Allright readers, in a classic case of missing the forest for the trees, Jack O’Toole has taken umbrage with this statement:
The funniest claim is when Democrats who voted in favor of the war claim that it was a politicized vote because they voted yes, and had they not been the middle of an election, they would have voted no. Republicans all still would have voted yes. Who the hell politicized what? You mean because you are such an unprincipled lout that you voted differently because you were afraid of not being elected- if that is what you mean, you can simply stop talking about Iraq right now- you have shown that your own political ambitions trump that of issues of great importance- like national security.
I’d like to join John in denouncing these pusillanimous Dems, but, unfortunately (and I’m sure only because he was distracted by his understandable anger), he forgot to mention who they were, or to link to any source that might provide that information. So I promise you this, Gentle Reader: As soon as John provides me with the names, I’ll denounce them right here on this weblog. In fact, I’ll add the word “update” below, and you can just check back from time to time throughout the day to view the names as they pour in.[POSTSCRIPT: I’m actually being somewhat serious here, at least to this extent: If any Democrat really was stupid enough to say that he personally voted for the war only because of the upcoming elections and that he’d have voted the other way in an off year, he deserves to be publicly shamed, and I’d be more than happy to participate in that process.]
Jack’s intent is clear- he intends to use the absence of any Democrat actually stating “I voted differently on the resolution because of the election” to counter my basic charge (albeit written in a hasty screed) that there were widespread claims by Democrat politicians and pundits alike that placing the Iraq vote before the midterm elections was nothing more than a partisan electoral maneuver.
So, since my LexisNexis is on the fritz, I would appreciate it if you could post every claim by Democrats that the placement of the Iraq vote prior to the elections was a partisan maneuver. I remember Daschle and Kerry making statements to that effect, I definitely remember an Oliphant Globe article on the issue, and I know that there were numerous politicians and wags alike who made similar claims.
Post em as you find ’em, and I, like Jack, doubt there is anyone who would say anything as overtly stupid as I suggested in my initial post. Jack is right in that no one has stated anything that reaches that level of stupidity, and I should have worded the charge better, but the implication is clear. I will leave it up to others to explain what else ‘politicizing’ the resolution meant- and it didn’t just mean that it was crowding out domestic issues. Remember, it was the Democrats who wanted to debate the war and ‘get it out of the way’ so they could bash Bush on corporate scandals he had nothing to do with, as well as the usual Democrat domestic claims.
What the Democrats meant was that the timing of the vote, to them, was bad, because Democrats in races in moderate to right leaning districts/states may not be able to vote the party line (against an Iraq resolution) and get re-elected. The implication is clear, and any other interpretation is fanciful.
Some Quick Examples:
Many Democrats had wanted to postpone a vote until after the elections; Daschle has repeatedly warned that a preelection vote risked politicizing the issue. – WaPo, 18 September 2002
Byrd said the Bush administration had trivialized the congressional debate on authorizing the use of force.
“There is nothing more sobering than the decision to go to war,” Byrd said. “But the administration has turned the decision into a bumper-sticker election theme.” CNN, 25 Sep 2002
Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia shook with anger Wednesday as he bluntly accused Republicans of politicizing the war debate.
He accused Vice President Dick Cheney of “using war talk to win the election.”
“This war strategy seems to have been hatched by a political strategist intent on winning the midterm election at any cost, any cost” — even, Byrd added, if it meant placing “this nation on the brink of battle.”
Byrd said that it was “despicable” that any president “would attempt to use the serious matter of impending war as a tool in a campaign.” IHT, 26 Sep 2002
Daschle eventually threw his support to the president – whom he earlier had denounced for “politicizing” Iraq. “America should speak with one voice,” he said.
Afterward, Daschle said he had “grave concern and deep reservations” for giving Bush such broad authority to make war. But, Daschle confided, he was up against “an imperfect situation … and limited choices.”
“You can’t take Iraq out of the political context,” said Norman Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. “Obviously, coming before the election, you’re going to get a different vote than you would get if it occurred in January, when there’s two years until the next election.” AP, 11 Oct 2002
Al Gore: “President George W. Bush…is pushing for a vote in this Congress immediately before the election. Rather than making efforts to dispel concern at home an abroad about the role of politics in the timing of his policy, the President is publicly taunting Democrats with the political consequences of a ‘no’ vote.”
Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), apparently agreed with you: “Now, I am also greatly disturbed that many Democratic leaders have also put political calculation ahead of the president’s accountability to truth and reason by supporting this resolution.”
I’m thinking that anyone who considers the political consequences of their vote to be of greater concern than the moral consequences is a hopeless career politician whose expostulations of outrage are purely for political gain.
Most folks use a delicate calculus; one can do no good if one is not in power, but one must take some risks, or there is no point in being in power.
I wasn’t impressed by Kerry’s decision, but then, that’s why he’s not my choice for the Presidential nomination.