I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Pandering to no where

We have seen John McCain's attempts to pander to the Religious Right get him no where with the American Taliban and alienate everyone else.
Poor Gordon Smith seems to be having a similar problem in his attempt to remain the US Senator from Oregon. Shortly after the November elections we saw him do a major flip flop on the Iraq war which is looking more and more like a belly flop. He has not convinced any of the progressives or moderates that he's sincere and has alienated his wing nut base.
Smith defends Iraq views to GOP
SEASIDE -- U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith defended his rapidly changing stance on the Iraq war to a roomful of Republicans on Friday night, drawing cheers but also some harsh questions at the annual Dorchester Conference.

Won't pulling back in Iraq only cause more violence? Don't your words demoralize the troops? Aren't you empowering Democrats?

Smith stood his ground. He said he has visited Iraq twice, once three years ago and once in May. Both times he saw the same thing: U.S. troops would go out, "shoot it up" and come back to the Green Zone, often missing a soldier.

"That's what I don't support any more," Smith said. "Tactics that don't equal victory."

Explaining himself further, Smith said, "I don't want to be caught in the quicksand of this ancient civil war, because we can't fix that."
While the reactions to Smith's speech were mixed most were similar to this:
"He's wrong," said Dorothy Moshofsky, one of about 500 attending the conference. "We've got to get in there and finish the job."
There is already talk of the Smith having an opponent in the Republican primary. The activists in Oregon's Republican Party are still cultists.

A genuine change of heart or political pandering?
Smith is up for re-election in 2008. Until recently, he was a steadfast supporter of Bush's earlier policies in Iraq. He has voted to authorize the war, pay for it and continue it. He has made floor speeches defending the war as part of the fight against terrorism.

His rhetoric began shifting about the time of last year's election, in which Democrats took control of Congress on a wave of anti-war sentiment. Smith has said he began having questions about the war long before that.

"I'm continually baffled that he claims to have started changing his mind in May (of 2006) but fiercely defended the war" in later votes, said Steve Novick, a Portland Democratic activist who has said he might run against Smith.

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