A few months ago, I wrote about how on Iraq, Democrats had caught a pretty virulent case of Autoshadowphobia - fear of their own shadow. In the face of polls showing the public wanted an end to the war, Democrats were refusing to use their power to, well, end the war. Instead, they were forwarding the Innocent Bystander Fable, which claims that despite controlling both houses of Congress, Democrats don't have any power whatsoever.
Now I am happy to report that the tide may be turning. It looks like Democrats' Autoshadowphobia could be in remission.
Yesterday, Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar (D) - who had perhaps the most intense case of Autoshadowphobia - told the Denver Post that he will now consider supporting legislation that uses Congress's power of the purse to end the war. This is a marked departure for a man who has been offering to co-sponsor non-binding legislation that claims to end the war, but doesn't - and instead just provides wavering Republicans political cover.
Now, fresh off the Associated Press wire, we learn this:
"After weeks of suggesting Democrats would temper their approach to Iraq legislation in a bid to attract more Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared abruptly Tuesday that he had no plans to do so. The Democratic leader said he will call for a vote this month on several anti-war proposals, including one by Sen. Carl Levin that would insist President Bush end U.S. combat next summer. The proposals would be mandatory and not leave Bush wiggle room, said Reid, D-Nev.'There (are) no goals. It's all definite timelines,' he told reporters of the planned legislation."
Perhaps this new Pew Poll is responsible for moving Democrats. The national survey found that "By nearly two-to-one, more say Democratic leaders in Congress are not going far enough, rather than too far, in challenging Bush's policies in Iraq." That poll also not only found that "somewhat fewer Republicans say Democratic leaders are going too far than did so in July" but that "by a wide margin, independents also would like to see Congress do more to challenge Bush on Iraq."
Whatever the reason for the apparent remission of Autoshadowphobia, it is good news. And we will see the first test of this new resolve on an upcoming amendment by Virginia Sen. Jim Webb (D) mandating longer rest periods for troops. Stay tuned.
Cross-posted from Working Assets