Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) has become a controversial figure in the blogosphere. Yesterday, ThinkProgress sat down with her to discuss her stance on Iraq, among other issues. Tauscher began by telling us that she does not support the Bush strategy of escalation, noting that it is the fourth surge the administration has tried to effect without any success.
Referring to the current state of the strained and overstretched armed forces, Tauscher said, “I think this is a significant criminal dereliction of duty by the Commander in Chief.” She added that classified reports on military readiness are “chilling.”
ThinkProgress asked her whether she still stands behind her statement in the summer of 2002, when she said: “I am convinced that a regime change in Iraq is in the best interest of the United States and also our allies.” “I still think that was true,” she responded. She said her position then and now was that the “appropriate thing to do was to recontain Saddam Hussein” so that “you didn’t have to constantly look over your shoulder.” She said she tried to “slow things down” and avoid the “rush to war,” alluding to her sponsorship of a resolution that tried to delay the war vote until after the November 2002 midterm elections.
Tauscher said, “My constituents at home, while they didn’t want to go to war and didn’t believe we needed to go that far, wanted to deal with Saddam in a kind of permanent way — permanent in the sense that you didn’t have to worry about him in the short term. And I think people generally wanted to have regime change, they wanted to have the Iraqis freed from him.” But “never in my wildest dreams did I believe that that the Bush administration would fabricate information about weapons of mass destruction, cherrypick intel and feed it to the American people and Congress on a silver platter and make the case so significant that it would be irresponsible not to do something.” Watch it:
ThinkProgress also asked Tauscher about her attitude towards the netroots. We’ll be reporting on that tomorrow.
The story about the walking back of intelligence claims about the DPRK’s uranium enrichment program continues, I think, not to get the level of attention it deserves. Joe Cirincione has a great article on the subject on the Foreign Policy website.
Al From, president of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, and pollster Mark Penn wrote a strategy memo to DLC supporters last week warning party leaders not to use Bush’s problems as an invitation to call for an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, or generally to steer a more liberal course that could alienate the middle-of-the-road voters the party needs. . . .
From and Penn said the most defensible ground for Democrats is a middle path: rejecting deadlines for troop withdrawal but endorsing “clear benchmarks” to measure progress and hold Bush accountable for the results.
That was December 2005. Penn is Hillary Clinton’s pollster and one of her key political strategists. And now he’s very upset that people might attack his candidate from the left on national security issues.
Steve Clemons reports that Ron Unz is going to be taking over as publisher of The American Conservative which seems like basically excellent news to me. Scott McConnell will continue as editor. I have, obviously, any number of disagreements with the general editorial line over there, but it would be a healthy thing for there to be stronger voices arguing for a vision of conservatism that amounts to something other than relentless cheerleading for the GOP leadership and perpetual war.
Via Robert Farley, the Russians are stepping up the pressure on the Iranian nuclear program. This, certainly, is good news. This is really the thing to keep in mind regarding the nuclear issue. Other countries can hurt Iran a lot more than we can. Conversely, if other countries decide to actively help Iran go nuclear, they can be enormously helpful. This dynamic — the attitude of countries that are neither the United States nor Iran — is the key variable that’s in play and American actions all need to be geared toward winning that diplomatic battle. Insofar as we’re the reasonable ones, the ones willing to cut a reasonable deal, the ones who aren’t going to do anything crazy, etc. we have a very good chance of scoring continued success.
Metric, “Monster Hospital”:
“I fought the war, I fought the war, I fought the war
But the war won.
I fought the war, I fought the war, I fought the war
But the war won’t stop for the love of God.”