Never-Ending War, Never-Ending Campaign

If you know politicians, you know their need for attention may be second only to their need for campaign cash.

But there are times when attention is unwelcome, such as when they’re found doing something wrong, or they believe they’re being unfairly attacked. That may be the case now with Syracuse congressman Jim Walsh, or it could be that he and his aides are- as they have been sometimes in the past- hypersensitive to any criticism at all.

The villain this time is a group called Americans For Change, formed a few years ago to beat back President Bush’s efforts to “change” Social Security, and make other changes liberal Democrats were not happy about. “Americans” didn’t so much defeat those plans, as watch them die from the effects of squabbles in Congress and negative public opinion.

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Now, the group’s issue is the Iraq war, and it is pushng for a pullout of U.S. troops. After his near-defeat last November, Walsh has broken with the president, but has not gone so far as to back a withdrawal deadline. A spokesman for Americans For Change says the group believes Walsh is one of several lawmakers who could be pushed in that direction, after their bad scare at the polls. And that’s why it’s running TV spots like this one in their home districts.

The Walsh camp’s view seems to be that the commercial is not so much an attempt to influence Walsh’s future votes on the war, as the latest salvo in a never-ending campaign by Democrats to drive him from office. 2006 opponent Dan Maffei has already declared his candidacy for ’08.

A lot of voters find it troubling that presidential campaigns go on for two years or more. Now we’re being treated to the same phenomenon on the House level. One congressional leader said recently that the cutoff date for this Congress to pass meaningful legislation will probably come when it adjourns for summer vacation this year. After that, members will be too busy running for re-election and dodging controversy.

Read more about what spokespeople for Jim Walsh and Americans For Change are saying, here.

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