It is very clear that Washington, D.C. today is a place wholly separated from the rest of America - a place that no longer even pretends to be slightly interested in the will of the people it is supposed to be representing. We can see this no more clearly than on the Iraq issue. Republicans are running around bragging about their "stay the course" policy that has endangered America's national security, brought massive military casualties and destroyed our country's international credibility. Perhaps worse, many Democratic lawmakers are still cowering in a corner on the issue - while the class of professional election losers who populate the Democratic political Establishment tell reporters with a straight face that their party would be risking itself politically if it took a real stand.
What we rarely hear from politicians, political operatives or the media who cover them are the actual facts about what America wants. And on Iraq, what the public wants is very clear. Here is what Editor & Publisher magazine notes today:
"A CNN poll, for example, conducted June 14-15 found that 53% favored a timetable for withdrawal, while 41% opposed it. Yet newspaper editorials, as usual, remain mute on this and the Senate today soundly trounced the Democrats' withdrawal pleas, even a wishy-washy one put forward by Sen. Carl Levin...CBS News poll taken less than two weeks ago asked if what has transpired in Iraq was 'worth the loss of American life and other costs.' The result: 62% said 'no.'...A detailed NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey completed 10 days ago shows, among other things, that 57% of respondents support reducing troop levels now, with only 35% favoring current levels. The vast majority of those backing withdrawal favor setting a timeline."
But beyond just knowing that the public strongly supports a timetable for withdrawal, we also know that the public will reward politicians who supports that position. Far from being a political "risk" as it is billed in the media/political Establishment - supporting a scheduled exit strategy is actually a boost to candidates:
"NBC/Wall Street Journal pollsters stated a series of positions, ranging from opposing gay marriage to repealing the estate tax, and asked if a candidate running for congress who embraced such a position was more or less likely to gain their vote. One position was: 'Favors pulling all American troops out of Iraq within the next 12 months.' That couldn't be more simple and clear. The result? Some 54% said they would be "more likely" to vote for such a candidate and only 32% said 'less likely.' They were then asked to rank the most important issues for this fall's election. Iraq topped the list at 53% with illegal immigration far behind at 32%."
This is rarely - if ever - represented in the political discourse coming out of Washington. Republicans say "stay the course" while Democrats, insulated on the think-tank circuit, chatting with their friends at the most recent Georgetown dinner party, totally divorced from the blood-and-guts consequences of the policies they advocate - pollute the public debate with calls for Democrats to say nothing. These people clearly have deeply-held contempt for Americans. To them, at best, the vast majority of Americans are considered a nuisance. More often, we are considered totally unimportant.
This, of course, is playing out on more issues than just Iraq. We see it in the deliberate and aggressive distortion of the concept of the "center" by reporters and bought-off hacks in the Democratic Party Establishment. We see it in the writings of the senior "respected" pundits like David Broder, whose latest fulminating diatribe shows just how angry Washington insiders are at the general public. They are indignant. How dare we, the vast majority of America, have the nerve to demand a political system that represents us? How dare we, the vast majority of America, have the nerve to demand a political debate that at least mentions what we - the majority - think? How dare we, the vast majority of Americans, actually think we should have some say in a political debate that Washington insiders have grown so used to owning, controlling and distorting? To them, American politics is the exclusive, expensive property of the David Broders, the Hillary Clintons, the Karl Roves, the Bob Shrums, the Joe Kleins and the Al Froms - and they make clear they believe that anyone outside their cloistered cocktail party circuit should feel lucky to be disparaged as a "gadfly."
But whine, and cry, and bitch and moan as they will - they cannot stop the anger that is brewing throughout this country, and they cannot prevent the public from seeing just how complicit our political/media Establishment has been in trying to pilfer our democracy from under our noses. That anger is manifesting itself in many ways - at the ballot box, in state legislatures and in grassroots organizing. But one thing is for sure - the era of the Establishment being allowed to ignore the public, write us out of our own political debate and perpetrate a hostile takeover of our democracy is slowly but surely coming to an end.