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September 26, 2007

Quote Of The Day

“There were a few who felt I undermined the message, but I could really care less... Some were mad at me that I was going off message. In fact, even some of the people who had been pro-war said that to me. ... They were so quickly jumping to criticism of someone with a different position. It’s unfortunate that we’re being driven by such an extreme wing right now.”

-- Formerly anti-, now pro-, surge Democrat Brett Baird on the attacks he's taking from the, ahem, Loyal Opposition.

More:

Baird argued that the anti-war faction of his party allowed no room for alternate appraches.

“They are driving the agenda far too much, and it’s the wrong direction for this country,” he said. “We all agree that we can’t stay forever there, but how we withdraw and when we withdraw and why we withdraw matters a great deal to our own security, the legacy we leave in Iraq and our public image internationally.”

Baird is not the first Democrat to return from Iraq with a new viewpoint. Two years ago, Pennsylvania Rep. John P. Murtha came back and reversed his earlier support for the war.

Murtha received a hero’s welcome from Democratic leaders. He got a standing ovation at the caucus meeting.

He was allowed to speak for more than 20 minutes in a momentous speech on the House floor, a place where lawmakers are often limited to only one minute.

Baird’s reception was chilly. Few lawmakers have spoken to him about his change, he said. Some approached him with pointed fingers and barked, “We need to talk about this!” but never followed up.

His Washington state colleagues have offered dark humor as consolation as Baird faces a barrage of hostility from anti-war groups and lawmakers.

“I thanked Brian this morning,” Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) quipped to Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) last week. “‘You’re making us look pretty good!’”

Baird appreciated the levity. “Even if people don’t agree with me, they at least appreciate how tough it is.”


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