This is one of those inside the beltway observations that you might have missed, but is actually quite important. ThinkProgress, the blog for the Center for American Progress (CAP), the organization run by President Clinton’s former chief of staff John Podesta, published a stern commentary today in opposition to the Iraq war supplemental agreement negotiated by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.
ThinkProgress notes that “this victory for President Bush is a defeat for the American people.” They go on to say that congressional leaders, including Nancy Pelosi, “need to live up to their word,” and that “anyone who supports accountability for President Bush’s Iraq policy must reject this blank check for war.”
ThinkProgress wouldn’t take this bold a position on the most important legislation in America today, in opposition to the Democratic leadership in the House and Senate, without the Center for American Progress’s approval. And you’d better believe that the Center isn’t going to approve of such an important statement of policy without John Podesta personally signing off. The man was the former White House chief of staff – we can assume he doesn’t miss details.
Things get even more interesting when you consider that inside the beltway CAP is perceived by many, rightly or wrongly, as a front for Hillary’s presidential run. And there is no way, in my view, that CAP’s position on the supplemental helps Hillary (who would prefer to remain perpetually obtuse when it comes to Iraq).
Podesta is a big deal in Washington. If he’s not happy with this “compromise,” to the point of publicly challenging Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and putting Hillary in an awfully uncomfortable position, then that means discontent with the way the Democratic party leadership is handling Iraq goes far deeper than a few “crazy” bloggers or the party’s supposedly-liberal base.