Congressman McNerney and Iraq
Jonathan Weisman is not a reporter who wins awards for doing Democrats any favors. Weisman's basic position is that if he perceives divisions behind the scenes in the Democratic Party, especially in the leadership of our Congressional delegation, then he's going to write a story that reflects that. With Steny Hoyer's leadership/stewardship being what it is...Weisman will ALWAYS have material to work with.
Second, Congressman McNerney wants to bring our troops home from Iraq. He's voted against permanent bases and FOR withdrawal with a date certain. In this, he is more or less in much the same position as other folks in the class of '06: Chris Murphy, Tim Walz, Joe Sestak, Jim Webb, Jon Tester and Claire McCaskill. These folks were elected to end the US occupation of Iraq and they all know it. We helped elect them.
The current battle over the particulars of what Jerry has said/been quoted by Weisman is a tempest in a teapot when compared to the political reality we face as Democrats in August/September of '06 facing this war:
-we need unified leadership in the Democratic caucus (that includes folks like Hoyer and, yes, Murtha)
-we need a unified voice from our freshman class of electeds
-we need to pull GOP votes to our side and pass legislation that starts bringing our troops home now
In effect, that's what Jerry told the Washington Post. Why is he being hung out to dry?
My challenge to the netroots is this. Are we going to help Congressman McNerney do the right thing or are we going to retreat to our silos and complain? I think the Front Page posts at dailyKos were deeply irresponsible and did none of us any favors.
I'm tired of the whining already. If we want a politician to do the right thing, we have to HELP THEM do it. Expressing disappointment is "nice" but I don't see things that way.
We in the netroots have the privilege of speaking in public as the face of the thousands of folks who don't have the time or energy to blog, folks who gave tens of thousands of dollars and tens of thousands of hours in service to defeating Richard Pombo and electing Jerry McNerney. The vast majority of that energy was motivated by a firm desire to end the occupation of Iraq.
I do not believe for ONE SECOND that Jerry McNerney isn't for what he's said he was for all along: removing our troops from Iraq in a responsible fashion starting now and with a date certain end point.
I think quibbling over what Jonathan Weisman chooses to print in the WaPo is a WASTE OF TIME and a distraction. I've spoken to Weisman on the phone and interacted with him in emails. He sees his job as pointing up dissension among Democrats. Why are folks giving him the privilege of the benefit of the doubt? He's not doing us any favors. If anything, he's allowing Steny Hoyer's office a chance to play the netroots. That's the real story here.
Our job is to help Jerry and every last Democrat do the right thing. That's the paradigm we are building here. That's the movement we started. Our support must mean follow through and the perseverance to wade through tough times.
At the end of the day, there will be a chance, and soon, for Jerry to cast a meaningful vote of consequence on withdrawal from Iraq. Let's help him join with the entire freshman class of Democrats and a coterie of GOP electeds to do just that.
That's what this is about, period. That's the big picture. Jonathan Weisman won't write about that.