What's gotten into Campbell Brown? I'd had her pegged as a conventional MSM liberal, but in recent times, she has manifested a refreshing streak of independence that was very much on display in her interview of Howard Dean on this morning's Today show.
Things came to a head over the Dems' vague and conflicting positions over Iraq.
Began Brown: "Let me ask you about Iraq. I want to ask a straightforward question. What is the Democrats' position on Iraq? What solution do Democrats have?"
Dean: "We believe that the President is wrong to say this will be left to the next president. That's not the right approach. Secondly, we believe there needs to be a transition, that the Iraqis need to take over and our troops need to come home and be redeployed to other parts of the world to fight terrorism. The war on terror has nothing to do with the war with Iraq, or at least it didn't until the president got us in there. We believe in transition. This is now the responsibility of the Iraqis. And we believe that this cannot be left to the next administration. It needs to be dealt with now."
Hit back Brown: "But 'dealt with now', that's not that different from President Bush's position."
Dean: "President Bush adopted our position, which we appreciate." Rig-h-h-t.
Dean, later: "I appreciate the Leader of the Democrats in the Senate and the House as well as Jack Murtha standing up for what was right. American public opinion has changed about the war."
Brown wouldn't let Dean slide: "Is Jack Murtha's position the Democrats' position - that it's time for troops to come home now?"
Dean tried blaming the press: "That's not Jack Murtha's position. It was widely misquoted in the press. What Jack Murtha says is we need a redeployment of our troops. That some of the troops need to come home in the next six months. Others should be redeployed in the region to maintain the capacity to fight terror where it exists both inside and outside Iraq."
It should be noted for the record that Dean grossly misrepresented Murtha's position in suggesting that the congressman merely advocates beginning to bring troops home over the next six months. From Murtha's official web site, here is what he was saying in November, 2005:
"I believe before the Iraqi elections, scheduled for mid December, the Iraqi people and the emerging government must be put on notice that the United States will immediately redeploy.
My plan calls:
To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.
To create a quick reaction force in the region.
To create an over- the- horizon presence of Marines.
To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq
Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. can not accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. IT IS TIME TO BRING THEM HOME."
Given the November '05 start date, and even taking Dean's description of Murtha's proposal as calling for redeployment over six months, all US troops would be out of Iraq by today.
Brown then hit Dean with the apparently irreconciliable positions of the two top House Dem leaders, displayed here. She followed that by zinging Dean thusly:
"I got to tell you. If I'm a voter, come November and you want me to vote Democrat, I still don't know what I'm voting for."
A scrambling Dean again tried to blame the press: "One of the problems with that is the press wants to do this in sound-bites. I see no difference between what Steny Hoyer just said and what Nancy Pelosi said."
Who you gonna believe, folks? Howard Dean or your lying eyes?
Finkelstein lives in the liberal haven of Ithaca, NY, where he hosts the award-winning public-access TV show 'Right Angle.' Contact him at email@example.com