January 31, 2008


Iraq: Dems' Dreams Dashed?: When the Democrats took back Congress they promised a "new direction" in Iraq. What happened? (Nick Baumann, January 31, 2008, Mother Jones)

There are more American troops in Iraq today than when the Democrats assumed the majority in Congress. On Monday, the Pentagon announced that the president will ask Congress next week for another $70 billion to fund the war through his last day in office. And the administration has signaled that it may seek to enter a long-term security agreement with Iraq, which could lay the groundwork for a military commitment that extends beyond the Bush presidency. Also on Monday, Bush issued a presidential "signing statement" indicating that the White House may ignore provisions included in a recently passed defense authorization bill, among them a measure prohibiting permanent American bases in Iraq.

In July, Lee Hamilton, the former Democratic congressman and co-chair of the Iraq Study Group, predicted that "the Democrats are not going to stop the war." It's becoming increasingly clear that he was right. The Associated Press reported on Monday that Democrats are reluctant to begin debate on the $70 billion spending bill because they don't have the votes to bring the troops home. To stop the war, the Democrats could filibuster funding for the troops. But a majority of congressional Democrats have balked at resorting to this "nuclear option."

Without a legislative exit strategy, Democratic leaders in Congress still insist that Iraq remains a priority. Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, says, "both the Speaker and Senator Reid are committed to try to force a change in policy." But he concedes that congressional leaders remain "a bit surprised that the Republicans, especially in the Senate, stuck to the President this far." It is possible that vulnerable Republicans who are up for reelection this November will change their positions on the war. But as American casualties in Iraq have fallen in recent months, Republican pro-war rhetoric has grown more strident, not less so.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a leading anti-war Democrat, said this week that despite the obvious political obstacles, the Democrats should not cease efforts to end the war. "Of course, we have to have a Democratic president if we want the troops home at all," she said. "But we cannot stop the [antiwar] drumbeat because that would be irresponsible. . .We have a responsibility, and that is to talk about this, and remind people that it's going on. They've got to know that members of Congress 'get it' and care."

It's not a big deal that the Left didn't understand Iraq, they're too self-absorbed to understand why Communism and Islamicism don't appeal to people. But it ought to embarrass them that they didn't get how their own Republic works. They can't end the war for the same reason W couldn't get SS reform.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 31, 2008 3:32 PM

Short version:

Democrats relied on moderate candidates to win new seats. Shockingly, many of them appear to have failed to understand their intended role according to the left wing and have voted as moderates, at least in their first term.

Posted by: John Thacker at January 31, 2008 5:22 PM

The extremes want their ideology to conquer, no matter what damage to the nation. The moderates want the nation to survive, no matter what damage to ideology.

Posted by: Mikey at January 31, 2008 7:23 PM

This is funny: It is possible that vulnerable Republicans who are up for reelection this November will change their positions on the war.

They stuck with the war while "we were losing", and change their positions when we are winning?!

Posted by: ic at January 31, 2008 9:08 PM

If McCain is the nominee, no Republican is going to say anything against the war, period. It is the single issue that most exposes the Democrats in all their anti-cultural unpatriotic nonsense.

Only Mother Jones would even discuss a Senate filibuster on funding the war. Such a move would make the November election about 67-33, and the Senate would see 10 seats go R in a hurry.

As for Lynn Woolsey, you go girl! Keep up the work of Mother Sheehan. Get on TV as much as possible. Rah-rah-rah!

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 31, 2008 11:57 PM