We've been saying it for years. And more importantly, we've been right. All along the way of this six year morass, LIBERALS have been right. And now, the Iraqis are agreeing with us too.
Many pointed out advantages to the Democrats' increased sway over Iraq policy. Government officials said they had generally found the Democratic position on handing over security to Iraqi forces sooner rather than later closer to theirs. Almost all agree on Democratic Party initiatives, squashed when Republicans controlled Congress, to prevent the building of permanent U.S. bases here. They note news reports of Democrats acknowledging the suffering of the Iraqi population.
"I see that the Democratic ideas are more related to reality," said Ammar Tuma, a lawmaker who serves in Maliki's ruling Shiite coalition. "They talk about the real problems that the Iraqis are facing every day."
To date, government officials said, they've also found Democratic visitors such as Pelosi, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois less parochial, more culturally sensitive and more willing to listen to Iraqi concerns than Republicans.
"Before, Bush used to order Iraqi officials to do this and that," said one member of Maliki's Islamic Dawa Party, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "The Republicans were dictating the political process in Iraq. With the Democrats in control of Congress, the Republicans are now less influential than before. It helps us in a sense to breathe a bit more and to have more freedom."
Many of the Shiites around Maliki still harbor bitterness about the Bush administration's push to remove then-interim Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari from his post last year. They considered the pressure inappropriate interference in Iraq's domestic affairs. They were also angered by recent remarks by Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice questioning whether Maliki was up to the job of leading Iraq.