Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) is encouraging anti-war activists to find challengers to centrist Democrats, with the aim of moving the party to the left and ramping up opposition to the war in Iraq, to the chagrin of top Democratic aides.
“You folks should go after the Democrats,” Woolsey said in response to a suggestion from an activist during a conference call last month organized by the Network of Spiritual Progressives.
“I’d hate to lose the majority, but I’m telling you, if we don’t stand up to our responsibility, maybe that’s the lesson to be learned.”
Now aside from the refreshing principled stance that Woolsey takes here, it’s also a bold and probably quite pragmatic one. The Democrats who are collaborating with George Bush to prolong the war are also helping to cook up a noxious stew that could be, as Juan Cole points out, extremely toxic to Democrats following the next election:
[I]n all likelihood, when the Democratic president pulls US troops out in summer of 2009, all hell is going to break loose. The consequences may include even higher petroleum prices than we have seen recently, which at some point could bring back stagflation or very high rates of inflation.
In other words, the Democratic president risks being Fordized when s/he withdraws from Iraq, by the aftermath. A one-term president associated with humiliation abroad and high inflation at home? Maybe I should say, Carterized. The Republican Party could come back strong in 2012 and then dominate politics for decades, if that happened.
It is all so unfair, of course, since Bush started and prosecuted this disaster in Iraq, and Bush is refusing to accept responsibility for the failure, pushing it off onto his successor.
Cole also notes that banging the drums of war with Iran may be one of the stupider things that someone who has hopes of occupying the White House after 2008 could do at this point, but that doesn’t seem to have stopped anyone. Having a host of Bush Dogs willing to join with the Republicans is already creating terrible problems with regard to building any momentum in Congress that might bring an end to the war and make George Bush pay his own piper, but the situation will still be dire with Bush gone and the so-called “centrists” (who are more aptly described as the party’s radical extremists) still holding the reigns of power.
Lynn Woolsey is looking toward the future and being both smart and principled. Would that more were with her.