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McCain and Edwards: Huge in Belgium

The only thing that politicians considering presidential bids in 2008 enjoy more than an invitation to speak in Iowa or New Hampshire is a chance to bolster their foreign policy credentials with a speech overseas.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) are in Belgium this weekend for the first annual Brussels Forum -- sponsored by the well-respected German Marshall Fund. The gathering's stated goal is to "address pressing challenges currently facing both sides of the Atlantic."

For the two potential '08 contenders, the speech is aimed at establishing each as a leading voice within his party on foreign affairs, which could well dominate the issue landscape in 2008 if the country remains engaged in the wars against Iraq and terrorism, not to mention the potential for an ongoing nuclear standoff with Iran.

McCain has already delivered his remarks in a speech titled, "A Global Agenda for the United States and Europe: An American View." The Arizona senator, who has been of President Bush's most vocal supporters on the war in Iraq, dedicated much of his address to Iran's pursuit of nuclear technology.

McCain urged "immediate" action by the U.N. Security Council in the form of "multilateral sanctions" against the country and refused to rule out the possibility of military force being used against Iran. "To preemptively forswear options is to weaken our diplomatic hand," said McCain. "In the end, there is only one thing worse than military action, and that is a nuclear armed Iran."

McCain also touched on the issue of the moment in American politics -- illegal immigration. "Any real solution in the U.S. must start with a view of immigrants as individuals possessing of certain basic human rights," he said.

Edwards, who spent just a single term in the Senate before running for president (and vice president) in 2004, will deliver the final keynote address of the conference on Sunday night. His speech ("The Transatlantic Partnership in an Age of Global Challenges"), a preliminary copy of which was obtained by The Fix, offers a critique of current U.S. foreign policy.

"The current administration in Washington speaks of 'spreading freedom and democracy' so casually you would think it was a pretty mundane or easy thing," Edwards plans to say. "Freedom and democracy are not commodities owned by any one political party or by any one country."

Both men cited the upcoming G8 conference in St. Petersburg, Russia, as an important crossroads for the future of the global political landscape.

McCain and Edwards are not the first, nor will they be the last, 2008 contenders to trek overseas to burnish their foreign policy credentials. Earlier this year, ex-Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D) as well as Democratic Sens. Joe Biden (Del.) and John Kerry (Mass.) attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. McCain made a speech at that event as well.

While these speeches are not typically covered by the U.S. news media, they do give a candidate the chance to lay out his or her vision on foreign policy -- testing out ideas and proposals in advance of the 2008 presidential election. Speeches abroad also lend gravitas to a candidate like Edwards, who struggled somewhat to convince voters he was ready for the job in 2004. McCain does not face that same challenge as he has long been viewed as one of the leading voices in his party on foreign policy.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 28, 2006; 2:50 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Yes, McCain is old in the tooth, so he must have a vibrant VP if she were to become the next president. McCain has only recently hired Mark McKinnon to work on the 2008 campaign, but Mark has been quoted that he would leave to work for Condi for president in 2008 if she decides to run. Like typical consultants, Mark is a hired gun, but he has a good track record. Against Condi, McCain would have a real battle.

Posted by: Nancy | May 2, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse

If McCain were to win he would be 72 before he even moved into the White House. Does he not already have some health issues that are being downplayed, or am I confusing him with someone else? I sent him money in 2000 but I am afraid that he is just a bit too long in the tooth now.

