77% of Americans Favor Dem Plans On Iraq
The latest Newsweek poll reflects what I think is becoming a winning frame for Democrats on Iraq:
Americans remain cautious about the prospect of a hasty withdrawal from Iraq, afraid it would leave the country in chaos. Out of four possible options in the poll, 19 percent of the respondents chose immediate total withdrawal. Slightly fewer (13 percent) don't want any cutbacks at all. Nearly a quarter of all Americans (24 percent) would implement a gradual withdrawal plan that would start in the fall and extend until the spring, when the last troops would come home. Forty percent favor keeping a substantial number of troops on the ground there, but only on the condition that they fall back to their bases and focus solely on training Iraqis and targeting Al Qaeda. . . .
40% favor keeping troops in Iraq as long as they are not engaged in combat in the Iraqi civil war. This is the packaging contained in almost all of the Democratic proposals, including Reid-Feingold (the difference in Reid-Feingold to other plans is that is relies on the Spending Power, the one truly effective way for Congress to stop Bush.) Add to this the 37% who favor immediate withdrawal or withdrawal by the Spring of 2008 and it seems clear to me that the baseline position that 77% of the country has taken on Iraq is the Democratic position. More.
I want to discuss the Reid-Feingold Amendment in detail again because I think it combines a moderate position that is embraced by the country (once properly understood) and the only effective way to check bush on Iraq. The text of the Amendment states:
To safely redeploy United States troops from Iraq.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
(a) Transition of Mission- The President shall promptly transition the mission of United States forces in Iraq to the limited purposes set forth in subsection (d).
(b) Commencement of Safe, Phased Redeployment From Iraq- The President shall commence the safe, phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq that are not essential to the limited purposes set forth in subsection (d). Such redeployment shall begin not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
© Prohibition on Use of Funds- No funds appropriated or otherwise made available under any provision of law may be obligated or expended to continue the deployment in Iraq of members of the United States Armed Forces after March 31, 2008.
(d) Exception for Limited Purposes- The prohibition under subsection © shall not apply to the obligation or expenditure of funds for the limited purposes as follows:
(1) To conduct targeted operations, limited in duration and scope, against members of al Qaeda and other international terrorist organizations.
(2) To provide security for United States infrastructure and personnel.(3) To train and equip Iraqi security services.
(Emphasis supplied.) Let's review again what 40% of Americans support:
Forty percent favor keeping a substantial number of troops on the ground there, but only on the condition that they fall back to their bases and focus solely on training Iraqis and targeting Al Qaeda.
40% favor Reid-Feingold. 37% favor withdrawal, arguably a more radical approach than Reid-Feingold's "redeployment" approach.
Now let me return to my basic point on efficacy. The Reid-Feingold legislation will NEVER become law. I have written instead in favor of what I would call the Reid-Feingold framework:
I ask for three things: First, announce NOW that the Democratic Congress will NOT fund the Iraq Debacle after a date certain. You pick the date. Whatever works politically. If October 2007 is the date Dems can agree to, then let it be then. If March 2008, then let that be the date; Second, spend the year reminding the President and the American People every day that Democrats will not fund the war past the date certain; Third, do NOT fund the Iraq Debacle PAST the date certain.
Some argue we will never have the votes for this. That McConnell will filibuster, that Bush will veto. To them I say I KNOW. But filbustering and vetoing does not fund the Iraq Debacle. Let me repeat, to end the war in Iraq, the Democratic Congress does not have to pass a single bill; they need only NOT pass bills that fund the Iraq Debacle. But but but, defund the whole government? Defund the whole military? What if Bush does not pull out the troops? First, no, not defund the government, defund the Iraq Debacle. If the Republicans choose to shut down government in order to force the continuation of the Iraq Debacle, do not give in. Fight the political fight. We'll win. Second, defund the military? See answer to number one. Third, well, if you tell the American People what is coming for a year, and that Bush is on notice, that i t will be Bush abandoning the troops in Iraq, we can win that political battle too.
If Dems can explain that Reid-Feingold is precisely what Americans support, the Reid-Feingold framework can work. But for it to be explained, people like Jim Webb, Carl Levin and Jon Tester have to stop mouthing the GOP talking points on the funding options. Let's hope they have learned to by now.
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