Monday, December 12, 2005

Wisconsin Dems too quiet on Iraq

While Republican Rep. Mark Green leads the Purple Finger caucus and continues to predict "victory" in Iraq, Wisconsin Democrats in Congress have, for the most part, been pretty quiet about the war. As they say in the Westerns, it's too quiet out there.

It was a pleasant surprise, then, to read Sunday that Reps. Gwen Moore and Tammy Baldwin are members of the "Out of Iraq" caucus founded by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. But the fact that it was surprising was also a sign of how little the two women have had to say on the issue.

Baldwin and Moore, along with Rep. Dave Obey and Sen. Russ Feingold, voted against going to war in Iraq. But while Feingold has been on the leading edge of efforts to set a target date for bringing US troops home, we have heard little from the others. They've practically been AWOL.

Baldwin and Moore are in safe Democratic districts and don't need to have a finger in the wind; they could lead public opinion in their districts, but have not chosen to do so yet. Obey has more foreign policy experience than anyone else in the delegation, but has been quiet on Iraq.

Two Wisconsin Dems, Sen. Herb Kohl and Rep. Ron Kind voted in 2002 to authorize force against Iraq.

Neither one supports Feingold's call for a timetable, but both are unhappy with what has transpired since their votes, the newspaper reported last week.

Kind says the Bush administration "purposefully misled" lawmakers about weapons of mass destruction, and "it's been very clear from the beginning that the timing and manner in which the president introduced troops in Iraq was a mistake."

Kohl doesn't support a timetable but told the Journal Sentinel the U.S. should significantly reduce its role next year.

Kind said he accepts the view of those in the military who have told him that timetables "set them up for failure, since conditions can change on the ground."

But Kind also said, "At some point, we've got to make it clear to the Iraqis we're not intending to stick around forever."

... [I]n the year 2006, the Iraqi people have to step up and take over sovereignty of their country and have to do a much bigger job of taking over the security of their country," Kohl said.

Kohl is on the ballot in 2006, as are all of the House members. It's hard to imagine that Iraq will not be a major issue in their campaigns. It would make sense to get out in front on it, even if there's a little political risk. This is a case where it is better to lead public opinion than to follow it. Some would say it's an obligation.


Post a Comment

<< Home