Fast Forward: 2008, What Have Dems Done To End the Iraq Debacle?

There was a time, circa 2005 and 2006, when I argued against Dem plans for Iraq:

With due respect to everybody that wants to play President, Bush is the President and we should concentrate on ripping him to shreds for the Iraq Debacle, including his current failures. Does Warner believe in deadlines or timetables? Clark for training or redployment? Who cares? None of it matters until Dems get some power.

But now Dems control the Congress, and this approach will no longer work. For in 2008, the American People will PROPERLY ask 'what did the Dems do to end the Iraq Debacle?'

Via Greg Sargent, Stu Rothenberg writes:

Democrats are trying so hard to avoid allowing Republicans to label their criticism as merely partisan that they won't even acknowledge the obvious. Instead, they are looking for any opportunity to portray their opposition to the President's policies as part of the nation's dissatisfaction with the administration's Iraq policy.

While that's understandable - one of the few ways Democrats could screw up during the next year and a half would be to appear to be basing their opposition on possible political gain and a petty desire to punish Bush politically - there is no indication that Democrats have been too aggressive in criticizing the President or his policies so far.

In fact, a partisan division over the war probably would help Democrats by further damaging the Republicans between now and next year's Presidential election. After all, if it isn't merely President Bush, but also his entire party, that supports the war and ignores public opinion, Democrats would seem to benefit.

This is right and wrong. Certainly pinning Bush on the GOP helps the Democrats, but political grandstanding alone will not cut it for the Dems now. They control the Congress. They can end the Iraq Debacle. And if they do not, the GOP will try and neuter them on Iraq by saying they did not - Dems were all partisan bluster and no action. And the GOP would be right.

As Greg Sargent points out, Dems hold a 20 point polling edge on Bush on Iraq, 54-34. B ut if Dems do not do anything about ending the Iraq Debacle, then why SHOULD the American People trust Democrats on Iraq?

And now we come to some practical realities - the Congress can only end the Iraq Debacle by NOT FUNDING IT. It may scare some people to say those words - I think it is an unfounded fear as I have explained many times. But let me give them a political scenario that is scarier -- come 2008 -- when faced with the question "What did a Democratic Congress do to end the Iraq Debacle?", when the answer is nothing, what do you think the voters are going to say?

Spineless Dems ALWAYS lose. Always.

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    The American peoples can ask (none / 0) (#1)
    by Electa on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 11:41:41 AM EST
    the dems all they want, "what did they do to end the Iraq debacle", and an answer which we'll already know, then the bigger question becomes what alternatives do we the people have...elect a majority GOP?  This recycling of political incompetence demands a multiple party system.

    If they just said... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Dadler on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 12:37:15 PM EST
    ..."We're out in six months, starting now, all our troops will be home", and then stood by it and countered all the illogic of the right, I think they'd do just fine.  Unfortunately, I can't see the party actually doing this.  And I can't see the Decider going along if it were.  Bush will not get our military out of there for ANYTHING while he's in office.  He is so fixed mentally on this point that it has further retarded the same mind it is held in.  

    Cheney's Secret Weapon: The Democratic Congress (none / 0) (#3)
    by squeaky on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 02:13:36 PM EST

    "Vice President Dick Cheney made an unannounced trip to Pakistan on Monday to deliver what officials in Washington described as an unusually tough message Gen. Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, warning him that the newly Democratic Congress could cut aid to his country unless his forces become far more aggressive in hunting down operatives with Al Qaeda."

    Josh Marshall

    This is the appropriate focus (none / 0) (#4)
    by janinsanfran on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 02:45:28 PM EST
    People forget that, though the end came under Nixon/Ford, Vietnam was the Democrats' war. And because of that, the best and the brightest and the most idealistic of the generation most exposed to that war's vicious idiocy didn't bother to become active Democrats. They may have voted for Dems, if they voted. But they never engaged with the Democratic Party which got, instead, mostly the comfortable (think Kerry) and the mediocre (think Gray Davis).  People of color did engage, but not white progressives. We are still suffering from a leadership vaccuum in part because we missed a generation -- because Vietnam was the Democrats' war.

    If Democrats let these current imperial hissy fits become our wars, we'll do it again.

    janinsanfran (none / 0) (#5)
    by cpinva on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 03:32:18 PM EST
    you're quite wrong, vietnam was eisenhower's war. he sent in the first u.s. military personel, and provided military planes to the french, for help in supplying their failed plan at dien ben phu (sp). the first u.s. military casualties occurred in 1957, long before kennedy & johnson took office.

    vietnam started under the republicans, and finally ended (albeit much more slowly than the american public desired) under republicans.

    not to be nitpicky or anything, but the dems have only had control of congress for little more than a month. it took the republicans 6 years to screw everything up, it isn't going to get fixed overnite.

    to expect that is not only unreasonable, it's bound to disappoint.

    Finally, this truth is getting some traction: (none / 0) (#6)
    by glanton on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 11:05:38 PM EST
    not to be nitpicky or anything, but the dems have only had control of congress for little more than a month. it took the republicans 6 years to screw everything up, it isn't going to get fixed overnite.

    to expect that is not only unreasonable, it's bound to disappoint.

    Thanks cpinva, I don't understand why so many political junkies on all sides of the argument don't grasp this, when it's guaranteed that the mass of American voters instinctively get it.  

    Fair or not (I think it more than fair but understand that the Dems rolled in 2002), it is indeed manifest in the public mind that this is a Republican War.  They made the mess, they get the albatross.

    There will come a time in the not too distant future, however, as this catastrophically stupid foreign engagement drags on, where Americans will begin to shift more and more responsibility for the thing onto Democratic shoulders. Somebody's eventually going to have to put a stop to it, after all.

    At any rate, at least with a Demo Congress it's harder for the Republicans to start more wars.  But it would be nice if the Dems could eventually provide us with better rhetorical ammo than that.