Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Candidates cross lines for Iraq solution
Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Sam Brownback are not getting a lot of headlines with their presidential bids. Their fundraising is weak; poll numbers abysmal. Yet they are the only two candidates actually doing what all the campaigns say needs to be done: They are uniting across party lines to promote a solution in Iraq.

The two men have joined forces to sponsor legislation aimed at stopping the fighting between Iraq's three major ethnic groups. The legislation encourages a "soft" partition of the country, with separate "states" for the Sunni, Shia, and Kurds. It calls for oil revenue sharing. There would still be an overarching national government, but these three segments of Iraq would have a great deal of control over their own police forces, their own security, their daily lives.

The measure is, at least for the moment, enjoying substantial, bipartisan support. What's more, many of the military, political and Middle East analysts I have talked to say this idea could work. It could quiet ethnic tensions, reduce violence, and allow America to consider a reasonable, safe, and relatively quick exit from this war, with most troops home by next summer.

Some Iraqis are wary, however, and say America should not have a say in such a matter anyway. Even backers admit it is not a perfect plan, as it could foreshadow an absolute collapse of the nation, an intense and open civil war.

So when Biden and Brownback stand side-by-side in Iowa later this week to promote this plan, some pundits will call it political desperation. Maybe it is. Raw Politics knows neither Biden nor Brownback is likely to become president.

But give both men this: The war is the number one issue of this campaign, and while the other contenders talk, talk, talk about what they might do if elected, these two are trying to do something now.

-- By Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent


Editor's note: An earlier version of this post mistakenly referenced Mike Huckabee instead of Sam Brownback.
Posted By CNN: 3:48 PM ET
  7 Comments
Is it Huckabee or Brownback that's teaming up with Biden. In last night's "Raw Politics" you reported it was Brownback.
Posted By anonymous : 4:18 PM ET
Right on.
Posted By KatchProFILMS Portland, OR : 4:31 PM ET
Yeah...I give them props for actually doing something and not being just all talk like the others! But is this the right thing!?

And I don't think the U.S. should have the right to do it! Iraq has a government...if they want a "soft" partition that should be something they bring to pass not us! We don't govern them even if we do have soldiers there!

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Cindy : 4:36 PM ET
Wow! I never thought I would see this in my lifetime...the two parties working together! What a great example they are to their colleagues! If we see more of this teamwork behavior among Democrats and Republicans, we might actually get some problems solved. Imagine that.

Thanks, Tom!

Lilibeth
Edmonds, Washington
Posted By Lilibeth, Edmonds, Washington : 4:44 PM ET
Tom:

I know this is totally off post but I will sent it in for the heck of it.

If you haven't seen the front cover of NY Magazine yet, you must! The new edition has a funny cover titled "Bill Clinton, First Lady." Bill is dressed in a red dress, classic pearls, diamond earrings and a Jackie Kennedy hairdo.

Now we all know this is an illusion at best but a funny one to boot!

Keep us laughing Tom!
Posted By Renee Bradenton, FL : 4:46 PM ET
Hi Tom,
Good for them! It's good to see our political leaders trying something instead of just talking about it. It is by no means perfect, but at least they have the parties talking to each other.
Posted By Pamina, New Rochelle, NY : 4:53 PM ET
Tom,

I have always liked Joe Biden. I have a fondness for politicians who have the guts to go on The Daily Show and roll with the punches.

Even if Biden or Brownback don't have a chance for the nomination, maybe their partnership will spur the more viable candidates to try a little bipartisanship rather than just taking shots at each other and blah blah blahhing.

At first I was very skeptical about even a "soft" division. However, as the war drags on and no new, much less good, alternatives present themselves, maybe a soft division is not a bad idea. Iraq was artificially put together anyway by the British. The Kurds are taking care of much of their own security now and there is not the violence there that are in the other sectors. As long as one segment doesn't get an inordinate slice of the oil revenue pie, maybe there could be an uneasy peace for a while with time to sort some things out. I say, let's get the discussion going.
Posted By Charlotte D, Stockton CA : 5:14 PM ET
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