Posted by: JC | May 2, 2006 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I would find it very hard to support Hillary Clinton. She does not have the principles I look for in my Democratic candidate. She has moved from being a liberal to being a moderate conservative. People will say but she wants to win, but voters want to see truth, they want to see the candidates heart. If they can't trust them, how do you think they will trust the candidate with running the country and protecting their lives. So I am very against a Hillary Clinton nomination. I am working hard in my homestate of Ohio to make sure she does not become our nominee. She has a lot of cracks in her armor within the Democratic base, so don't be so sure she has the lock on the nomination. She has the highest negative rating of any other Democrat, has the highest disapproval ratings amongst even moderate Republicans, and 51% of America said they would never vote for her. She was unable to pull the rural vote as much as Gore and Kerry so I hardly believe she can pull the rural vote needed to win. Her record is not as distinguished as a Bayh or Warner and not as principled as John Edwards. Plus, these Dems unlike Hillary has proved they can pull the rural vote while keeping the liberals on board. Her hawkish approach, and several conservative stands makes me not want her as my nominee as well. Why settle for a moderate conservative when you can have the read deal in an established moderate liberal or liberal. I think it is laughable to think that Republicans are scared of her. They know that she does not connect with the voters we need to pull and she can provide the lightning rod needed to reunite the Republican base plus the left may go third party on her. I wouldn't go third party, but my enthusiasm would be drained and I would not work hard to get her elected which may mean a lot considering I am very involved in Ohio politics and have seemingly a good amount of weight in these parts too. I would support any Democrat running before her. I think John Kerry would do a better job again than she would. Again my list stands at Edwards, Bayh, Warner, Gore, Clark then Kerry, Biden and others.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | May 2, 2006 9:40 AM | Report abuse

it wouldn't surprise me that the so called "liberal" Hilary bashers are ringers...

you do have to remember phone fraud in New Hampshire, as well as the Harris woman in Florida who ruled in favor of running on her hooters, and the connection with the Ohio Govenor and the company that ran the electronic polling machines....

plus Karl Rove, selling the American people on homophobia as a way of getting bad penny reelected...purty weak, but so's bush...

short story is, they _would_ post here to create a mythology that she wasn't wanted....

the reality is that she'd probably do a good job, with Bill by her side, at least she wouldn't be blind sided.

there's also the Gore and Edwards support that she would be able to pull.

Posted by: dear fellow curious guy... | May 2, 2006 12:11 AM | Report abuse

I am disappointed to see so many bloggers that appear to lean Democratic smear Sen. Hillary Clinton. It is obvious to me that she is one candidate Republicans fear most for two reasons. One, they continually bash her (a la Howard Dean), and two--the efforts to promote Condoleeza Rice by many of the Republican bloggers. They think she is the only candidate that can beat Hillary Clinton.

My own preference as a candidate is not Sen. Clinton, but I do feel she will be the strongest Democratic candidate (outside of Sen. Feingold, or Vice President Gore). It is important that we Democrats do not fall into the trap laid by Republicans of eliminiating our strongest candidate (a la Howard Dean in 2004).

Posted by: Jason | May 1, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse

he's been talking to Bush's campaign manager and saying that, "backing the President is job #1, and personal agendas have to be put second" as well as asking for Pat Robertson...the we-will-pray-for-death-sender....of the antichrist ians

Posted by: you apparently haven't been listening to McCain lately Harold.. | May 1, 2006 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Chris, thanks for the news on Edwards. I'd love to see a copy of the speech. Any chance you can post it?


Posted by: pmorlan | May 1, 2006 7:49 AM | Report abuse

McCain has no more foreign policy credentials than any other politican. His service to our country in the armed forces is an honorable one, but I don't feel his role gave him a commanding knowledge in foreign policy matters. John Edwards has devoted his time in enhancing his foreign policy credentials and I think he has done a good job at that. He still will have to pick a running mate that makes to further enhance his credibility on defense and foreign policy matters with General Wes Clark coming to mind. No other politicians besides Collin Powel has as much knowledge and credibility on foreign policy matters. I agree with Populist Democrat that Mrs. Clinton is not the right Democrat to lead this country. She is too polarizing, too polarizing for the good of the country. I fear she can't win over rural voters because she has been unable to in her homestate. She did worse in those areas than Kerry and Gore did. Edwards fits that bill. He can win over rural voters like no other, and I place my full confidence in him. He is the right Democrat, at the right time to lead this nation out of the hole that George W. Bush and his Republican allies have dug us. McCain offers this bipartisan support to be President, but his Republican base is skeptical of his leadership and may not turn out for him like Populist Democrat mentioned. I think too that an Allen would be better for their party in 2008.

