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June 3, 2006

Democrats' Proposed Platform

Posted by David Postman at 9:46 AM

The Democrats proposed platform just came out. It will be debated, perhaps amended, and voted on late today.

This looks to be the new language on the war. Democrats:

"Declare that there is irrefutable evidence that the war against Iraq was an unjustified war based on false and misleading statements and faulty thinking, and that it has led to the death and injury of thousands of innocent people, including U.S. service men and women, and has made the U.S. and other nations less safe from terrorism."

The proposal also says:

"The sovereignty of Iraq belongs to the Iraqis; the developing and implementing of an orderly, complete, and rapid exit strategy from Iraq of all U.S. military forces and economic interests, including all military bases in adjacent countries, and the provision of funding for rebuilding under the United Nations of infrastructure destroyed since 1991; the U.S. government should seek a peace/disengagement/reconciliation ... conference organized by the Secretary General of the United Nations."

There is an anti-terrorism plank, saying Democrats support and affirm:

"Efforts to stop attacks on this country and attacks by this country on others by working on the root causes of conflict, including poverty, land distribution, injustice, and the ongoing political marginalization of all those around the globe who want a voice in shaping their own political and economic futures."

The Department of Peace, an inspiration of Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and in the platform first in 2004, is out of the platform. But it is proposed as a resolution that is scheduled to be debated later today.

Some Democrats will also argue for impeaching President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

There are two separate impeachment resolutions in the packet scheduled to be debated. One says Bush and Cheney violated the trust of the American people through domestic surveillance and Cheney's alleged involvement in the leak of a CIA operative's name. The other lists a series of crimes that Bush and Cheney are accused of, including the charge that the president committed a felony by "withholding information from Congress about doubts in the intelligence community about Bush's justification for war," that he embezzled funds authorized for the war in Afghanistan to use in Iraq and that he "committed an act of terrorism" by "ordering the kidnapping of President Aristide" of Haiti.

The impeachment resolutions come to the full convention with no recommendation from the platform committee. It's unclear whether they will be debated today. If time runs out the resolutions are often the thing that gets bumped from the agenda.

The Department of Peace and the impeachment resolutions are among 26 out of an original 191 resolutions proposed at the convention. Because there were so many, the others will be considered at a later Democratic meeting.

UPDATE: Congressman Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, said he doesn't think there's any support among the state's Democratic House delegation for impeachment. "I've got to tell you there can be a backlash." He knows because he won in 1998 "running against impeachment" of Bill Clinton.

"It is valid and important to say that America deserves a Congress that fulfills its oversight function," he said. But that doesn't mean impeachment. "I think there are better ways to us to talk about it."

Darcy Burner, the Democratic candidate against Congressman Dave Reichert, didn't rule impeachment out.

I support Congress exercising its oversight responsibility. There should be hearings. Where that leads I don't know.

Poking at Congress' lack of oversight is clearly a Democratic talking point. This morning Rep. Rick Larsen spoke to a convention breakfast about the House Armed Services Committee which he serves on.

The House Armed Services Committee over the last five and a half years has practiced more over-look than oversight. ... We're overlooking everything and when Democrats get the House back and we get control of the Armed Services Committee we're going to start looking at what this administration has been doing the last six years to the men and women in the military.

UPDATE: There are plenty of people here who like the idea of impeaching the president, as well as the vice president, secretary of defense and secretary of state.

As delegates left the hall for lunch they were greeted by a group of people in big paper-machie heads of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice and wearing prison stripes and leg chains. They were promoting impeachment efforts of a number of liberal groups, including the Backbone Campaign, which has been active in Washington Democratic politics.

Many delegates offered their support, suggested other names to add to the chain gang and gave donations for chain gang bumper stickers.

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