Posted: 05/27/07 15:21
by Dave Mindeman
Some personal notes:
The past few weeks have had a lot of disappointing results. The State Legislature and the Congress, despite solid Democratic majorities withered in the face of executive vetos. I expressed some of my personal disappointments with all that in past posts, and that reality has certainly not changed.
But, I am not one of those who will call for the "heads" of those who lead us into those disappointments. I am too much of a realist to join that chorus. Democrats may not have developed spines yet, but the alternatives are far less palatable. I stopped counting on "the party" long ago. I prefer instead to work for progressive issues.... often, as it stands now, that means working for Democratic candidates, but it doesn't mean I am 100% convinced that election of Democrats means the goals have been achieved.
In regards to the Iraq Supplemental bill... Frankly, I have more respect for Tim Walz's YES vote then I have for Hillary Clinton's and Barak Obama's NO votes. Although I disagree strongly with Walz, he, at least, offered an explanation that shows some soul searching. At first blush, the cynic in me remains skeptical that the timing of RNC Ads against Walz and his vote are too coincidental. But after reading his Op-Ed explanation, I think he is sincere....wrong, but sincere.
On the other hand, Clinton and Obama did what was politically expedient for their personal campaigns. They concealed their hand up to the last minute. The cynical side of me would, again, be convinced that they counted up the votes to see that the bill would pass overwhelmingly without them, then cast their own NO votes to appease those of us who are on the anti-war left. Too cynical? Maybe.
Amy Klobuchar is still a puzzle. Although she never seemed to be strongly in the anti-war camp, her rhetoric seemed to lead to a conclusion of getting out of Iraq, sooner rather than later. I guess I was mistaken and won't make that assumption again.
Overall, the Democratic leadership is most to blame. They cannot articulate a coherent strategy. They continue to react to White House talking points rather than initiating their own. My only hope is that their future strategy has more potency....as they are the only other horse to back. The problem continues to be time.... waiting for September will mean at least 300 to 500 more American soldiers will pay the ultimate price.
In Minnesota, the Democrats in both Houses are just a few votes short of veto proof majorities.... yet they act as though they are completely powerless. Negotiating positions are abandoned at the first sign of an executive objection. The Governor seems in complete control of the media message. Maybe it is just a first round feeling out process, maybe inexperience, or maybe new tactics are needed. Whatever it is, I hope there will be better outcomes during the next session.
Although disappointed, I haven't given up. The DFL Party wants the progressives to just accept what happens and shut up. That isn't going to happen. The progressive movement has worked too hard to sit quietly in the corner when opportunities are there. Some are very angry.... some want to see changes in leadership. I won't go that far but I am pretty desperate for better results.
Patience may be a virtue, but when soldiers are dying in Iraq and the poor keep getting neglected at home, it is hard to put patience at the top of the list.