Posted by: Josh | April 30, 2006 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I am glad that people like Crazy Politico understand that Hillary Clinton is not the right Democrat to run this country. I respect Democrats like Mark Warner, and Evan Bayh who would make excellant candidates and Presidents. John Edwards is my particular brand of vodka so to speak. He speaks for me, and I think has the strength of past Democrats like FDR and JFK, but I have no problem with those Dems who like Mark Warner.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | April 30, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Whoa, read this line from the blog:
"McCain does not face that same challenge as he has long been viewed as one of the leading voices in his party on foreign policy"....what had Cilizza been drinking?
McCain's only foreign policy has been to undermine the President and General Tommy Franks about the war in Iraq. Tell us, General McCain, how many war plans did you create and successfully execute? At least Colin Powell was a top general and served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff for Poppa Bush and then for Clinton. But McCain's war plan? He never had one. And on foreign policy, what success does he have on that issue? Cilizza needs to do some research and present facts to back up his cheerleading for McCain tactics. Pretty pathetic to think of McCain as the Republican president, he shoots off his mouth to much and is not a team player in the Republican party. Sorry, he lost my vote back in 2000.

Posted by: Harold | April 30, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Hillary is not a winable candidate. We are not ready for a female president and, unfortunately, there are at least as many women as men that would not vote for her because she's female. She also comes across as too strident. We need a candidate with the "common touch." Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush Jr. had/have it. John Edwards has it, but those law suits will come back to bite him hard. I hope he can handle it.

Posted by: ellie | April 30, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if MCCain and Edwards write their own speaches for these events. These things are very time-consuming to prepare for. Remember how long it took to write a 10 page pager in school? these speeches go on and on...
(how many pages was Edwards' draft?) I can see Edwards having the time to write his own stuff....he's at UNC part-time or something? McCain on the other hand has been so busy being a Maverick, when would he have the time to write a foreign policy speech?

Posted by: jay lassiter | April 30, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the poll from Tina, it was done with political guru Larry Sabato, who has almost as good a record as any other political forecaster today.

Below is the printout, of the poll from students K-12, which shows to me that when children listen to their parent's political discussion, it has an impact. If the parents spoke highly of Secretary Rice, it reflected in the support for her. These young people are interested in what is going on in our nation, which is a great idea to have as a young person.

POLL::Students Favor Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton among Potential Female Candidates in Nationwide Online Poll

In a national poll conducted this spring by the University of Virginia Center for Politics' Youth Leadership Initiative, over 13,000 students representing schools in 45 states cast their ballot in the 8 for '08 Youth Poll.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA April 27, 2006 -- In a national poll conducted this spring by the University of Virginia Center for Politics' Youth Leadership Initiative, over 13,000 students representing schools in 45 states cast their ballot in the 8 for '08 Youth Poll. Designed in partnership with The White House Project and intended to promote the viability of female politicians as presidential candidates, the poll presented students with eight potential female candidates from which to choose.

In the nationwide results, students gave the greatest support to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (39 percent), followed by New York Senator Hillary Clinton (31 percent). Other results included Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin (8 percent), Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (6 percent), Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius (5 percent), Maine Senator Olympia Snowe (5 percent), Maine Senator Susan Collins (4 percent) and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano (3 percent).
In total, 13,176 kindergarten through twelfth-grade students from 618 schools across the United States and the District of Columbia participated in the poll. A breakdown of results by state is available at

These eight women--four Republicans and four Democrats--were identified by the White House Project as strong, capable politicians with the qualifications and credentials to run for president. Through the Center for Politics' Youth Leadership initiative website, students and teachers could download lesson plans focusing on gender and the presidency, photographs and biographies of the 8 for '08 candidates, as well as online and paper ballots for use in casting their votes. Polls were open in the 8 for '08 Youth Poll from February 20 through March 10, 2006.
"The 8 for '08 Youth Poll was a unique opportunity for students to learn about some of the top female leaders in American politics today," noted the Youth Leadership Initiative's Director of Instruction, Lea Brown. "But beyond that, modern research has demonstrated that when students take part in political simulations--researching candidates, discussing issues, casting ballots--they are then more likely to participate in the actual process when they become eligible."

