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Blind Loyalty | The Nation

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Blind Loyalty

I returned from traveling over the weekend to find Richard's Coulter-esque attack on my credibility. Actually, it was quite civil. Except for the line about "pom-poms." For the record, Richard, I prefer face paint and flags.

As I noted in my last post, I've reported over and over about the Democrats confused and often cynical posturing on the war in Iraq. I agree that I don't think the Democrats are yet an antiwar party--nor am I sure they ever will be.

But the point of my post was that Democratic "divisions" pale in comparison to the Republican Party's blind loyalty to Bush's never-ending war.

There are Democrats who want to leave Iraq, either quickly or according to a phased timetable. There are Democrats who want to leave but don't quite know how. There are a handful of Democrats who want to stay indefinitely. And there are some Democrats who don't seem to believe anything at all. You can guess who I'm referring to.

But, with three or four exceptions, there is only one type of Republican: stay-the-course. Sure, sensible Republicans like Chuck Hagel occasionally object to the war on the Sunday talk shows. But when it comes time to vote against Bush's policy, the Hagels of the world fall back in line.

The Levin-Reed amendment, on the other hand, represented the first time that most Democrats voted on record in favor of withdrawing troops. Though not as bold as John Kerry and Russ Feingold's proposal to leave within a year, Levin and Reed's approach marked a significant shift in the debate. One that most of the press, including Richard, either downplayed or ignored.

As I wrote earlier, most Democrats--and voters--would prefer that Democrats adopt a strong, unified message on the war. But until that happens, debate is better than blind loyalty.

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