Keith Olbermann: The Democrats Betrayed the American People

Keith Olbermann isn’t exactly happy with the compromise Republicans and Democrats reached on Iraq. He said that the president and the majority leaders have betrayed the American people.

after six months of preparation and execution—half a year gathering the strands of public support; translating into action, the collective will of the nearly 70 percent of Americans who reject this War of Lies, the Democrats have managed only this:

* The Democratic leadership has surrendered to a president—if not the worst president, then easily the most selfish, in our history—who happily blackmails his own people, and uses his own military personnel as hostages to his asinine demand, that the Democrats “give the troops their money”;
* The Democratic leadership has agreed to finance the deaths of Americans in a war that has only reduced the security of Americans;
* The Democratic leadership has given Mr. Bush all that he wanted, with the only caveat being, not merely meaningless symbolism about benchmarks for the Iraqi government, but optional meaningless symbolism about benchmarks for the Iraqi government.
* The Democratic leadership has, in sum, claimed a compromise with the Administration, in which the only things truly compromised, are the trust of the voters, the ethics of the Democrats, and the lives of our brave, and doomed, friends, and family, in Iraq.

You, the men and women elected with the simplest of directions—Stop The War—have traded your strength, your bargaining position, and the uniform support of those who elected you… for a handful of magic beans.
You may trot out every political cliché from the soft-soap, inside-the-beltway dictionary of boilerplate sound bites, about how this is the “beginning of the end” of Mr. Bush’s “carte blanche” in Iraq, about how this is a “first step.”
Well, Senator Reid, the only end at its beginning… is our collective hope that you and your colleagues would do what is right, what is essential, what you were each elected and re-elected to do.
Because this “first step”… is a step right off a cliff.

Daniel DiRito comments at Bring it On!

Well it was bound to happen. Just over six months after the American voter sent politicians what appeared to be a clear message about the direction of the country…and particularly their displeasure with the war in Iraq…the criticism of the Democrats (in addition to the Republicans) has made its formal debut in the form of a signature “Special Comment” by the always ebullient and opinionated Keith Olbermann.

Whether the emerging criticism and anger spells trouble for the Democrats in 2008 is yet to be seen…but thinking ahead to the next election, voters may find themselves sending the same message…though wholly uncertain whether they can expect either party to demonstrate enough leadership to bite the bullet and resolve the Iraq situation once and for all.

What I find fascinating to see, is that quite some on the left are actually disappointed. To me, it was quite clear that the Democrats were, well, playing politics. They had no intention of truly clashing with George W. Bush. Bush would win anyway: he would have just vetoed the bill. The Democrats don’t want to stop funding the troops in Iraq: it will make them look bad and hurt them politically. The Democrats cannot win a battle over the war in Iraq: Bush can simply veto every bill he doesn’t like – the Democrats will not have a veto-proof majority on controversial Iraq War bills.

So, what were the Democrats doing? Simple: they were trying to satisfy the base. They thought they could put pressure on Bush, say all the right things, compromise and then explain to the base why they had to compromise, why they didn’t really have a choice, etc. One problem: the base doesn’t believe that the Democrats didn’t have a choice. They understand that the Dems were playing political games.

The Dems don’t want to stop funding the troops, the Dems don’t want to be held responsible for what happens in Iraq after the US withdraws… Here’s what I expect: if a Democrat becomes president and if there are still many troops in Iraq (which there will be), the new president will withdraw some troops, but will keep quite some troops in Iraq for quite some years to come.

Cross posted at my own blog.

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Author: michaelvdg

  • George Sorwell

    “playing political games”–?

    I don’t think you really understand how truly unpopular the war is.

  • kritter

    MvdG- Nice to see you quoting Olbermann. Yes, call it immature pique if you like, but most of our people DID favor the timelines. Although it is regrettable that the initial legislations with the timelines in it did not pass, there wasn’t much chance of Bush caving without considerable Republican support. So, Olbermann is merely bloviating.

    However, Bush is the
    one who stubbornly refused to compromise with any plan the Democrats came up with. Yes, the initial plan was vetoed, and some others did not pass, but the point is the rubber stamp days of the Republican-led 109th are over. This bill does have 18 benchmarks for the Iraqi govt to meet, and
    Bush has to report to Congress twice by the fall.

    BTW- Both sides are playing political games- the Dems don’t want to be seen as the party of retreat and defeat that lost the war, and the Republicans know the war is a losing proposition and are using Bush for cover, so they can continue to do nothing about it.

    Its about pressuring Bush and peeling off Republican votes – by September the situation may look different, as even Sen Minority leader McConnell has said that they are only giving the plan a chance until then.

  • AustinRoth

    This was predicted by many (including a lot of Democratic analysts).

    The vocal anti-war left believe that ‘they’ are the ones that caused the Democratic majorities in Congress, all by themselves. They conveniently overlook the corruption and scandal issues that drove a large part of the electorate.

    Now that the inevitable realities of politics have come to bear on actual legislation, they are horriblely disappointed by the actual results (as are the anti-corruption voters, as well!).

  • casualobserver

    “Cry havoc and let slip the netroots of war!”

    It’s been a long time since I have had an opportunity to pop up some popcorn and just sit back and watch. I’m wondering whether it will fizzle out quickly or hold some legs.

    Unfortunately, since I do not drive a Honda Element with a dedicated iPod port, I am not allowed to watch Keith Olbermann’s show.

