I've got to emphasize this line from Gary Hart's column in yesterday's Washington Post:
No Democrat, especially one now silent, should expect election by default. The public trust must be earned, and speaking clearly, candidly and forcefully now about the mess in Iraq is the place to begin.I couldn't have said it more clearly myself. While more American troops get killed in Iraq every day, while scores are wounded and maimed everyday, while hundreds of innocent Iraqis are killed and wounded and dispossesed everyday -- almost all the leaders and candidates of the Colorado Democratic Party are silent.
I am asking progressives, peace activists, centerists, anti-war Libertarians, traditional Republicans, and conscientious Democrats to support me now ... as a matter of principle. I opposed this war three years ago and ran in the 7th CD because both the Democratic and Republican candidates stood with Bush on the then-coming war. Today, all we hear about the Democratic candidates in this race is how much money they've raised and how much money they're going to raise -- they are silent on the war. It is obvious that the Democrats still believe that those who oppose this war are going to vote for their candidates as a matter of "default" ... exactly what Sen. Hart said should not happen.
It is real simple. If you want this war to come to an end, if you want the death to begin to come to an end, if peace is a value to you -- then right now you've got to support me in this contest for the US. House of Representatives in the 7th Congressional District.
But what will history say about an opposition party that stands silent while all this goes on? My generation of Democrats jumped on the hot stove of Vietnam and now, with its members in positions of responsibility, it is afraid of jumping on any political stove. In their leaders, the American people look for strength, determination and self-confidence, but they also look for courage, wisdom, judgment and, in times of moral crisis, the willingness to say: "I was wrong." To stay silent during such a crisis, and particularly to harbor the thought that the administration's misfortune is the Democrats' fortune, is cowardly. In 2008 I want a leader who is willing now to say: "I made a mistake, and for my mistake I am going to Iraq and accompanying the next planeload of flag-draped coffins back to Dover Air Force Base. And I am going to ask forgiveness for my mistake from every parent who will talk to me." ... No Democrat, especially one now silent, should expect election by default. The public trust must be earned, and speaking clearly, candidly and forcefully now about the mess in Iraq is the place to begin.
And when it comes time to finally do something, you do this: Rush to the microphone to second the president on Iraq. You say, with no hint of irony, that, although you would handle things much differently, we must "stay the course," even as the course gets rougher and the options grow fewer and the blame assigned to Bush becomes increasingly loud. It's not a strategy popular among Democratic activists and Democratic bloggers or most people contacted by pollsters.