The strong support for Rice and Clinton, as well as the distributed support for the other six potential candidates indicates that students across the country are familiar with a wide variety of women in office, and are open to the prospect of a woman as president in the near future. "Young women need to see role models in order to recognize that they too can grow up to be president of the United States," said Holly Hatcher, Assistant Director of Programs at the UVA Center for Politics. "The 8 for '08 student poll highlights women as leaders, and we hope it will lead to a new generation of women in politics."

Full 8 for '08 Youth Poll Results

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (R): 38.77%, 4,958 votes
Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY):
30.71%, 3,927 votes
Mayor Shirley Franklin (D-Atlanta, GA): 7.73%, 988 votes
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX): 5.97%, 763 votes
Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS):
4.98%, 637 votes
Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME):
4.53%, 579 votes
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME):
4.21%, 539 votes
Governor Janet Napolitano (D-AZ):
3.10%, 397 votes

Posted by: Connie | April 30, 2006 1:18 PM | Report abuse

While PopulistDemocrat is right on Clinton, I think he's wrong on Edwards. Mark Warner has no DC baggage, and would probably be a better choice for 2008.

Posted by: Crazy Politico | April 30, 2006 7:44 AM | Report abuse

First I want to respond to the supporters of Hillary Clinton. She can't win over rural voters, independents, or moderate Republicans. She did worse than Gore and Kerry in the rural areas of New York. She has more negatives than any Democrat in the field and would rally the fractured Republican base. We need the Republican base splintered and Hillary will only unite them. I do not support her brand of policies. I believe in John Edwards, he offers strength, hope, promise and vision something the country needs right now. He can win over moderate Republicans and do better amongst independents. We need to nominate a candidate that is in different region than our base. In the past, when we nominate someone from outside than our traditional base (Carter and Clinton) we have won. When our base was in the South, we did the same thing by always nominating someone from the North (Kennedy, FDR, Wilson). It is smart politics to pick someone that will reach out to members that are beyone our traditional Democrat family. Edwards work on the Select Com. on Intelligence, and Foreign Policy task force has give him the credentials to lead this country in the defense and foreign policy department. John Edwards is the Democrat that can provide the moral leadership that this country desperately needs. Hillary Clinton does not provide this type of leadership. McCain if he could get his base to turn out in 2008 would be the best Republican candidate, but I don't think he can. With his past liberal stances that have gone against the Republican base has lost him favor with the GOP. A recent poll has give him only a 50% approval rating amongst his party. He will do good amongst independents but his base which turnout is most important will stay home. George Allen, would do worse than amongst independents than McCain but would rally his base and get them to turn out. So I think Allen would be a smarter choice for Republicans, someone that would support 100% like Bush in 2004. The only way I think McCain could win is if Hillary is nominated because that will rally his base to turn out and vote for him. If McCain faces John Edwards he is history.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | April 29, 2006 10:42 PM | Report abuse

First off, I am glad John Edwards is out there preaching his views on foreign policy. He is the man that will take back the White House in 2008. Hillary Clinton is the candidate we Democrats, if we want to win and have a good qualified leader in office should get away from. She can't win over rural voters, moderates, and swing Republicans...period. Back to Edwards, his work on the Select Comm. on Intelligence, and foreign policy task force has given him a commanding comprehension of the great foreign policy isses of our time. He can win, and represents everything our party and most importantly our nation can be. John McCain will be a good contender in getting Reagan Democrats and independents to vote for him, but I think his problem would be to get his base to come out. He only has a 50% range approval amongst his own party, which is not far off from his approval amongst Dems and Independents and so his problem will getting his base to turn out. Those Republicans will not vote for Dems but a McCain who has done some liberal things in the past will not get them pumped up. The only way McCain can get them to turn out is to take a huge far right stance which would hurt his standing amongst Dems, and Indepedents. So, McCain would be a good candidate but the base will not come out. I think an Allen although would have less support from Reagan Dems and independents would do much better to excite and rally his base and get them to turn out. Like we have seen in 2004 getting your base to turn out is more important than how much you appeal to independents and moderate members of the other party. In all, I predict Edwards will beat Hillary for the Democrat nomination. I think Democrats and the country is in the mood for Populist type policies. Plus I think the Dems are wanting to win and want to go with a candidate that is more to the left than Hillary.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | April 29, 2006 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Foreign policy is in the territory of Secretary of State Rice, so it is interesting McCain and Edwards understand they need to BULK UP so to speak on a key factor for 2008. Here is a link to a recent poll of 8 women listed for 2008, 4 Republicans and 4 Democrats.

