News

    US Democratic Party Split Over Iraq

    Opposition Democrats are counting on public disenchantment with the Iraq war to help them make gains in U.S. congressional elections in November. Democrats are divided over what to do about Iraq.

    Those divisions were on display in Washington recently as prominent Democrats appeared before a group of liberal Democratic activists to talk about Iraq and other issues.

    Among them was Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic nominee for president, who may run for the White House again two years from now.

    Senator Kerry initially voted for the war, but now is among those who favor setting a firm timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.

    "I believe we need a hard and fast deadline, not an open-ended commitment of U.S. forces, so that we shift responsibility, and demand responsibility from the Iraqis themselves," he said.

    The reception was notably more mixed for another likely Democratic presidential contender in 2008, Senator Hillary Clinton of New York.

    Senator Clinton also voted for the Iraq war, and has been critical of President Bush's handling of the conflict.

    But she disagreed with those Democrats who favor a timetable for withdrawal, prompting a number of boos in the liberal audience.

    "Nor do I think it is smart strategy to set a date certain," she said. "I do not agree that that is in the best interests of our troops or our country."

    President Bush and his Republican supporters have been quick to seize on the Democrats' internal debate.

    "There is an interesting debate in the Democratic Party about how quick to pull out of Iraq," he said. "Pulling out of Iraq before we accomplish the mission will make the world a more dangerous place."

    Public opinion polls suggest most Democrats oppose the Iraq war, and believe that ousting Saddam Hussein was not worth the cost.

    "There are many different positions in the Democratic Party, though I would say that the party overwhelmingly is opposed to the Iraq war, and wants to see a schedule announced of withdrawal," said Larry Sabato, who directs the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. "They differ about how quickly the withdrawal should take place, but, overwhelmingly, they are in favor of a withdrawal."

    But even some Democratic strategists concede that the party's divided position on Iraq could be a liability in the November congressional elections.

    Jennifer Palmieri worked in the Clinton White House, and is now with the Center for American Progress, a public policy research organization in Washington.

    "The problem for Democrats is that, it is true that they have not been able to articulate a national message that breaks through to voters," she said.

    Analyst Larry Sabato expects the Democratic debate over Iraq to continue well into the 2008 campaign for president.

    "You can't really expect an out of power party to have a unified position," he said. "There is no one to unify them. They will not get unified, until they pick a presidential candidate, and then that nominee will become the public face of the party and the positions of the party."

    Iraq is likely to be a prominent issue for both parties in the 2008 presidential race. For the first time since 1952, no sitting president or vice president will be running in 2008, indicating a wide open race for the White House in both major political parties.


    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.