Let's see - polls show more than two thirds of Americans oppose President Bush's escalation plan, less than a quarter support his handling of the Iraq War, and the vast majority of the country thinks the war was a mistake and wants an exit strategy. Meanwhile, state legislatures are aggressively moving forward with resolutions demanding Congress use its power to stop Bush's escalation. What's the response from some top Democrats on Capitol Hill? Undermining their own leadership, of course. Here's this from the Washington Post:
"On the war front, two Democratic camps have developed. Liberals and antiwar stalwarts such as Murtha, one of Pelosi’s closest allies, want to aggressively use the power of the purse to affect policy, possibly by denying funds for increased troop strength in Iraq. But some senior Democrats and members of the leadership, such as Emanuel and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., counsel a go-slow approach, in which Democrats start with a nonbinding resolution against the president’s policies, use hearings to build public support for more dramatic action, and gauge voter feelings before legislative action to stop a military buildup in Iraq."
Hmm...I seem to remember something like this before. Oh, wait, yes - we have heard this before. Here's the Washington Post from November of 2005:
"As for Iraq policy, Emanuel added: 'At the right time, we will have a position.'"
And here's the Washington Post from December of 2005:
"House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) issued a statement Wednesday that was in marked contrast to Pelosi's. 'I believe that a precipitous withdrawal of American forces in Iraq could lead to disaster, spawning a civil war, fostering a haven for terrorists and damaging our nation's security and credibility,' he said."
On the Senate side it's perhaps even worse. While courageous leaders like Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) offer up legislation to use Congress's real power of the purse to stop the war, most Democrats are instead stampeding to offer non-binding resolutions. This, at the very same time the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has a new website asking people to sign a petition demanding President Bush not escalate the war. That the Democrats themselves actually have the majority power to stop the war themselves is not said - because to say as much is to admit the absurd nature of petitioning someone else to do something the petitioners themselves have the power to do.
In the year since top Democrats started demanding their own party leadership not work to stop the war, 907 U.S. soldiers have been killed. Of course, that's never reported by the Washington press corps when they hear the same Democrats preach a "go slow" approach. But that doesn't mean those troops didn't die, and that the people still telling us to "go slow" should be regarded as even mildly credible when it comes to national security. The fact that the people who get things wrong over and over and over again are granted financial and political rewards on the Beltway cocktail party circuit doesn't mean these people are doing anything other than running the country into the ground.
I asked this before, and so I'll ask it again: How many troops have to die for insulated Washington politicians like Rahm Emanuel and Steny Hoyer to stop counseling the "go slow" approach? How many more limbs have to be blown off before these people stop running to reporters offering up the "we'll have a position at the right time" strategy? How much more damage has to be done to U.S. national security and international credibility before these politicians stop puffing out their chests and repeating the "withdrawal could lead to disaster" mantra? How worse does this situation have to be in Iraq and how against the war does the American public have to be for Democrats to actually use their power to stop it?
And here is, perhaps, the hardest question of all for progressives: At what point do we take off our partisan blinders and start wondering whether a very powerful faction of Democrats actually continues to SUPPORT President Bush and the War in Iraq?
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