It shows 13,000 from 45 states and how they support Secretary Rice by 39%, (4,958 votes) Hillary with 31% (3,927 votes) and Kay Bailey Hutchison at 763 votes. These are the young voters who will be casting ballots in 2008, so it is amazing to see the huge support for Condi with the young college students. Very interesting story.

Posted by: Tina | April 29, 2006 3:36 PM | Report abuse


House passes draconian intelligence bill

By Bev Conover
Online Journal Editor & Publisher
Apr 27, 2006, 00:37

The cretins in Congress better start using their gray matter, if they have any, because the repressive legislation they pass that bites the people today will also bite them tomorrow.

No one is immune from the horrors of a police state. No one. None. Fall out of favor with the ruling clique, for whatever reason, and your goose is cooked.

And a police state is what they are creating, all under the guise of "national security" and keeping us "safe" from "terrorists."

The latest nightmare is buried in the HR 5020, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007, which the House of Representatives passed, 327-96, yesterday. Among its provisions are giving National Security Director John Negroponte authority to devise a plan for revoking the pensions of retired intelligence agency employees "who commit unauthorized disclosures of classified information." That takes care of any retired whistleblowers.

If that weren't bad enough, the Baltimore Sun is reporting "It also would permit security forces at the National Security Agency and the CIA to make warrantless arrests outside the gates of their top-secret campuses."

Plus, according to the Sun, "The measure also directs Congress to conduct a study of possible new sanctions against those who receive leaks of classified information, including journalists."

In effect, a total shutdown of any knowledge of the crimes your government has committed or is committing in your name.

Is this a sign that we are reaching the tipping point and the real terrorists in the executive branch and their fellow travelers in Congress are fearful of a rebellion? Is this a preemptive attempt to thwart an uprising?

It's better to put all the control mechanisms in place while most Americans are still preoccupied with the daily dose of lies and omissions dished out by their handmaidens in the corporate media. After all, how long can the Busheviks continue to trot out phony Osama tapes and Zarqawi videos, threatening mayhem, when things are going badly for the administration?

With Hitler, it was the Jews, homosexuals, gypsies and anyone else who opposed him. With Bush, it's darker complexioned people ("terrorists," possible "terrorists," and aiders and abettors or sympathizers of "terrorists") and anyone else who opposes him.

Fascism doesn't descend all at once. It comes creeping in, in seemingly benign ways at first. A little chip off your liberties here and a little chip there -- all for your safety and welfare, you're told -- and one day you wake up to find all your liberties are gone. We are nearly to that point.

The USAPATRIOT Act, which too many persist in calling the Patriot Act, has nothing to do with patriots or patriotism. The full title alone should have horrified people: Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act. As slickly as it was rammed through both houses, without being read or debated, in the wake of 9-11 and reauthorized this year, its provisions weren't harsh enough to keep us in line. So now the Congress critters have come up with HR 520 to punish anyone who discloses things the Busheviks want kept secret. The question is will the Senate also vote for this abomination?
The irony is that the chippers in Congress, in the state legislatures, in the city halls, fail to realize that one day they, too, make become victims of their chipping. Absolute power may corrupt absolutely, as Lord Acton noted, but power of the smallest degree is a siren song that tends to blind.

Posted by: CHE | April 29, 2006 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton, the Democrats and the Iraq war: A socialist alternative
By Bill Van Auken
29 April 2006

Use this version to print | Send this link by email | Email the author

The following statement by the Socialist Equality Party's candidate for US Senate from New York, Bill Van Auken, is being distributed to the April 29 demonstration in New York City demanding an end to the US war against Iraq. It is also available in PDF.

The tens of thousands of people marching through the streets once again to demand an end to the US war in Iraq are confronted with some painful yet inescapable political truths.

First, protest in and of itself will not shift the policy of those who have launched the illegal invasion of Iraq and who continue a bloody war that has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and more than 2,400 US troops. Those who occupy the White House and the Pentagon are impervious and hostile to popular opinion, as all of their policies demonstrate.

