This week DNC Chair Howard Dean delivered the Democratic response to President Bushâ€™s weekly radio address. Dean started out by reiterating the Partyâ€™s stance that it is time to get out of Iraq. â€œLast week, President Bush compared the Iraq War to our ongoing commitment in South Korea, suggesting a plan for a 50-year presence in Iraq. By saying this, President Bush and the Republicans showed once again that they simply do not get it. It’s time to end the war, not escalate it. A 50-year plan for Iraq is a continuation of an ineffective strategy and it is not acceptable. Our brave men and women in uniform deserve better. They have served with honor and distinction, but its time for the mission to change. It’s time for the mission in Iraq to focus on a political solution, not a military one. It’s time for a responsible end to this war,” the party chairmanÂ said.
Dean said that the debates earlier this week illustrated the difference between the Democratic and Republican 2008 candidates for president on the issue of Iraq. â€œRight down the line, we saw Republican contender after Republican contender embrace President Bush’s escalation of the war and now defend the 50-year plan for Iraq. The Republican field of presidential candidates only offers more of the same ongoing support for the President’s failed, ineffective strategies. The Democratic candidates for president all stood united and firmly committed to responsibly ending the war in Iraq. This week, they each spoke passionately against any misguided stay-the-course plan that keeps our men and women in uniform policing a civil war,â€ he said.
Dean also warned that America is counting on the Democrats to end the war. â€œThe American people hired Democrats last November to ensure that we end this war. So let me be clear, we know that if we don’t keep our promise, we may find ourselves the minority again. But we have to face the reality that Republicans in Congress are standing with President Bush as he stubbornly wields his veto pen in the face of overwhelming opposition to this war from the American people.”
Â ”Democrats in Congress will continue to work hard to hold the President accountable and to pressure him to responsibly end this war. We want to ensure that we refocus our military efforts on fighting terrorist networks which are resurging in Afghanistan and that our brave troops have the resources they need both on the battlefield and when they come home.â€ Dean ended his remarks by saying that the only way the American people can be certain of ending the war is by electing a Democratic president in 2008.
This radio address laid out in a nutshell what is going to be the Democratsâ€™ 2008 General Election argument on what will probably be the biggest issue of the campaign. What I am starting to worry about is that the campaign promise to end the war in 2008 might end up the same way as the promise to end the war did in the 2006 midterm election. I donâ€™t know if it is such a good idea for Dean to committing his party to a position that might not be as easy as it sounds. What if a Democratic president is elected, and once he/she is in office they realize that the Iraq situation is much more complicated than they thought it was? I believe that unless you want Iraq to completely fall apart, a withdrawal has to be gradually done over the course of 18 months or two years, but the war is so unpopular that this is a strong message for 2008, and one that it will be nearly impossible for the GOP to effectively counter.
Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com. Â His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics