Olympia Snowe changes position on Iraq
Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe tempered her support for the Iraq war Tuesday, saying the Bush administration should reassess its strategy unless the situation changes for the better in three months.
Snowe's two opponents in next month's election criticized the statement as coming too late.
"It sounds like another of Olympia Snowe's election-year epiphanies," said Jean Hay Bright, the Democratic challenger from Dixmont. "It is startling that it took her until four weeks before the election. It's not good enough."
Snowe's prepared statement saying she was "deeply disturbed" by sectarian violence in Iraq echoed sentiments expressed by Sen. John Warner, R-Va., the Armed Services Committee chairman who recently traveled to Iraq.
"As conditions in Iraq continue to worsen, there must be no question among the administration, the Congress and the Iraqi unity government that staying the course is neither an option nor a plan," Snowe said.
"The Iraqi government does not have unlimited time to seize control of their country (by) disarming the militias before their country reaches a point of no return," she said.
Today is the anniversary of Snowe's 2002 vote to authorize the use of military force in Iraq, an issue that is dominating this election year as opposition mounts to the casualties and the Bush administration's conduct of the war.
Snowe's other opponent in the Nov. 7 election, independent Bill Slavick of Portland, said he is pleased that Snowe seems to be giving up on the argument that the Iraq war is "making us more secure when it isn't."
[Bart Jansen, Portland Press Herald]
Olympia Snowe has had a huge advantage in fundraising:
Reports must be filed this weekend with the Federal Election Commission. Snowe's campaign said it collected $3.3 million through Sept. 30. It also reports $1.7 million in cash on hand as of that closing date.
The Hay Bright campaign has collected less than 3 percent of Snowe's total -- $80,000. It has about $12,000 in cash on hand. No figures were available from the campaign of the independent candidate in the race, Bill Slavick.
If we could somehow convice the DSCC, DNC and individual contributers to donate another $80,000 for Hay Bright to spend in this race, would we see a victory for the Democrats? Maybe, maybe not. But we would see Olympia Snowe start to insist, rather than suggest, that the Bush administration reconsider our course in Iraq, and perhaps on a shorter time table than "half a Friedman".
It is worth have a real contest, on the issues, in all 50 states. Olympia Snowe's movement on the Iraq issue proves that. Howard Dean is getting a return, already on the "50 State Strategy". Now it would be nice to get the DSCC and Emily's List to at least put back into Maine what they have taken from Maine:
For instance, we are getting no support from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), which is a separate operation from the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The DSCC is raising money in Maine for its own purposes, but, despite the organization's stated goal of helping to elect Democrats to the U.S. Senate, and despite crowing about raising more money than its Republican counterpart, has told us outright it will do nothing to help our campaign.
The same is true of EMILY's List, which despite the fact that Jean is meets all its criteria -- that of being a Democratic pro-choice woman, and the nominee of her party -- has refused to help.
[Jean Hay Bright blog, September 3, 2006]
I am really focused on the Senate, breaking up the Gang of 14, and getting some gutsy, progressive leadership elected to give Feingold, et al. some company. I am not seeing that from Klobuchar, but I am supporting her, because the goal is a Democratic majority. It is just very hard to see the DSCC and Emily's List exclusively focused on winnable races with huge leads in the polls. when they could be making gains in marketing their ideas, and maybe wining a few upsets, by supporting Jean Hay Bright and similar dark horses.
If you agree with me, give Emily's List a call, and tell them to send substantial resources ($25,000+) to the Hay Bright campaign in Maine:
1120 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20036
phone: (202) 326-1400
fax: (202) 326-1415
Likewise, call the DSCC:
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
Phone (202) 224-2447
Fax (202) 969-0354
Then, if you have any capacity to give yourself, whip out a credit card and send the campaign $50 or $100: http://www.jeanhaybright.us/contribute.html
I am sure a quick disbursement to the Hay Bright campaign will lead to real momentum and lean, lightweight messaging, and that if there was time and interest, a quick TV ad could be thrown together, but Maine probably doesn't need the kind of ad wars that we see with Kennedy vs. Klobuchar. I am guessing they still get the whole grassroots organizing thing there, and there are fewer Democratic media consultant types that need to be patronized there.
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