Friday, November 25, 2005

Weak Angle Alert!

I know I said I'd be off 'til tomorrow, but I just had to deliver this Flagrant Spin Advisory for Black Friday, 2005: The headline over today's WaPo article on John Murtha's recent outbreak of candor vis-a-vis Iraq reads "The About-Face of a Hawkish Democrat," with subhead "Murtha, With Many Military Connections, Moves From Voting for War to Urging Troop Withdrawal." Did I just hear reporter Shailagh Murray call Congressman Murtha a flip-flopper? I think I did. By this logic, you'd have to advocate a permanent large-scale military presence in Iraq to avoid flip-flopping on the issue. Even the Bush administration concedes that they'll have to recall the troops eventually; Murtha's disagreement with them concerns only the timing of the drawdown.

I've heard several commentators on the right try to tar Murtha as a "finger-in-the-wind" politician who follows . . . the will of the people. Imagine that, an elected representative who actually represents the opinions of the electorate. I can understand how some might have forgotten in the past five years, but that's normally how democracy works. Bush's pseudo-imperial posturing is a major deviation from presidential business as usual, and all the time he's spent supposedly ignoring public opinion is beginning to bite him in the ass in a big way. I don't care if a politician has to change his positions to do the right thing, because doing the right thing is infinitely more important than procedural consistency. But as I said, neither Murtha nor the American people have flip-flopped--they've just decided our troops have done enough. And we should never forget that it's the people who run this country; government is only a means to that end.