On the January 4 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country, New York Times reporter Anne E. Kornblut asserted that the "biggest nightmare for some of the Democrats in the Senate would be a Democratic Party that looks as though it just wants to, from -- the words from 2004 - 'cut and run,' " referring to the label frequently applied by Republican critics to Democratic proposals to withdraw troops from Iraq. As Media Matters for America has noted, many media outlets have uncritically repeated the "cut and run" characterization, while failing to note that recent polling, including exit polls of 2006 voters, finds a majority favoring the idea of troop withdrawal.
In repeating the characterization, Kornblut described it as "the words from 2004," apparently referring to that year's presidential campaign. But Republicans and conservatives used the phrase to dismiss calls for withdrawing troops from Iraq throughout 2006 as well (as Media Matters documented numerous times, including here, here, here, here, and here). However, as Media Matters further noted, exit polling conducted during the 2006 elections showed that a majority of Americans favor a withdrawal of all or some U.S. troops from Iraq.
From the January 4 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country:
KORNBLUT: Well, it's interesting. I already heard some grumbling in the elevators today from, you know, all the Democratic supporters who are out here, especially from San Francisco, asking the question: "Are the Democrats going to cut off funding for the war in Iraq?" Can they prevent financially --
SCARBOROUGH: And you heard that on day one?
KORNBLUT: And that's -- it's before this -- before the swearing-in this morning.
SCARBOROUGH: And let me take you back 12 years. I promised my staff I would never talk about when I was in Congress, but --
KORNBLUT: Oh, please, indulge us.
SCARBOROUGH: -- my first day -- my first day, I had been told by people in my district: "Follow around [Rep.] David Dreier [R-CA]. David Dreier's the only true conservative up there, votes against all the funding bills." The first day, I get off the elevator and somebody pulled me to the side from my district and said, "You see how David Dreier voted on that first vote? Stay away from him. Stay far away from him!" And it's already happening here, right?
KORNBLUT: Oh, yes, absolutely. So, I think you will see -- I mean, the first 100 hours is going to knock off some of the other, I would say easier issues, although they're also issues that they ran on in November. You know, we saw today ethics reform was already out there. They're putting freshmen out on the floor to talk about issues that they know won big in November.
Iraq is much more difficult and I think made more so by the fact that you have, you know, 9,000 people in the Senate running for president, and all of them are going to take a position, especially the Democrats who are running, that's careful not to make them look soft on foreign policy. I think the biggest nightmare for some of the Democrats in the Senate would be a Democratic Party that looks as though it just wants to -- from -- the words from 2004, "cut and run."
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, there's a -- and that's a problem.