You know, I'm a very pragmatic fellow. I get in trouble with some of my progressive friends for that sometimes. I have argued, for example, that we can push back against Bush on the Iraq war in a variety of creative ways. That we can strategically narrow his options with tough language, requirements regarding troop rest and readiness and benchmarks with teeth without even insisting on a date certain. I am always willing to give Democratic leaders the benefit of the doubt because I know how tough their jobs are and believe their hearts are in the right place.
But even for a pragmatist like me, the Democrats' capitulation on the war is appalling. As far as I can tell from the last 24 hours' worth of press reports, they appear to have thrown in the towel on everything: a date certain-withdrawal plus teeth to the benchmarks language, protection of troops on tours of duty, extending money for the war for only a very short time to force Bush back to the table sooner.
If you're just going to give up because Bush is more stubborn than you, what's the point? The Democratic rank and file should vote overwhelmingly against this deal with the devil, and make clear to their leadership that the Democrats should have the same rule as the Republicans: only bills that have a majority of the majority party caucus supporting them should go to the floor.
Tell the Dems to vote NO. You can also call your representative or senator at 202-224-3121 or send in a postcard. Enough is enough. If the leadership wants to capitulate, we need send them a message by taking this battle with Bush into our own hands and getting the caucus to vote against this bill.
Mike Lux is the president of American Family Voices, an issue advocacy group sometimes described as the "free safety" of the progressive movement, and consults for progressive organizations and donors through his consulting firm, Progressive Strategies, L.L.C.