In the March 27 issue of The Nation, Ari Berman writes of top Democratic consultants' strategy to either completely avoid discussing Iraq or support the war while criticizing George Bush's handling of it.
As if to prove Berman's point, two days ago Hillary Clinton sent a fundraising email on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) under the bold subject heading, "Changing the Senate."
Clinton opens with the pronouncement, "You and I both know America needs a change of direction--and the American people know it too."
Yes, it's true that the American people know it. And, as Berman points out, "Asked what should be the highest priority for America this year, the largest number of respondents in the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll chose bringing most of the troops home."
But in her 672 word email (hint to Dems: your emails are too long) calling for "change," how many times did Senator Clinton mention Iraq? You guessed it--not a mention.
Healthcare costs, education, energy, and New Orleans–-all critical issues--are each mentioned in the NY Senator's appeal, along with this assertion: "I know that Democrats like you are ready to stand up and take on these tough challenges."
Hillary's right on this. But Democrats and independents are also taking a stand on changing course in Iraq while leading Democrats run for cover. Where is their passion and attention on an issue that is paramount in voters' concerns?
Three years, 20,000 U.S. casualties, up to $300 billion in direct war expenditures and close to $1 trillion in estimated total costs--and still no position? If not now, when?
Here's an idea: contact Hillary, the DSCC, and the DCCC--tell them until they take a stand for you, you won't take a stand for them either. The bank is closed. Because while they might not listen to the people, we know that money still talks in Washington.
Katrina vanden Heuvel is the editor of The Nation.
© 2006 The Nation