Why are the Dems being Dumb on Iran??

I am going to be extremely cynical in the following analysis of the Democratic non-position concerning Iran:

Via Billmon, Raw Story is reporting the following:

Most aides refused to speculate whether Democrats might support a military operation in Iran. Several aides acknowledged, however, that some Democrats in Congress could support a military strike . . . Any military action Democrats supported, one aide said, would not include the use of nuclear weapons.

Asked about Democratic strategy on Iran, the aide said, “The strategy is simple: Give the Republicans enough rope and they’ll hang themselves.”……..

Democrats are caught on the fence – they must satisfy an anti-war base while at the same time projecting a hardline image on national security matters which will increase the attractiveness of Democratic candidates to independent-leaning voters in the 2006 midterm elections.

There is no political advantage to not taking an opposition position to Bush on Iran. The current best estimate, the National Intelligence Estimate, has Iran at least ten years from the capability of making usable nuclear weapons, which is a bump up from five years. Therefore, the timing makes one extraordinarily suspicious that this is primarily a political stunt being pulled by Bush and his administration. Whip up the fear, whip up the flag, and go once more for a rally around the flag effect.

One of Bush’s greatest political talents over the past fifteen years of his career has been his ability to claim disproportionally large credit for successes or perceived to be short term successes while taking the share of credit from the Democrats and marginalizing it. He has played this game on tax policy, on Iraq (see Gephardt and Daschle’s meekness in 2002 concerning Iraq, and then the Cleland attack ads for the best example) and education. It is a common pattern, and he is very good at it.

The Democratic leadership should realize that bipartisanship is losing tactic right now. I think that Congresswoman Pelosi and Senator Reid have done a very good job of creating distinctions on domestic issues in Congress, and stopping some of the dumbest ideas proposed by the Republican majority from moving forward. This is the job of an opposition party; create distinctions and show that the governing party has some really dumb ideas(see Social Security privatization for the best example.) The same logic should be applied to the dumb idea of attacking Iran.

There is no political pay-off from backing Bush on Iran. If the action is successful and the Democrats have backed Bush, most of the credit will be successfully claimed by Bush. He’ll then use the short term political capital as a club for Republican candidates in the Congressional elections. If later on the action which seemed to be successful, but becomes a complete clusterfuck in the medium future, Dems backing Bush put themselves into the same internal paralysis that they are experiencing on Iraq right now while also being tarred for the failure.

Now if there are serious repercussions, or failure, or a general uprising against the US lines of communication in Southern Iraq, due to a military confrontation with Iran, and the Democrats have been consistently saying that going to war against Iran is a dumb idea, much like going to war to remove the non-existent weapons of mass destruction, no going to war against Osama bin Hussein for his role in 9-11, no going to war to reduce the price of oil, we are going to war to bring democracy to Iraq was originally or now has become a really dumb idea, there starts to be a consistent and coherent position on the Democratic Party’s theory of power, military usage, and international affairs. We go to war when there is a clear and present danger to US national interests, and we do it with focus on the achieving the actual mission. Iran, much like Iraq, is a distraction from destroying or at the very least severely marginalizing Al-Quaida, and its offshore, global guerillas.

Shit, that almost sounds like a coherent critique and it is one step away from moving towards a positive national security agenda.

There is no political gain to siding with Bush on Iran; any credit that will be given will be collected by Bush indpendent of whether or not the Democrats support his Iran position, and remember his Iran position is about the only one that matters. Siding with Bush and seeing a failure will only allow the public to blame both parties equally. Offering a clear critique and contrast that gives Bush significant political costs of showing his usual degree of competence seems to be the best option for the Democrats.

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