the GOP accuses them of cutting-and-running or not supporting the troops, or when the media once again float the “precipitous withdrawal” meme.
The national media is starting to show Darcy the love she deserves, so with only two days left in the reporting quarter, shouldn’t you show your love too? By helping Darcy and her fellow challengers beat their fundraising targets you’ll not only help a promising class of challengers reach Congress, you’ll also help convince more challengers to sign on to the Plan and promise to bring a responsible end to this disastrous occupation.
Support the original ten endorsers of the Responsible Plan: