Sunday, October 07, 2007

Iraq Surrender Becoming Less Popular for Democrats

This is an interesting milestone: a key backer of Governor Bill Richardson in an early primary state has flipped to the Biden camp -- because he can't abide Richardson's proposal to quit Iraq:

Gov. Bill Richardson's proposal for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq has won him accolades from the anti-war left and in the blogosphere, but it lost him a key supporter in primary state South Carolina today. State Rep. Fletcher Smith of Greenville County, formerly a co-chair for Richardson's South Carolina campaign, announced this morning that he is endorsing Sen. Joe Biden instead.

Smith told NBC News/National Journal that he became concerned about his support of Richardson after hearing the governor advocate for a six-month timeline to for withdrawal from Iraq.

"Those of us who have had some idea about military evacuations understand that you cannot redeploy troops, or take troops out, or evacuate them within a six-month period of time," he said, adding that Richardson's plan could bring about the same morale-damaging image evoked when Americans were airlifted from Saigon in 1975. "We do not need a Vietnam-style evacuation.”

Richardson's support for quick withdrawal is not new; he's been pushing it for months. It IS new that key Democrats are forcefully rejecting that idea, in favor of a long-term commitment. Of course, South Carolina is a conservative state, but it's a sign that the center of gravity on Iraq in the Democratic party is moving to the right.


Anonymous said...

Does Smith's switch to Joe Biden really match your analysis? I can't see Biden as anything different from Richardson on this issue.

-- LGD

The Editor at IP said...

Richardson has earned plaudits on the Left for coming out in favor of (essentially) immediate, total withdrawal. Check out for example, this recent praise from MyDD:

Biden favors what has been called a partition, with a 'residual' force to support the mission:

I think it's fair to say that many are under the impression that Biden is flexible on the exact number of troops, and the length of their stay. Thus, if you are a hard-core anti-war opponent, you probably see a significant difference between Richardson's commitment to get out all troops as fast as possible, and Biden's less irresponsible approach.

At least, that's my take.

Anonymous said...

Biden's plan IS for a partition, and IS for a residual protection force. However, Biden, Edwards, Obama, and Clinton are for doing so over an undetermined period of time determined by "conditions on the ground" (ie, they all are willing to continue the war until 2013 at least, but don't dare say so if they want a chance at the nomination). Richardson wants out asap, and has pledged to do it as soon as taking office. The Dartmouth debate transcript is available online, and it spells out the differences very well. Essentially, there war will continue-possibly until 2013-if Clinton, Obama, Edwards, or Biden are elected). Richardson, Kucinich, and Ron Paul promise immediate retreat. Everyone else is parsed.