a heroine for our times

Leave it to Helen Thomas, the dean of the White House Press Corps, to bluntly spell out the truth about the ineffectiveness of the Democratic leadership in Congress.

In her syndicated column on Thursday, Thomas had this to say:

“President Bush has no better friends than the spineless Democratic congressional leadership and the party’s leading presidential candidates when it comes to his failing Iraq policy.

“Those Democrats seem to have forgotten that the American people want U.S. troops out of Iraq, especially since Bush still cannot give a credible reason for attacking Iraq after nearly five years of war.”

Thomas reserved her harshest criticism for the 3 leading Democratic contenders for the nomination, saying that they,

“sang from the same songbook: Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York, and Barack Obama of Illinois and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards refused to promise to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by 2013, at the end of the first term of their hypothetical presidencies. Can you believe it?

“When the question was put to Clinton, she reverted to her usual cautious equivocation, saying: ‘It is very difficult to know what we’re going to be inheriting.’

“Obama dodged, too: ‘I think it would be irresponsible’ to say what he would do as president.

“Edwards, on whom hopes were riding to show some independence, replied to the question: ‘I cannot make that commitment.’

“They have left the voters little choice with those answers.”

Well, not exactly, but as is pretty clear, beyond those three that the media has annointed, clear options for ending this war, like those proposed by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, are being dismissed, or ignored. Kucinich just doesn’t have the resources needed to play the game on a grand scale. His voice is not being heard.

Ms. Thomas also took to task Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who, she wrote,

“removed a provision from the most recent war-funding bill that would have required Bush to seek the permission of Congress before launching any attack on Iran. Her spokesman gave the lame excuse that she didn’t like the wording of the provision. More likely, she bowed to political pressure.”

This also is true. Rep. Pelosi has been a colossal disappointment. In my mind, her weakness on Iraq is just further proof that corporate influence has poisoned both political parties. The Dems are not nearly as thoroughly corrupted as the GOP, but they certainly do not represent the desires of the progressive base of the party.

Thomas concluded her piece by writing,

“Is it any wonder the Democrats are faring lower than the president in a Washington Post ABC approval poll? Bush came in at 33 percent and Congress at 29 percent.

“Members of Congress seem to have forgotten their constitutional prerogative to declare war; World War II was the last time Congress formally declared war.

“Presidents have found other ways to make end runs around the law, mainly by obtaining congressional authorization ‘to do whatever is necessary’ in a crisis involving use of the military. That’s the way we got into the Vietnam and Iraq wars.

“So what are the leading Democratic White House hopefuls offering? It seems nothing but more war. So where do the voters go who are sick of the Iraqi debacle?”

I suspect that the only hope, at the moment, is a successful ‘draft Al Gore’ movement. I think he is the only one in the political landscape with the resources, and hence, the ability, to be a voice for progressives and thwart the potential Hillary/Rudy slimefest that could ultimately become Election ’08.

For the full text of Helen Thomas’ column, click here.

with thanks to scootmandubious


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