Has Thursday’s capitulation by Congressional Democrats over funding the war in Iraq made Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas replace his youthful idealism with old-fashioned pragmatism?
Such appears to be the case in Kos’ post published at his website Friday dealing with this interesting turn of events before the Memorial Day weekend.
As his piece entitled “Moving Forward” began, one got the sense that the strongly antiwar Moulitsas might slam Democrats he supported in November for this obvious betrayal (emphasis added throughout):
[Sen. Jim Webb (D-Virginia)], like most of his colleagues, bought into the b.s. right-wing frame that voting against this supplemental was voting against our troops. And the congressional Democrats were wholly incapable of making the ridiculously simple observation that they were funding the troops, it was Bush who was vetoing that money.
Ultimately, as other Democrats have said, they didn't "relish" going home on Memorial Day weekend and getting criticized by Mr. 28% on an issue in which vast majorities of Americans oppose the president.
Sounds like the beginning of a Cindy Sheehan-like tirade, wouldn’t you agree?
Alas, that wasn’t to be, for rather than crashing the gate of the “antiquated” “Democratic Party establishment,” as he and business partner Jerome Armstrong wrote about in their 2005 book, Moulitsas crashed right into it with a heapin’ helpin’ of old-fashioned realism:
Democrats have lined up to announce that this isn't the endgame, that this is just the first round. They are promising to keep putting pressure on the administration and using other legislative vehicles to impose withdrawal deadlines and other accountability provisions.
They let us down this time. But the opportunities for them to make amends still exist.
What’s this? A speech by the leader of the netroots claiming “We’ll get ‘em next time?”
Are you kidding? Is this what you motivated so many on the left for Markos?
We’ll get ‘em next time?
How maverick of you.
Comically looking like quite the old-fashioned politician, with one hand clutching an olive branch, Markos held the other behind his back with a loaded .38 firmly in its grasp:
If Democrats take advantage of them, as they promise they will, then all might be forgiven. They can prove to us that they in fact know what they are doing, and that they, in fact, do plan on honoring their most sacred promise to the 2006 electorate.
And if they don't? Well, no one, not even the most rabid partisans, have an endless supply of patience.
It goes without saying that compared to Sheehan’s angry post Saturday, Kos seemed to be firing blanks:
The Camp Casey Peace Institute is calling all citizens who are as disgusted as we are with you all to join us in Philadelphia on July 4th to try and figure a way out of this "two" party system that is bought and paid for by the war machine which has a stranglehold on every aspect of our lives. As for myself, I am leaving the Democratic Party. You have completely failed those who put you in power to change the direction our country is heading. We did not elect you to help sink our ship of state but to guide it to safe harbor.
Certainly, it was probably too much to expect Moulitsas to come out as strongly as Sheehan. However, this limp-wristed approach following one of the biggest political caves by a major Party in years can’t possibly be what Kossacks and netroots denizens expected from their leader.
Neither could his seeming support for Webb’s excuse about Thursday’s vote:
However, we are working under the reality that, on the issue of Iraq, this Senate does not have a Democratic majority. From the outset, we are a minority of 49, given Senator Lieberman's position on the war. This reality dictates our conduct. On the one hand, I find myself unable to vote against a measure that is necessary to fund our troops who are now in harm's way. On the other, I will not relent from my continuing efforts to bring this occupation to an end.
Ummm, Markos? The final vote on this bill in the Senate was 80 to 14! You think Webb was right when he blamed this all on Lieberman?
Maybe more important, are the Kos Kidz and netrootians going to accept such a lame excuse?
Only time will tell. However, one thing has been made infinitely clear: regardless of his seeming progressiveness and ultra-liberal maverick status, Markos is willing to play ball with the Democrat establishment when he believes it’s necessary.
As such, the Kossacks and the netrootians are going to either have to accept this, or find themselves a new leader.
*****Update: Some interesting comments from Kossacks after Kos' post. For instance, this one from happiness cat:
If anything, the closing line suggests that Markos will be empathetic to partisans who will eventually turn on the Dems. Empathy that he has refused so far to give and has scorned others for giving.
I wish he'd land on a position and stick with it. I'm getting dizzy from the bipolarity of his diaries over the past few days.
And this from RickMassimo:
But for one thing, five months isn't that short. It's basically a quarter of the congressional term. And what have we got to show for it? When it comes to Iraq, squat.
I'm tired of hearing about "September". Did we do all this to change a Freidman to a Kirk?
I guess if I really believed that these guys were worth the benefit of the doubt, I'd give it to 'em. But we've been Keeping Our Powder Dry For The Big Fight That's Coming for about 25 years now. I'm getting a little suspicious.
The same member even recognized something that either eluded Kos, or he was too dishonest to address it:
What particularly sets me off about this vote on this bill was that it wasn't even close. If the Senate was 51-49 with Lieberman tipping the scales, I'd be high-fiving and saying "Better luck next time." But 80-14 on an issue where the public is 70-30 the other way is pathetic.
Finally, this comment here got quite an interesting discussion going.