mcnerney.jpgOn November 8, 2006, I celebrated along with the rest of the country over the election of Jerry McNerney. As one of the principal writers on the blog SayNoToPombo, I had worked incredibly hard to get McNerney elected, first in the primary and then again in the general. So you can imagine my confusion two weeks ago when McNerney returned from a weekend trip to Iraq spouting off Republican talking points. A few days ago the AP breathlessly reported a story, ”Democrats Praise Military Progress” that pushed the new Republican meme going into September that even anti-war Democrats are acknowledging that conditions in Iraq are improving. The article quoted a handful of Democratic senators, each one of whom was extremely careful to qualify his praise. The narrative traveled along the lines that, yes, indeed, our troops were performing admirably, but that without a political solution anywhere in sight, military progress was meaningless.

That is, right up until the last two paragraphs:

California Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney had a different take. After visiting Iraq last month and visiting with Petraeus, McNerney said signs of progress led him to decide he’ll be a little more flexible about when troops should be brought home. “I’m more willing to work with finding a way forward to accommodate what the generals are saying,” McNerney said.

Now, since this trip was McNerney’s first visit to Iraq, it’s hard to know exactly how he was able to judge these “signs of progress.” Back when he was running for Congress as a Blue America candidate, Jerry McNerney was very definite about the lack of progress in Iraq and his opposition to Bush’s war: (emphasis added)

I called for a public timetable for withdrawal from Iraq at the San Joaquin County Central Committee in October 2005, about one month before Congressman Murtha took a stand on the issue. I stand by that position. I was against the invasion of Iraq because it was obvious that Iraq did not have WMD’s and that the war was a vendetta by our President on Saddam. Against the advice of foreign policy experts like Colin Powell and Brent Scocroft, Bush and his hawk advisors pushed for a war by dividing our country and fueling fear instead of uniting America. We are now paying the price for this failed policy. Our troops are trapped in a civil war with no possible good outcome, a war that has been leveraged by terrorists to incite sectarian violence.

It seems to me that as stakeholders in McNerney’s 2006 Congressional campaign, those of us who supported him with both our dollars and our boots on the ground are owed an explanation for his sudden decision to embrace the rhetoric of “progress” in Iraq and his new policy of accommodation. If you contributed to McNerney, if you walked a precinct for him, please contact Jerry McNerney and ask him why he’s reneging on his campaign positions. Ask him why he’s providing talking points for Republicans. Or better yet, if you live nearby, attend one of his “Congress at Your Corner” sessions next week and ask him in person:

Tracy: Monday, August 20, Barnes and Noble West Valley Mall, 3150 Naglee Rd., Noon to 1 p.m.

Woodbridge: Tuesday, August 21, Woodbridge Crossing, 18939 N. Lower Sacramento Rd., 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.