Ed. Note: Cross-posted Political Forecast.
In a day of big news on the 2008 trail (new Dodd ad, memo about Clinton campaign pondering skipping Iowa, Edwards giving a big foreign policy speech, etc), here is something worth recognizing as a standout point: Sen. Christopher Dodd is going to vote against the new Iraq supplemental funding bill, the one without a timeline for withdrawal. The video of his reasoning is below:
And here is the full release from the campaign is below:
“This war has gone on longer than World War II and there is no end in sight. Yet we are less secure and more isolated than before. We have lost 3,400 patriotic Americans and shattered our standing in the world. We are spending $2 billion a week – $8 billion a month – and are now caught in the middle of a civil war. Still, this President wants more of the same and this bill would give him his wish.
I cannot and will not simply give this President another blank check.
Half-measures and equivocations are not going to change our course in Iraq. If we are serious about ending the war, Congress must stand up to this President’s failed policy now – with clarity and conviction.
As the debate on the war continues, I will continue to fight for a firm deadline that is tied to funding which will allow for a responsible redeployment of U.S. combat troops in Iraq – because that’s the only way to responsibly bring this war to a conclusion.
I hope my colleagues would do the same.”
This comes after a new ad was released this morning by his campaign, where he called out Senators Clinton and Obama — the presumed front-runners — for finally coming to his position and voting in favor of the Feingold-Reid-Dodd Amendment in the Senate. It was a big time move, and I think a good way to gain traction here in Iowa.
Both Clinton and Obama are strong in Iowa, behind the powerhouse that is John Edwards. Right behind those three is Bill Richardson, who has gained traction with his message calling on Congress to de-authorize the war in Iraq and his new ads. In the latest Iowa Poll, Dodd wasn’t gaining traction. With the ads and the strong movement against the war in Iraq and the calls for troop withdrawals by March of 2008, Dodd is putting himself firmly in the anti-Iraq war camp with Richardson and Edwards. While Obama has consistently been against the war, he can’t put himself in this camp because he’s not coming out strong for withdrawal, deauthorization, or any other kind of leadership position on the issue. Clinton is Clinton on Iraq (I’m glad she’s calling on the Pentagon to do more to prepare for withdrawal scenarios, but toeing the line just doesn’t mesh with me).
Sen. Dodd is a strong voice to end this war, particularly in the Senate. Sens. Clinton and Obama have started following his lead, but beyond Sen. Russ Feingold, he’s the only other one pushing strongly in the Senate for an end to this debacle. And he deserves credit for bring that debate into the Senate, as well as bringing it to the race by forcing Clinton and Obama to clearly take a stand. And now, as the closing part of the release shows, he’s making an issue of how Clinton and Obama are going to vote on the supplemental. And they should vote against it. Make this a Republican bill — make them own it. They’re the ones continuing this mess.
I’m staying neutral for a while, but if a candidate wants to keep convincing me they’re worthy of being the next President, then they need to start leading the charge to put an end to the Iraq war. It is that simple.