An ardent lifelong Democrat, Hillary Keyes thought that when her party took control of Congress, it would finally bring an end to the Iraq war. After all, to her the 2006 election was a mandate on Iraq.
But Keyes is at the 2007 state Democratic Party convention this weekend, still pleading with members of Congress from her own party to end the war.
"It's so frustrating," said Keyes, of Boca Raton. "People I know are frustrated with the Democratic Party."
While the war for most is the biggest issue in America, ending it has become a serious dividing point for Democrats. At the state Democratic Party convention, the division is hard to miss.
While state Democrats were listening to U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., speak on Saturday, anti-war activists were a few miles away demanding an end to the war and expressing doubt that Democrats would stand up and get the job done.
Many Democrats see Hoyer's moderate approach to Iraq as a key reason why Democrats in Congress have settled for modest bipartisan measures to bring incremental change rather than bringing the troops home and challenging Bush more aggressively.
To some Democrats, it looks like their party's leaders are afraid that Republicans will label them as irresponsible if they advocate immediate withdrawal.
That includes the presidential candidates, who some say should be more aggressive in calling for an end to the war.
"The Republicans have been able to play the card calling the Democrats 'soft on terror,' and so most of the candidates haven't come out strong enough against it," said Jim White of Gainesville.
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This may be a good sign for the Republicans in '08. The Democratic party is torn between the anti war crowd and the moderate Democrats that do not want to lose the war. It has been difficult for the democratic candidates to pander to both sides of the argument.