THE BLOG
09/26/2007 03:16 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

When Will the Innocent Bystander Fable Stop?

I just finished up an appearance on Warren Olney's national radio show (you will be able to find the archived recording here probably in a few hours). On it, I debated (among others) former DLC strategist Ed Kilgore, who quite literally regurgitated the Innocent Bystander Fable, word for nauseating word. He claimed that Democrats in Congress need to find total unity to do anything to stop the war, that they don't have 60 votes, and oh the Congress is so closely divided, yadda yadda. It is a false and misleading meme, and I called him on it, telling him that the Innocent Bystander Fable is deliberately dishonest (and by the way, this subject is going to be the major topic of my next nationally syndicated newspaper column, out Friday).

Kilgore first feigned outrage that someone would call a factual lie "deliberately misleading" (and again folks, claiming Democrats have no power to stop the war or that they need any more than 41 Senate votes to stop the war is a lie - and a deliberate one coming from people who are "experts" and who thus know precisely how the Congress works). He then was forced to admit that yes, in fact, it is correct that if Democrats put together 41 Senate votes for a filibuster or - perhaps even easier - if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to bring a blank check war funding bill to the floors of their respective chambers, Democrats would be able to ultimately stop the war. But while the Democrats' rhetoric is certainly different than Republicans, their actions really are not. The only thing they have consistently done when it comes to Iraq is try to pass the buck, and worse, successfully pass blank checks (like today"s new one).

Now, Ed and all the other brilliant Democratic "strategists" in Washington who have gotten us to this disastrous point would counter that polls aren't clear on whether the public really supports Congress using its power of the purse to stop the war. I agree, the polls aren't - but those polls are a snapshot in a vacuum.

To date, there has been absolutely no concerted campaign by Democrats or even by the major media-focused antiwar organizations in Washington to educate the public on why Congress using its power of the purse is the responsible way to end the war. No, everyone inside the 50-square mile radius of Washington, D.C. - politicians, activists, reporters, pundits, everyone - wants us to believe that Democrats are just Innocent Bystanders, that they have no power to do anything, and that, in fact, the Constitution does not include Article 1, Section 9 specifically stating "No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law."

It is a lie being perpetrated on the American public - and if folks in Washington are confused about why the public is so disgusted with Congress and with Democrats, it is because the public has figured out when it is being lied to. We got burned once by the WMD claims - we aren't getting fooled again. The public understands the message in this YouTube video:

What this all shows is the mindset of the Democratic apparatus in Washington, D.C. They react to polls. They don't believe in actually spending political capital to move polls on issues - they really only believe in spending political capital on moving polls on individual candidate and party approval ratings - but again, not on issues. They react to snapshots in a vacuum, veering one way and then veering another way, and then they have the nerve to somehow wonder why the public thinks they stand for nothing.

How many more Americans have to die before Democrats stop pushing the Innocent Bystander Fable and pretending they can't do anything? How hated does the Democratic Party have to be by the public before Democrats stop listening to their Washington "strategists," muster the tiniest shred of courage and use the constitutional power they were given on Election Day 2006?

Cross-posted from Working Assets