Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Let 'em compete to end the war!

Many of us are so cynical about politics that we just ignore this stuff as meaningless noise. But peace activists would do well to realize that in their eagerness to sign up supporters, Democratic presidential hopefuls are competing to offer us actions to stop the war.
  • Barack Obama urges us to hammer Republican senators who might break a filibuster on a war vote.
  • Senator Clinton wants us to sign a petition to Bush not to veto Congressional restrictions on funding.
  • John Edwards, from his perch safely out of office, urges us to sign his petition to Congress to stand up to George W.
  • Bill Richardson, positioning himself as a diplomat, wants diplomacy, not "irresponsible aggression," in dealings with Iran.
  • Chris Dodd wants us to sign up to help him restore habeas corpus and to end torture.
  • Joe Biden wants our endorsement of his plan to end the Iraq war.
Sure -- all they really want are our email addresses. But just remember what they think it will take to get those addresses and to win over progressive activists. They have to speak our language, at least in mobilizing supporters. In the primary phase, they correctly think they need us, or at least need to neutralize our concerns.

This is what people's power looks like, at least at this stage of a long struggle. We need to force them to take their endorsements of our views far further than we have. We need action, not endorsements. But we shouldn't let the reality that we haven't won yet obscure how amazingly influential we've become! We're setting the terms of the 2008 Democratic debate -- that is progress.

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