05/22/2007 07:39 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

House Democrats Cave on War Funding? Basic Principles of Judo

Ok, there they all were this evening, looking Memorial Day in the eye, and sending Bush his war funding without timelines. A bill full of language authored by John Warner, as a matter of fact. But one that also included a rise in the minimum wage and hurricane relief. There they were: Pelosi, Hoyer, Obey, Emanuel.


But look, these people aren't stupid. They know what they're doing. The real issue is does the anti-war progressive base know what it is doing? Is it focused on making sure that Democrats win the White House in '08 and keep control of both houses of Congress? Or is it focused on a genuinely radical anti-corporate, anti-imperial, anti-globalization long term agenda for which the fate of Democrats in '08 is just an incidental tactical issue?

Someday I'll sketch out what the strategy and tactics should be for the genuine radicals. But for those progressives who want to ensure a Democratic sweep in '08, here's the deal. Judo is all about falling backwards after pretending to shove forward. Judo is all about flipping the opponent by virtue of his own weight as he leans into the emptiness of your caving.

What House Democrats are trying to guarantee is this: the Iraq war belongs to Bush and the Republican Party now -- and so it must when the election of 2008 rolls around. That's what they want to guarantee above all else.

Cynical? Indifferent to the suffering of US troops and Iraqi civilians?

You bet.

Welcome to the political world of grown-ups who hold office and have institutional responsibility.

Myself, I'm Peter Pan...