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Sucker For Punishment

What's Graber Doing To That Bear?

Former Broward Mayor and would-be congressional candidate Ben Graber weighed in on the Pulp over the weekend (see his comment at the bottom of the page).

"Thanks for the advice Bob," he wrote, apparently referring to my suggestion that he "put on the rubber gloves and leave the politics alone."

It's good to see that Graber has a sense of humor, which is a welcome attribute for any politician. And it's obvious he suscribes to the old adage that all publicity is good publicity. So I'm gonna give him some more.

Graber asks that we check out George Bennett's piece in the Palm Beach Post about lecture on the Middle East he's been delivering to political clubs. Bennett's take wasn't very flattering to Graber, either, as his lede and the headline suggest the former mayor is boring his audience until their eyes water.

But Graber is also blatantly misleading his Democratic brethren about

his position(s) on Iraq. Bennett writes:

Graber said Wexler was wrong to vote in 2002 to authorize the war in Iraq. And he said Wexler is also wrong now to advocate a speedy withdrawal of U.S. troops.

"I think part of the responsibility of leadership is, before you commit your children to war and your country to war, you ask the right questions," Graber said of the original vote.

But now that U.S. troops are in Iraq, Graber said, a quick pullout would likely lead to more bloodshed and the establishment of a fundamentalist Islamic government there.

Wexler, Graber said, "is taking the Democratic Party line: Let's get out of Iraq." The U.S. should not increase the overall number of troops in Iraq, Graber said, but should move more forces to Baghdad and secure the city as a demilitarized zone with limited access and egress.

The problem with that is more than the implication that Graber is advocating a pronounced and longstanding occupation of Baghdad (reminiscent of another trouble spot in the Middle East). It's that Graber himself supported Bush's war back in 2002 and 2003. How do I know this? I talked to him about it.

I wrote extensively about the war during the buildup, nailing Congressman Robert Wexler for his idiotic support and basically railing against the idea of invading Iraq as an unnecessary disaster-in-waiting. I got the idea to poll the county commissioners and the first one I asked was Graber, who I thought at the time had some sense. He surprised me by saying that he wholeheartedly supported the notion of invading Iraq to take out Saddam and that he believed Iraq at the time to be an immenent threat to the United States.

I thought the man must be addled, but now I know he was just spouting the Zionist line. Unfortunately, I never wrote about the interview in the paper (county commissioners talking about international matters over which they have no say doesn't necessarily make great copy, after all). But I promise you it took place and I would hope that Graber would own up to his pre-war position like a man rather than run around the land deceiving the people about where he stood.