  • Rudi

    AR The “moonbats” thought that the November election was a mandate to end the war. Like W’s supposed mandates, both W and the “moonbats” were wrong on their mandates. Nixon and Reagan won in landslides, isn’t a landslide required for a mandate?

  • Rudi

    causal – You should watch the enemy to gain a little more perspective on their current stands. I used to watch both Olberman and the Gasbag(via remote and repeat) untill Billo started the “War on Xmas/Easter” and his phony save the children. Olberman is just as egotistical and pompous as Billo, he is the “token” Librul on cable, Grandpa King doesn’t count.

  • DLS

    Olbermann is way out in left field, where he and his peers do NOT speak for the American people.

  • kritter

    He’s no wacko- just hates Bush/Cheney and the war and loves the Constitution. Last I heard those were characteristics of a patriot.

  • casualobserver

    Rudi, appreciate the tip, but due to evening time constraints, I usually just check newbusters the next day for a quick video sampling.

    kritter, I know you like his political view, but c’mon, he wouldn’t be the only person ESPN will no longer allow on their premises if his behavior has never been questionable.

  • Davebo

    kritter, I know you like his political view, but c’mon, he wouldn’t be the only person ESPN will no longer allow on their premises if his behavior has never been questionable.

    You say that like it’s a bad thing~ :0)

  • Rudi

    DLS Olberman is a Liebrul, but watch CSPAN for an occasional far Lefty. Cockburn was on a month or two back, the Cockburn family makes Olberman a Bush family member.

  • kritter

    Who cares what happened at espn? It really doesn’t matter. He dares to say what no one else says, and has a great sense of irony. Yes, he’s probably egotistical, but most people in show business are.

    I don’t consider him a stellar journalist because of his bias, but at least he doesn’t worry about who he criticizes- left or right. Most of the time I agree with him, but that’s because I have always questioned authority, and admired others who do the same. I don’t really put him in the same category as Rosie or Al Franken who are just idiotically offensive. I see him as someone who loves America and the Constitution but hates the current administration. That about describes my philosophy as well.

  • domajot

    The Dems are posturing and playing political games? Well, well, that’s a nice,non-partisan assessment – not.

    Put in a more realistic light, the Dems are trying to make the best of a horrible situation they inherited. They may well end up paying the political price for the catastrophic situation created by others, but I don’t value commentaries that sling mud at them in the process.

    Every member of Congress is, indeed, posturing, as are the President and every member of the administration. Some are posturing in service of the coming elections, and some are posturing in service of their legacies and reputations.

    But some are posturing in service of honestly lookling for a way forward in this mess. Political ‘games’ is how it’s done.
    Rather than maligning this group, giving credit to them for their efforts is more appropriate.

    For the disaffected, let’s hear a better solution instead of narrow minded rhetorical criticims. By ‘solution’ I mean a solution for the nation, not just any narrow sector of it or any one person, or nay ideology.

    The country is in a no-win situation in Iraq and divided and hating each other at home. The coming years will be more of the same.
    Gloating over our predicament is not a valuable contribution.

  • http://www.whyweworry.com Chris

    To me, it was quite clear that the Democrats were, well, playing politics.

    Michael, you don’t find that disgusting?

    Arthur Silber sums it up nicely

    These people have no souls that are recognizable, and the irreplaceable value of an individual human life has no reality to them. Iraqis are eviscerated, ripped apart, and mutilated every day — and Tomasky and his fellow criminals refuse to defund the war, because it would hand “the Republicans a great argument going into next year’s election.”

    God damn all these people to hell…

  • SteveK

    Watching enough of Olberman to get a good idea of his views and opinions is all about ‘time’… O.K., for some of you it’s about ‘time’ AND a little bit of political openmindedness.

    Those on the east coast have to choose between ‘Countdown’ and Prime Time T.V… You know, poping open that second six-pack and being tempted by quality TV like ‘The King of Queens’ puts a real damper on watching MSNBC. (:-})

    Those of us on the west coast are choosing between ‘Countdown’ and the local news… 5 o’clock’s easier.

  • AustinRoth

    Ann Richards -

    I’ve always said that in politics, your enemies can’t hurt you, but your friends will kill you.

  • kritter

    Uh- everything that the Democrats have tried to do since they regained the majority has been framed as playing politics, just another political stunt, etc- this is the way the Republicans—- who of course would never play politics — try to make them look petty and self-promoting, as opposed to the Republicans who are portrayed as genuinely concerned about terrorism, the Iraq war and supplying the troops.

    The US attorney scandal, the CIA Leak case, the Abramoff case- all have been portrayed as the Democrats playing politics. Yet, I see it repeated here as though there is no filter for GOP propaganda.

    What do you think wearing a flight suit on “Mission Accomplished” Day was? A patriotic exercise?

  • http://www.whyweworry.com Chris

    Excellent point kritter…

  • George Sorwell

    kritter = 100% correct!

  • Entropy

    Playing politics is hardly exclusive to either party and every politician at some point or another engages in it. That’s why I find all the accusations of “playing politics” on both sides of the fence rather amusing. Politics and politicians eerily resemble arguments on an elementary school playground.

  • SteveK

    It sounds like we have a quorum and for once all sides (más o menos) seem to be in agreement… how nice!

  • DLS

    [C-SPAN]

    > Cockburn was on a month or two back

    C-SPAN has shown Chomsky, too.

    On the other side, a short time after the 1994 elections, C-SPAN showed a speech by an officer of the John Birch Society.

  • DLS

    > loves the Constitution

    He doesn’t engage in the typical liberal dishonesty about the Second Amendment, for example, and he’s against gun control for that reason?