Secondly, the two-party system that monopolizes political life in the US works to actively thwart the will of the clear majority of Americans who want this war to end and to see all US troops withdrawn now.

The one great advantage enjoyed by Bush--as a flurry of opinion polls show his approval rating dropping to barely a third of the public--is that he faces no real challenge from the ostensible opposition party, the Democrats.

These political realities are no revelation. They have been manifested continuously since even before the war began. Then, protests by millions upon millions around the globe failed to sway the Bush White House from launching its "preventive" war of aggression. And the Democrats in Congress--New York's Senator Hillary Clinton prominent among them--echoed the lies of the White House and voted a blank check authorization for Bush to launch that war.

At that time, Senator Clinton praised her husband's 1998 decision to launch "Operation Desert Fox," in which cruise missiles rained down on Iraq, killing thousands. She likewise pointed out that it was under the Democratic Clinton administration--not the Republicans--that Washington changed its "underlying policy toward Iraq from containment to regime change."

But more than three years have passed, years of unspeakable horrors, from the massacre of Fallujah, to the torture at Abu Ghraib and the mass killings by US trained death squads. It is high time to confront these realities squarely and draw the necessary conclusion: not a single serious step can be taken to end the war in Iraq and oppose the eruption of global US militarism outside of a decisive break with the Democratic Party.

So long as it remains tied to the Democrats and the perspective of pressuring the parties and institutions of America's ruling elite, the antiwar movement will be a means not of ending the war but merely of venting the outrage felt by millions. A real struggle against war requires a new political strategy based upon the independent mobilization of working people on a socialist and internationalist program.

This is the perspective upon which I am running as the Socialist Equality Party candidate for US Senate from New York, challenging the Democrat Hillary Clinton. My party and its supporters will utilize the 2006 election not merely to expose the thoroughly rotten record of Clinton, but to bring to the widest possible audience a socialist alternative to militarism, social reaction and the unrelenting attacks on democratic rights carried out by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Clinton's record is clear. She voted in 2002 for the war and has continued to defend her vote, no matter that the vast majority of people in New York and throughout the country now know that the justification for attacking Iraq was based on barefaced lies that she herself promoted.

She opposes a withdrawal of US troops from the country and has voted repeatedly to continue funding the war.

As a leading figure in the right-wing Democratic Leadership Council, she joined in issuing a statement declaring that, "Democrats must make it clear to the public that we stand for winning in Iraq, not a rush for the exits." In other words, the bloodbath must continue until all resistance is crushed and 26 million Iraqis are subjugated to US corporate control of their country and its oil wealth.

Nor is Iraq the end of it. Clinton has sought to attack the Bush administration from the right on the issue of Iran and its nuclear program. Speaking last January at Princeton University, she denounced the administration for having "lost critical time in dealing with Iran" and accused it of having acted to "downplay the threats" and "standing on the sidelines." This, under conditions in which the Bush administration has carried out endless threats against Iran. Then, Clinton issued a threat of her own. While acknowledging the need to seek international support for sanctions, she added, "We cannot take any option off the table in sending a clear message to the current leadership of Iran." One of those options was revealed recently: launching nuclear strikes against Iranian targets.

There are those who have protested against Clinton's policies, but she is by no means an aberration. Hillary Clinton is the most representative leader of the Democratic Party as a whole and its attitude towards war, which is why she is considered the front-runner in the bid for the 2008 presidential nomination.

Indeed, the Democratic National Committee, at its spring meeting last week in New Orleans, took a decision not to discuss Iraq until after the election. Once again--as in 2002 and 2004--the Democrats are working to deliberately disenfranchise the tens of millions of Americans who want an end to this war and to prevent the elections from being turned into a referendum on Iraq.

Instead, the Democrats are running on a "real security" platform, unveiled last month, which vows to "rebuild a state-of-the-art military by making the needed investments in equipment and manpower so that we can project power to protect America wherever and whenever necessary." As part of this pledge to outdo even the Bush administration in military spending and international aggression, the party promises to double the size of the Special Forces, the Army's elite killing units developed for the suppression of popular insurgencies.

