To hear the mainstream media tell it, opposition to the war in Iraq is still a position held only by the left wing of the Democratic Party -- or, as Bernie Goldberg derisively labeled it, "the Take Back America crowd."
Here was Andrea Mitchell talking about Hillary Clinton on the Today show earlier this month: "After speaking out against the war all day, Clinton was honored by the Marines last night... Democrats know if they move too far to the left, they can lose the independent swing voters who will likely decide who does win the White House."
And here was The Hill associate editor A.B. Stoddard on Tucker Carlson's show earlier this week, also weighing in on Hillary: "There is going to be a real issue as to how Hillary emerges, now taking the position of the left wing of the Democratic Party... She is trying to run this general election campaign and be a hawk while she assuages the anti-war left."
So which white-flag-waving left-winger had this to say about Iraq:
"In my judgment, our course in Iraq has lost contact with our vital national security interests in the Middle East and beyond... The president and some of his advisors may be tempted to pursue the surge strategy to the end of his administration, but such a course contains extreme risks for U.S. national security... We have overestimated what the military can achieve; we have set goals that are unrealistic... Our focus on Iraq has diverted us from opportunities to change the world in directions that strengthen our national security."
Was that cut and run Obama? Withdraw and retreat Edwards? Defeatist Chris Dodd?
Nope. It was Dick Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, speaking this week on the Senate floor.
How about this one:
"We have lost 3,530 lives to military operations in Iraq. We have spent over $378 billion plus the funds that were appropriated in the most recent supplemental bill. Our national debt is rising and our government is being forced to abandon critical domestic priorities. Our public image to the world has deteriorated drastically and continues to suffer. If we proceed on the current path, we will endanger our nation's long-term competitiveness and well-being."
What do you think? Dennis Kucinich, perhaps?
Uh-uh. That was George Voinovich, another Republican member of the Foreign Relations Committee, in a strategy paper he sent along with a personal letter, to President Bush on Tuesday.
Then there was John Warner, Republican member of the Armed Services Committee, who pushed for a provision in last month's war funding bill that created a commission of military experts to independently assess progress in Iraq and report back to Congress in September. When asked by the Washington Post if this indicated a lack of trust in Bush, Gen. Petraeus, and Ambassador Crocker, and their willingness to provide an honest report, Warner replied: "I accept that critique. But what are we to do? Be totally reliant on the executive branch for their analysis?" God forbid.
When Harry Reid questioned Petraeus' willingness to come clean with Congress in the past -- "He told us it was going great; as we've looked back, it didn't go so well" -- he was slammed by Tony Snow for "issuing slanders." And John McCain called Reid's criticisms "highly inappropriate and regrettable."
Will Snow and McCain now open the same can of Verbal Whoop-ass on Sen. Warner?
So, what do you say, MSM, can we please, please -- once and for all -- put aside the moldy notion that wanting to end the war is something only "crazy lefties" (Bernie Goldberg again) want to do?
Unless, of course, you are ready to stipulate that Dick Lugar, John Warner, George Voinovich, and Chuck Hagel -- along with 67 percent of the American public -- are all now part of the anti-war left.
That meme is officially deader than Phil Leotardo (or any further use of Sopranos references).