Earlier today we wrote about how Congressman Jerry Nadler gave a swift denunciation of President Barack Obama’s Afghanistan policy, in light of the president’s announcement yesterday that he planned a smaller-than-hoped-for withdrawal of troops there.
No sooner had we posted than Public Advocate Bill de Blasio followed suit, passing along a statement which said: “American families cannot afford to wait three more years to bring our troops home. We must withdraw our armed forces by the end of 2012 because the needs here at home are too great to allow for any other outcome. “
De Blasio made the same point last month in a Huff Po op-ed, but otherwise this is some of the most direct criticism he has had of the Obama administration.
What makes the De Blasio release politically interesting is that his one-time potential rival for a potential mayoral run, Anthony Weiner, made a national name for himself as a “Democrat Who Fights,” which made him a hero among progressives and gave him a big boost heading into 2013. With Weiner out, could De Blasio, who already is expected to grab a sizeable amount of the white outer-borough vote in Weiner’s absence, be making a play for these progressive voters as well? Although de Blasio makes an effort to tie the war to the budgetary situation here at home, foreign policy isn’t really in his current job title.
The rest of the public advocate’s statement is below:
We have spent $450 billion on the war in Afghanistan and our brave troops and their families have paid an immeasurable price. At the same time, America’s cities have faced profound economic crisis. Here in New York City, we are poised to eliminate six thousand teaching positions, close fire companies, and cut child care for thousands of children — with a continuing crunch in future years. The danger for the United States is not a military defeat; it is a slow bleeding of our economic vitality at a time when we can least afford it. The only acceptable timeline is the fastest responsible withdrawal possible.