Monday, August 25, 2008

3rd CD Debate Thoughts

I finally listened to the audio on MPR of the Twin West Debate between Erik Paulsen, Ashwin Madia and David Dillion last Thursday, August 21st. Overall I thought it was mild. The most entertaining part seemed to be when David Dillion talked about our ridiculously complicated tax code by pointing out exemptions differences between concrete trucks and Winnebagos- but even that was mildly entertaining.

Other than that- just lots of buzzwords, lots and lots of buzzwords on healthcare, the environment etc.

I'm a Paulsen supporter- so I have a bias- but I was happy to hear Erik speaking as a strong supporter of keeping the current tax cuts and helping Minnesota businesses stay competitive in a global economy.

The only part of the debate that really grabbed my attention was right at the beginning during the opening statements when Ashwin Madia said strongly, clearly and boldly "We can fight and win this war on terror". He never mentions the word "withdrawal"--only winning in a "smart and targeted way".

"Fight and win". Sounds good to me.

However, he blogged on thehill.com only one day prior on August 21st:

"I support a strategic and gradual withdrawal from Iraq that is done in a safe and responsible way"

From his web site:

"...our nation cannot continue to indefinitely spend hundreds of billions of dollars on this war. We must change our mission, change our strategy, and most importantly, dramatically reduce our presence."

March 2008:
"...What I am calling for is a responsible withdrawal from Iraq. What I've called for is a responsible withdrawal, a gradual withdrawal scaled over 18-24 months."

SD 42 DFL Convention March 2008
"I want to end this war, I want to do it quickly..."

Letter to Delegates March 2008
"I will work to bring the Iraq War to a quick and responsible conclusion."

In October 2007 Madia said in Minnesota Monitor:
"I will always fund the troops, but the bill that I would support would include milestones, strategies and timelines to get the troops out...."

His facebook page says "Ashwin is running to end the war in Iraq responsibly".

Prior to last Thursday- I can't find the word "win" anywhere next to Ashwin Madia's name and The War on Terror. Ah- but he's talking about The War on Terror NOT The War in Iraq- right? Like Obama- he believes that War on Terror's central front is not and never had been- Iraq. Hmmm. Obama says the central front is now Afghanistan and we should send more troops there.

I'm confused. How do you end the war- and win the war? How does victory look to Madia and what if it required a sustained troop presence in Iraq longer than 24 months? I understand Madia has said he won't accept anybody questioning his positions on the war- because he was a Marine- I'm just seeking clarity.

How do folks on the left feel about Madia calling for us to "fight and win" this war? I like it- but I'm a Republican- which is exactly why he's saying it. He had to call for a strict timeline for withdrawal and not use the word "win" during the endorsement race- because the angry base of the DFL doesn't believe winning is a possibility.

In July 2008, a Washington Post Poll showed that the political winds were shifting a bit and the country is now split evenly between those who support withdrawal timelines (50% of Americans) and those who didn't (49%) and a CNN Poll showed that 52% of Americans believed the surge had worked. Could it be that Madia understands that Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District is still right of center and he's trying to play to the crowd?

If I were in Terri Bonoff's camp right about now- I'd be pretty mad. I can't imagine Terri promising that we would win in Iraq in order to get votes. It's what Obama did to Hillary- move way to the left of her and then run to the center. And like Hillary- there is no doubt that Terri was a tougher candidate. It comes off as arrogant to me that Madia thinks that nobody in his party will notice or care about his new found call for victory in the War on Terror. Madia, like many other Democrats of the 2008 election cycle- seems to be willing to SAY ANYTHING to get elected.

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