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Primarying Baird?

Brian Baird

Brian Baird

At the Brian Baird August 27 town hall on Iraq (see the last post and the original), you could hear some muffled talk among some of the disaffected Democrats there – that Baird’s call for staying in Iraq awhile longer had drawn specific interest in a primary challenge, presumably from a future member of the Out of Iraq caucus.

They might be interested in a conversation that has drawn some national media attention, about the specific idea of launching Democratic primary contests against members of the party unwilling to support an out-now approach.

It emerges from an August 29 conference call (a transcript is on line) among a group of anti-war activists, two of whom are Democratic members of Congress, Lynn Woolsey of California and Jim Moran of Virginia; it was organized by Rabbi Michael Lerner. The speakers generally were frustrated that the U.S House, which is majority Democratic, has not pushed much harder toward getting out of Iraq.

Woolsey remarked at one point to the activists on the phone, “Well, maybe you folks should go after the Democrats” – meaning the moderates unwilling to vote to cut Iraq funding. At one point Tim Carpenter of the Progressive Democrats of America remarked, “if there are Democrats who are on the wrong side of this one, that there will be primary opposition when they seek their own renomination as the Democratic candidate for Congress.” To which Woolsey – a member of the Democratic caucus – responded, ” think that’s a good idea, Tim. I’d hate to lose the majority, but I’m telling you, if we don’t stand up to our responsibility, maybe that’s the lesson to be learned.”

Neither of them mentioned any names at that point. But later in the conversation, the activists started talking about specific members of the House. In that discussion, Moran said, “I found it difficult to believe in my friend Brian Baird, too. . . . I’m going to sit down and talk with Brian [Baird]. I hope that some of his remarks were somewhat mischaracterized. I can’t believe that he fell for the spin of the generals and the sheiks and the Iraqi government when he was over there.”

National Democratic activists, including members of Congress, talking about primarying Democratic House members, and Baird’s name is mentioned prominently in the conversation.

We’re not done with this.

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