Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Smart Men, Foolish Choices

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 26, 2007

Over at FDL, I just ticked off a lot of people, which I didn’t want to do, but knew was unavoidable given the subject.

One of the few non-ticked-off folks left this for me:

LnL @ 202

Thanks, PW, for your adult statement.

The Dems do not have the numbers to override a veto or to succeed at impeachment.

No rhetoric, no breath-holding, no ranting, no foot-stamping can change the numbers.

Dems do have the numbers to conduct investigations and oversight in congressional committees. They must compile the record documenting the wrong-doing of this vile administration.

The rest is theater and I wish Dems did it better.

In many cases, it probably isn’t theater. It may well be honestly held, albeit misguided, belief. Let me explain.

I keep going back to a conversation LBJ had with McGeorge Bundy about Vietnam back in 1964. (A transcript can be found here.) Johnson expressed grave doubts about being in Vietnam, but in the end told himself and Bundy that they had to be there because otherwise the Communists would be invading the US — and remember, this was only a few years after Stalin’s death, as the details of his hideous régime were coming to light in the West. (And let’s not even get into what Mao did.) In addition, the events of the Bay of Pigs (where we tried to invade Cuba to deprive the Soviets of a client state) and the Cuban Missile Crisis (where the Soviets in reply installed nuclear-ready missiles in Cuba, missiles capable of reaching the US before our early-warning systems of the time could spot them) were still fresh in the minds of most people. Suffice to say that when people in America in 1964 thought of Communism, they didn’t have nice happy thoughts about it.

If somebody as smart and otherwise well-informed as LBJ (and remember, LBJ gave us the Great Society, expanded on Roosevelt’s New Deal, and fought the Dixiecrats in his own party to promote civil rights, among other things) could honestly believe that “if you start running from the Communists, they may just chase you right into your own kitchen” (to be fair, after the Cuban Missile Crisis, he had some justification for thinking that), is it any surprise that anyone, even a congressmember might think — especially with the media Wurlitzer’s constant repeatings thereof — that Vietnam vets were routinely spat upon (turns out that they weren’t, but few people know that), or that ending the Vietnam War really hurt Democrats politically (a belief for which the actual evidence is slim at best)?

Or that voting against the supplemental means that troops will be hurt in the field?

That last is a very big deal when Americans have repeatedly expressed their disapproval of ending the war by “cutting off funding”, which, again, is associated (especially by the hard-right wing of the GOP/Media Complex) with how the Democrats in the early 1970s, fighting Nixon tooth and nail, finally got us out of Vietnam — and has thus been demonized. They said so in a recent CNN poll which showed that 60% of Americans opposed cutting off funding to end the war, and they say it even more strongly in this New York Times poll here, which showed that while troops are still in Iraq, Americans overwhelmingly support continuing to finance the war, though most want to do so with conditions. Only thirteen percent want Congress to block all money for the war. Since the original Democratic supplementals on Iraq were and are presented by the press as “cutting off funding” (leading to mental images of starving American troops in the field) guess how the public (not the people who frequent the reality-based part of the blogosphere, but the general public) sees them?

5 Responses to “Smart Men, Foolish Choices”

  1. Doran Williams said

    I read this post last night, Saturday, and there were a ton of comments to it, some of which I wanted to cut and paste into an email to friends. I could not, because we were having a thunderstorm and heavy rain at the time, and my sat. uplink failed. Where can I find those comments?

  2. There were? Yours this morning is the first one I’ve seen in this thread. I know that there’s been much comment action in the other threads, but I didn’t think there was any over here. (Then again, if I make a comment more than once in five minutes on my own blog, Akismet thinks I’m spamming myself and heaves me into the spam filter. So they might be in there.)

  3. Charles said

    I checked the Spam box. I didn’t find any recent posts, though I did find a bunch from CMike from a week ago, which I restored.

    I think Doran may be thinking of the FDL thread.

  4. whig said

    FDL is way too high volume for me to follow, so I’m glad when you remind me here to check out what you post there.

  5. whig said

    By the way, political theater is serious (and this is true even when it is done comedically, as by Jon Stewart). We aren’t going to back down or fold on this but the Democratic party can redeem itself by finding a way to end the war. We understand necessary compromises when the war is over, we do not accept them unless it ends.

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