Friday, February 23, 2007

The War Between Iran Peace Petitions.

Stop the Iran War

Poor Bill Richardson can't get a break. If anyone has run for President with a more complete resume, I'd like to hear about it. And yet, he is mired in the midst of the second tier with no apparent way out.

Consider Wesley Clark's "petition" on Iran. It's pretty much the same idea Richardson floated a couple weeks ago, but where Richardson got a few ripples, including a nice piece on Drum (all reported in a previous post here), Clark is getting massive bloglove for his.

A few factors may account for this. First, Clark isn't yet in the race though he's made noises about it. Bloggers may be more comfortable pushing his petition as an Iran petition as opposed to a "Look at me! I'm running for President!" petition.

Second, the blogad concept was brilliant. Copy and paste the html for a nice graphic and, oh by the way, a feed of the latest ad. As a result, the ad has gone viral among bloggers, to the extent that BFD, which has steered clear of '08 activism, has even run it. Here in Ohio Susan at BlueOhio has spearheaded the effort to pushed the ad among bloggers.

By the way, while most of the bloggers running the ad have installed it in posts, the website asks that it be posted on sidebars "as a public service." I hope the Clark campaign, if there is one, realizes that bloglove will turn to blograge if that ad "accidently" becomes a Clark for President ad.

As to the petitions themselves, maybe it's my pro-Richardson bias, but I like Bill's much more. Compare the Clark petition:

    President Bush, I demand that you stop the rush to war with Iran. I urge you to use every option available to defuse tensions with Iran -- diplomatic, political, and economic -- before even considering military force. Military force must be viewed as the last resort -- not the first option. War is not the answer.

With Richardson's

    I demand this administration start direct diplomacy with Iran immediately and stop the irresponsible aggression.

    This administration has stubbornly refused to pursue real, honest diplomacy in Iran and engage our allies around the world to help negotiate a solution. Instead, they are pursuing a strategy of non-negotiation and threats of possible US military action. We are clear and united - we want negotiations now and no unauthorized and unwarranted attacks in Iran.

First off, Richardson names the problem and calls the administration out. Second, Clark's petition violates a fundamental rule of persuasion -- don't talk about what you don't want. That "war as a last resort" language just bugs me.

The Bush administration to this day claims the invasion of Iraq was the last resort. I don't see the Clark petition making an impression on BushCo., whereas the Richardson petition makes it much clearer what the signer it torqued about. Gen. Clark's is, dare I say it, wimpy.

Or maybe it's just eye of the beholder; I think Richardson's version is tighter. But that doesn't matter if no one knew about it.

UPDATE: The code for the ad got screwed up in the copy-and-paste process. Fixed now.


Ryan said...

It saddens me that Richardson can't get himself onto the radar.

matt r. said...

he is clearly the most qualified of all candidates.

i don't know what it's going to take. he is going to end up right behind vilsack if he doesn't start getting more face time.

Jill said...

What were people thinking about Bill Clinton in Feb. 1991? I don't recall - does anyone else? I was getting engaged, on this very night in fact.

Pho said...


I posted a piece a month ago about some early poll results. Indeed, Clinton was polling around three percent at the time.

Two differences. First, the primary season has started so much earlier this time.

Second, in '91-=92 the field was thinner. At that time the frontrunner was Cuomo who ended up not running. Aside from that Clinton was running in a pack with the likes of Tom Harkin and Bob Kerry. In the end only Paul Tsongas made a serious run at Bill. What Clinton didn't face was three already well-known, well-financed candidates with significant followings. Until someone in the top three stumbles significantly there just isn't enough oxygen for another candidate.

Lisa Renee said...

I put it on the sidebar of Liberal Common Sense because it is petition based rather than candidate based. I was not before and would most likely not be a Clark supporter even if Edwards dropped out. Susan asked me to and I think it's important that the message be out there for those who do believe petitions work.

Anonymous said...

The issue of stopping a possible war in Iran shouldn't be a competitive effort. I realize that this may have been stated as a figure of speech, but the text lends more credence that it is being framed as "my issue" vs. "your issue", who was first?

If that's the case, then Richardson loses. Gen. Clark has been sounding the alarm about Iran for years, not weeks. He was the first to call for direct dialogue between the U.S. and Iran.
Richardson being on the same page as Clark is a good thing, but it does not make Richardson somehow equal to or unfairly less of an "unsung" in this "imaginary" war that you cite.

Gen. Clark has also been active on the issue of Darfur since 2004, when his first OP-ed appeared in USA Today.

Bill Richardson's had held government titles and posts and that is his advantage. But in terms of experiencing war and planning, leading and winning them, Gen. Clark is unrivaled. Peace Treaties? I believe that the one Wes Clark played a major role in Dayton is still holding after a decade. And Rwanda? Well, Wes Clark was an important voice there as well, even if nothing came of it.

Bottomline is that both of these men have great attributes. But alluding to a stance of "my peace experience is bigger than you peace experience" will leave Richardson short after all is said and done. I don't recommend this as a good approach.