If anything demonstrates the dilemma that rank-and-file Democrats have with the wax figures that pass for party leaders, one need only look to the treatment of Rep. John Murtha.
Rep. Murtha, who has generally been described as "a hawkish Democrat" and a highly-decorated military hero held a press conference yesterday.
At that event, Rep. Murtha spoke out very passionately about the fact that America needs to pull our forces out of Iraq. In calling for the pull-out, Murtha said the following:
"The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq. But it's time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interest of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region."
So, how did the Democrats respond? By running for cover. Talk about the folks who really cut-and-run.
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank, in a column entitled "An Unlikely Lonesome Dove," described the cowardly reaction:
"It was a lonely day for once-mighty Murtha, who has long served as Democrats' conscience on military matters because of his moral authority on the subject. But Democrats were cutting and running yesterday -- not from Iraq, but from Murtha.
"'I don't support immediate withdrawal,' came the statement from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
"Aides to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) hinted that she would back Murtha, but when she finally spoke, it came out as 'Mr. Murtha speaks for himself.'"
There were other, even harsher reactions. All of them from a party that evidently plans to spring an actual plan on Iraq just in time for the 2006 mid-term elections. How transparent.
The GOP has noticed the unfortunate reaction by Democrats and are now calling for a vote in the House because they know the Dems are too chicken to go on record opposing the occupation.
The truly pathetic component of all this are that polls show that the majority of Americans want us out of Iraq. And yet, because they have a unified message, Republicans will be able to win the PR war that a vote to pull out of Iraq is a cowardly "cut-and-run." Has anybody heard anything resembling a unified Democratic response to the fallacious cut-and-run charge? Has anybody been vociferously delivering the PROPER message that to question the patriotism of those that dissent is truly the unpatriotic position? Of course not, they smugly believe things will take care of themselves.
You don't get much more spineless than the Democrats have behaved over Murtha. We need to address our politicians and let them know we are taking note.