Why should the Democrats, especially the presidential candidates, try to one-up each other on Iraq? Dates, timetables with conditions, without conditions, benchmarks, funding clauses and sub-clauses. Do they really think that voters next January are going to look back and research which version of which bill they supported? Do they really think that MoveOn.org is going to determine who the presidential nominee will be?

Is it really helpful to have MoveOn spending hard-earned money running negative TV ads against Carl LevinCarl LevinTed Cruz wants to destroy the Senate as we know it A package proposal for repatriation Silencing of Warren another example of hyperpartisan Senate MORE and Steny Hoyer because they didn’t vote for the Feingold or McGovern amendments? Is this the right message to send? I doubt it.

The simple fact is this: Either the Republicans are going to continue to move off Bush by the fall and call for an end to this war, or they are going to lead the ship of state into an iceberg. And they will pay dearly in the November 2008 elections. Democrats are already basically united against the current policy; they are the ones pushing for change, the ones keeping the pressure on the president every day. Voters get that.

If a Democratic candidate really wants to separate himself or herself from the pack right now, he or she should give a thoughtful speech about how this administration and this president have eviscerated our military and our defense. That speech should detail how to rebuild our armed forces, put the needed money into R&D, repair our equipment and prepare for fighting a real war against terrorism. By giving a speech on how to make America strong again, rebuilding our alliances and relationships around the world to battle insurgencies, that Democratic candidate might become the new face for 2008.