When Claire met with the Progressives about foreign policy, the Instead of War crowd showed up in force to hear her out. I’d say they were unimpressed. Afterwards, the buzz on their email list split evenly between those who thought her views on foreign policy in general and Iraq in specific were unacceptable, and those who thought she should be supported as “the lesser evil”. Hardly a ringing endorsement.
Claire has been saying about the war, “If you find yourself in a hole, then stop digging.” Well, she forgot that if you find your opponent in a hole, you should not jump in there beside him. The Neo-Liberal (“neo” meaning NOT), DLC, machine Democrats have continued to buy into the Republican framing that Democratic policy has to be more hawkish than the Republicans in order to avoid being portrayed as weak on national security. And so we had Kerry (and Jean) (and for months Claire) giving us the old, tired notion that Democrats would do the same as Republicans on the war, but we would send even more of our kids over there to kill and to die, and somehow it would all work out all better if a Democrat did it than if a Republican did.
But reality intervened. This time it is not just poor Blacks being sent to die, but working class Republicans are seeing their own kids (who mistakenly thought the National Guard was still a safe alternative to fighting) come home dead or maimed, and for no good reason. And even the Republican base wants us out of there. And the DLC Dems, the Kerrys, and the Clintons–and Claire–are left looking like they got played for fools by the Republicans…again. And now Jim Baker, the Bush family retainer, is going to come up with new ideas (meaning he will plagiarize Murtha and claim Murtha’s plans as his own) and Bush & Co will climb out of that hole by stepping on the heads of Dems like Kerry and Claire, who will need to find their own way out of the pit. That’s what happens when Democrats accept Republican framing instead of making their own.
Claire’s first mistake was to fail to mend fences, first with the Holden crowd, and second with her Progressive activist base. Her second mistake was to pay too much attention to the “New Democrat”, Neo-Liberal crowd’s views on wars and foreign policy instead of listening to her constituents, both her own base, and the base on the other side.
A shame, since when I read her entire platform as a whole instead of just her inadequate foreign policy, she does seem like she has been listening…