Are Democrats the Party of "Cut & Run" ?

At a recent speech to a GOP fundraiser in New Hampshire, White House adviser Karl Rove accused the Democrats of “fall[ing] back on that party’s old pattern of cutting and running.”

What exactly is this based on? When have Democrats actually cut and run? To our eternal shame, it was a Democratic President (Johnson) who advocated “staying the course” in Viet Nam, but a Republican (Nixon) who “cut and ran”. When the Marine barracks in Lebanon were destroyed by terrorists, it was Republican Ronald Reagan who “cut and ran”.

What instances of “cutting and running” on the part of Democrats is Rove referring to? Or is it all just more bullshit to mislead the masses?

More election-year divisiveness from the GOP.

More support for your “inconvenient truth” from HDS Greenway:

Mogadishu perhaps? Or perhaps he’s reading SDMB

OK, even if we count Somalia, does one incident establish a “pattern”? Based on my cites alone, the Pubs have cut and run twice as much as Democrats.

Not to mention that the partisan-GOP blame for the Somalia cockup, inspired perhaps by “Blackhawk Down”, goes to Clinton for not getting our people out of there sooner. In fact, I’ve heard people who should know better claim he sent them there in the first place.

I think “cut and run” is just his way of making people think “weak on defense”. The latter is something the Democrats have trouble shaking (whether that’s warranted or not), and it’s hard to cast the Iraq situation as defense-related.

A snappy one-liner from a political operative like Rove is almost guaranteed to be misleading at best, and downright wrong at worst. There are going to be times when the best policy is “cut and run”, as bad as that may sound. The key is to present analysis as to why that policy is either good or bad for the current situation in Iraq, not just sling around sound-bites.

Ironically, many people blame Clinton for staying in Somalia and trying his hand at “nation-building”, neverminding the fact that Clinton didn’t get us into Somalia in the first place…

It’s just more of Rove’s partisan bullshit. Murtha said it best…
Rove sits on his fat ass in an air conditioned hotel, talking shit about other people.

Many among the GOP were also vehemently opposed to American involvement in the Balkan wars despite the low NATO casualties and the modicum of success the achieved in stemming a genocide. When it’s your party’s war, you “stay the course”. When it isn’t, you blast the opposition for adventurism and the waste of American life on foreign affairs.

It might have been a reference to John Kerry and the general view that he would have left Iraq to deal for itself.

Then there is the war on drugs, welfare, or affirmative action where the Democrat position would be that instead of forcing people to fight to do what is right in life, you run away from the issue and toss money at it.*

Most likely to each party, the other group looks like the bunch of cowards.

  • Paraphrasing of how a Republican might view the Democratic party. Not necessarily my view on the issues.

So Republicans would end government action in the areas of drugs, welfare, and affirmative action? Isn’t that cutting and running?

I don’t think he’s saying that at all. He’s saying Dems could be accused of being quitters and advocates of abdicating personal responsibility in favor of a mommy state which deals with detritus of society by rewarding their worthlessness with hand-outs.

Well, if “Cut & Run” means ‘Cut’ giagantic checks for spending and let the defecit ‘Run’ wild I think they have the wrong party.

As said, “Most likely to each party, the other group looks like the bunch of cowards.”

Some Dems won’t cut-and-run even when they should.

Were you expecting fundamental or profound truths from…Karl Rove?!? :dubious: Or for that matter ANY politician??

I don’t think its based on anything as far as what you are looking for. IMHO its based on the perception that the Democrats are weak on defense and are willing to cave in if the going gets tough.

The reality of course is that, while there is a core of truth (the left wing portion of the Democrat party IS pretty hostile to the military in general…and they are the more vocal and predominent part of the party), its mostly political theater…which is a Rove specialty. I.O.W. he’s playing to the base.
I suppose a good historical case could be made for the Dems ‘cutting and running’ WRT the civil war…though of course they were cutting and running from dealing with the issue and wanting to avoid both a messy war AND the social change. There was the opposition to the war of 1812 by the north easterners, many of whom would (perhaps) today be Democrats (it IS a ‘blue zone’ after all :wink: ). Yeah, I know most were Federalists at the time…but then ‘Democrat’ meant something different then than it does today. Really, ‘Democrat’ meant something different during WWI and WWII as well.

And while you are quite correct to point out that it was in fact the Dems who both got us into the mess that was Vietnam AND stayed the course, most folks who would be considered ‘liberal’ today WANTED to cut and run (or never get involved). Also, many of those Democrat presidents who you listed would hardly be considered ‘liberal’ Democrats today…really, only Johnson. And Rove is playing to the ‘liberal Democrat’=Democratic Party theme with this.


  1. The left wing of the Democratic Party (which does not include Howard Dean or Hillary Clinton – regarding whom see my link posted above) is vocal but decidedly not predominant.

  2. Being hostile to war is not the same as being hostile to the military.

What you’re describing shows up the political-cultural difference between regions, not parties. The South has always been more pro-war than New England or Greater New England – no matter what the war in question was about. See Vietnam: The Necessary War, by Michael Lind.

Personally, I always vote for the “Stay and Die” party. :dubious:

Well, I would disagree with your assessment that the left wing is not predominant. I would pretty much agree that neither Dean or H.R.C is in that left wing…but that would just be MY opinion. I think the popular perception is that they in fact are. I think they go back and forth and suppose that they would be (again IMHO) somewhere in the nebulous ‘center’, going left and right on some issues.

No, they aren’t the same thing. However, in the case of the left BOTH are in effect…at least IMHO. The left, for most of my adult life, has been actively hostile to the military, constantly wanting to slash its budget (so it could use the money for its own pet projects). Sometimes the hostility to the military is subtle, sometimes its right there on the sleeve…but IMHO its always there. YMMV of course.

Yeah, I know. I wasn’t making a serious effort to try and substantiate the Democrats=‘Cut & Run’ thingy…only saying that perceptions sometimes drive these things, and sometimes there are tenuous links to past events that can work their way into those perceptions.

Basically, as I said, I think Rove is full of shit.


As a native New Englander, I have to take exception to this “Greater” New England of which you speak. There is “New England” and everywhere else-- we don’t have empirial aspirations. And if you mean upstate New York, please remove such an abomination from your thoughts. We’d be more likely to rid ourselves of south-western Connecticut than add any part of upsate New York. Ay-uh!