Thursday, June 16, 2005

Opening Move

There are/were two factions in the Democratic party - those who supported the Iraq war and those who didn't. Most of the Iraq war supporters have been unwilling to admit their error, and some like Lieberman are fully on board with The Tinkerbell Strategy. However, "hawks," the ones who get treated as "serious" and are called on to the gab fests to give the Democratic views on foreign policy have never been able to craft a position or a policy which made any sense or had any political traction - largely because at this stage the only plan is hope. As a consequence there has really been a complete leadership vacuum on Iraq (on the Republican side, too, as Cuckoo Bananas hasn't exactly been displaying any either).

Now, for better or for worse, the anti-war faction is going to step up. They will be marginalized and largely ignored by the media, but they will have what the hawk faction doesn't have and probably can't - a clear message and position.

I don't know what the right politics are and I don't know what the right policies are, really, but the question now is whether the rest of the Democrats, those "centrists" and "hawks" start to tear the party apart over this issue by distancing themselves from the dirty hippies. There was a leadership vacuum, and now it might be filled.

(Washington, D.C.) - Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) has informed Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) that she and Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Lynn Woolsey, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. John Conyers, and Rep. John Lewis are leading a newly formed Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus, with 41 members as of today.

Rep. Waters said: "The Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus is a newly formed effort whose sole purpose is to be the main agitators in the movement to bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Our efforts will include the coordination of activities and legislation designed to achieve our goal of returning our troops home. Through floor statements, press conferences, TV and radio appearances and other actions, we will provide leadership for the American Public who has been waiting too long for our collective voices against the war."

“This announcement illustrates the changing tide in Washington around the issue of the Iraq Occupation,” says National Director of PDA Tim Carpenter. “This caucus will allow a collective dialogue within Congress on this issue, in which the tens of thousands of grassroots activists within PDA will be working to support.”

In addition, Rep. Waters will speak at today's 5 pm rally in Lafayette Square Park in support of Rep. John Conyers' (D-MI) hearings today on the Downing Street memo. Before the rally Rep. Waters will be attending the hearings. The hearings are being held from 2:30-4:30 pm in Room HC-9 of the U.S. Capitol, with overflow at the Wasserman Room at 430 S Capitol St. SE.

Current members of the caucus include:

Rep. Neil Abercrombie, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. Corrine Brown, Rep. Julia Carson, Rep. Donna Christensen, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. William Delahunt, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Rep. Sam Farr, Rep. Chaka Fattah, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Rep. Rush Holt, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Shelia Jackson - Lee, Rep. John Lewis, Rep. James McGovern, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Jim Moran, Rep. Grace Napolitano, Rep. Eleanor Holmes-Norton, Rep. John Olver, Rep. Major Owens, Rep. Donald Payne, Rep. Nick Rahall, Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Janice Schakowsky, Rep. Bobby Scott, Rep. Jose Serrano, Rep. John Tierney