Even the supposedly "liberal" wing of the party supports continued US intervention, as evidenced by the amendment to the latest "emergency" war appropriations bill put forward this week by Senator Russ Feingold. In presenting his proposal, Feingold stressed that his call for "withdrawal" concedes "the need for certain US forces to be engaged in counter-terrorism activities, the training of Iraqi security services, and the protection of essential US infrastructure." In other words, tens of thousands of US troops would be redeployed to continue attacks on the Iraqi people and assure American control of the oil fields.

Those who claim that a blow can be struck against Bush and the war by supporting the Democrats against the Republicans in November are either fooling themselves or deliberately deceiving others. This is the Democrats' war is as much as it is Bush's.

The platform of the Socialist Equality Party upon which I am running against Clinton provides the only politically viable basis for mounting a genuine challenge to US militarism.

We call for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all US military forces from Iraq. We demand full compensation to the Iraqi people for the death and destruction unleashed upon their country, as well as to those who have suffered the consequences in the US itself--the families of slain troops and the soldiers who have returned with grievous physical as well as psychological wounds from this war.

And the SEP insists that all those responsible for conspiring to launch this illegal war of aggression must be held accountable, through the convening of war crimes tribunals.

The struggle against war can be waged successfully only if it is directed at its source, which lies in the social and economic crises that plague US and world capitalism.

The Iraq war arose out of a long-developed policy that enjoys the support of the two major parties and the corporate and financial interests that they both defend. It is a policy of utilizing US military might as a means of offsetting the relative decline of American capitalism by seizing control of strategic resources and markets, at the expense of economic rivals in Europe and Asia. To maintain its position as the dominant power, US imperialism is determined to secure a stranglehold over the world's energy supplies. In this sense, Iraq is only the beginning, the prelude to far larger and bloodier confrontations.

This war is being fought for a ruling financial oligarchy whose interests and income are separated from those of working people by a social gulf unprecedented in history. Yet, the two-party system keeps this stark class divide from finding any expression in official political life, subordinating all foreign and domestic policy to the pursuit of profit and the self-enrichment of this ruling layer.

Hillary Clinton, who sits on a $20 million campaign fund and who together with her husband, now counts her income in the millions, is a member in good standing of this wealthy elite.

The struggle against war requires the political mobilization of the working population. They are the ones paying the price for militarism and the reactionary social policies pursued in the interests of the profit system, in the form of unemployment, falling living standards, cuts in social conditions and the rising number of young working class men and women killed and maimed in Iraq.

The Socialist Equality Party advances a program for the radical reorganization of the economy in the interests of working people, including the repeal of the past two decades of tax cuts for the rich and a sharp increase in tax on corporate profits and the accumulated wealth of the super-rich. We propose the transformation of major corporations into public utilities to make resources available to put an end to poverty and create social equality.

I urge all those who support the fight for an end to war and inequality to join in the SEP's campaign. Participate in the drive to place our party on the ballot this summer and join in distributing our program as widely as possible. Through this fight we will lay the foundations for the emergence of a new mass socialist party of the working class.

Support the SEP campaign and build the socialist alternative to the Democrats and the Republicans!

Public Meeting
New York City
Saturday, May 20, 2 p.m.
Hudson Guild Carpenter Room B,
second floor 441 West 26th between 9th and 10th Ave
(Closest subway: 23rd St. stop on the "C" train.)

Posted by: che | April 29, 2006 3:42 AM | Report abuse

McCain does not merit any foreign policy gravitas because there is minimal separation between him and the neocons. Together they have diminished America's standing in the world to a very dangerous level and that vaccumn is poised to be filled by some very bad actors.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | April 29, 2006 12:44 AM | Report abuse


McCain already has the most impressive foreign policy credentials/knowledge among any 08 possibility...Good for Edwards, though.

Posted by: David | April 28, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse


Great post. The German Marshall Fund is indeed highly respected. It speaks well of McCain and Edwards that they would make major statements in such a forum, which will get a lot of attention with European policy and political elites.

Posted by: rochester | April 28, 2006 3:18 PM | Report abuse

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