What Now?

So what should Democrats do now? Let me be frank -the events of the last days on the Levin-Reed Amendment was about pressuring Godot Republicans to break with Bush's Iraq Debacle. After the talk of how Sens. Warner, Lugar, Voinovich, etc. were breaking with Bush's Iraq Debacle it was of course proven to be an absolute crock. These Republicans will never break with Bush's Iraq Debacle.

Some believe that September will be the moment, after General Petraeus speaks. This is delusion. What do folks think Petraeus is going to say? Petraeus will STIFFEN Republican resolve, not weaken it.

So what to do? If you accept, as I do, that the Godot Republicans will never break with Bush, then it seems to me that the only plausible approaches to ending the Iraq Debacle require reliance on solely Democratic votes. And that means, yes, exercising the NOT spending power after a date certain. More.

One more time for posterity:

This is a preemptive post, because I am positive that the naysayer will trot out the same critiques about the NOT funding the Debacle approach that was used when Feingold first proposed his Not Funding plan in January. To wit, we don't have the votes, McConnell will filibuster, Bush will veto. My response remains:

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 it will be Bush abandoning the troops in Iraq, we can win that political battle too.

This approach is perfectly consistent with the so called "short leash" plan, where the Debacle will be funded in 3 month intervals. But it is only consistent if BOTH are done. The intention to NOT fund the war after March 31, 2008 must be made the Dem position now.

The short leash must be pulled to a stop on March 31, 2008.

Say it now so you can end it then. If you do not say it now, then you can't end it on March 31, 2008.
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    If I were going to be cynical (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 11:24:10 AM EST
    I would say that the Democrats don't want us to pay any attention to the House, where we have a usable majority.

    In that sense, the Republicans had a point about the show in the Senate last night.

    OTOH, stick a fork in John Sununu and Gordon Smith.

    I can't help enjoying the view of a little (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 11:33:29 AM EST
    spine being shown by the Democrats!  Welcome to all the new defunders that this show of Democratic spine will give birth to ;)

    Reid is pulling the entire bill back (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by eric on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 11:43:43 AM EST
    It looks like Reid has now announced that he is setting aside the entire defense funding bill because of the fillibuster.  Interesting.

    What now? (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by RoaringPurpleEagle on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 11:53:42 AM EST
    I couldn't agree more that anything less than a real exercise of the power of the purse - - by not passing any more funding bills for use in continuation of the Iraq war - - will accomplish nothing.  And I would have to add that, if any member of Congress has really come to the conclusion that a continuation of the war is a horrible and futile waste, voting in favor of additional funding can only be viewed as the exaltation of political calculation over morality.

    Good for Reid, but will dems blink (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by magster on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 11:59:31 AM EST
    and pass an appropriation bill when the pressure is on?

    Even with the wavering Republicans, there are not 60 votes. Defund or cave? Unfortunately, the smart money is on cave.

    Wavering repubs? (none / 0) (#6)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 12:46:30 PM EST
    I honestly think repubs will never flip and back defunding the occupation, apart from the fact that they face primary challenges if they do, for one of the same reasons I think there will never be Blue Dog or Repub votes for impeachment. They are complicit in Bush's crimes. They'd be committing suicide.

    Typo (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by magster on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 06:57:48 PM EST
    I want my money back (none / 0) (#7)
    by Slado on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 01:30:01 PM EST
    What a waste of time, media attention and money last night was.

    Reid knew going into last night that this would amount to nothing more then soundbites for both sides to use against eachother.

    It's hard to take the Dem's seriously when they could end the war tomorrow but they choose not to.

    If they really believe what they were babbling about last night then do as BTD says and defund the war.    They don't really believe it or not enough of them do.   Either way they are paying a political price because their approval rating keeps going lower and lower and 0 is closer now then 50.

    Will refund help (none / 0) (#8)
    by koshembos on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 02:06:00 PM EST
    There is the standard argument that defunding the war will help the Republican claim that the DEmocrats lost the war. But it also possible that the John Yoos will find a way to continue the funding for the war despite it illegality. My bet is that the latter will happen.

    In keeping with Bush's sick mentality (none / 0) (#11)
    by chemoelectric on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 02:20:34 PM EST
    It would be in keeping with Bush's sick personality, wherein he would think the de-funding was (literally) an initiative of theological 'Evil', and so he must, due to his messianic mission, counter the de-funding in any way he can. However, I'm not sure it is John Yoo he would have to turn to so much as Iran-Contra veterans.

    A little unsolicited writing advice (none / 0) (#9)
    by chemoelectric on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 02:15:42 PM EST
    Brevity is a point-maker. You should leave out the 'one more time for posterity' parts; you will then be finishing with a solid punch.

    Thus: keep it brief and finish with a punch.

    I would (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 02:18:30 PM EST
    except when I leave it out I get comment aqsking me about veto-proof majorities.

    Alright (none / 0) (#12)
    by chemoelectric on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 02:37:30 PM EST
    That would require one more sentence, I think, and willingness to see the question asked sometimes. After all, if you confuse 10 people but avoid boring 50 people, that might be a fair trade-off.

    My model of great rhetoric is the Gettysburg Address, preferably not one of the embellished versions Lincoln drafted after the fact.


    I strongly disagree. People new to this site (none / 0) (#14)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 02:47:50 PM EST
    or who didn't absorb this information at Daily Kos benefit may from frequent repetition of the basics.

    Sorry (none / 0) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 04:06:53 PM EST
    You simply have not experienced what I experience on this. I appreciate the advice but you simply do not have the experience on this that I have.

    Um, I skipped that part (none / 0) (#15)
    by andgarden on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 03:16:14 PM EST
    but that's only because I've pretty much internalized it.

    It's good to have for new readers.


    branding... (none / 0) (#13)
    by selise on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 02:41:14 PM EST
    actually, i think last night was about branding the dems as the party who wants to get us out of iraq (even if they really don't).

    who knows, it might help convince them (a little bit) to actually be the party who wants to get us out of iraq.

    actually, what i really want is a party that will rethink our entire foreign policy - goals, agenda, the whole thing. but i'm not holding my breath.

    Sure (none / 0) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 04:08:01 PM EST
    by failing to attract any Godot Republicans.

    What now (none / 0) (#18)
    by Alien Abductee on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 04:35:25 PM EST
    Considering the way Dems dither trying to come up with a suitable response each time Bush makes a move and always end up a couple of moves behind, I hope somebody is thinking about what to do politically in the Dem camp when things in Iraq worsen and al-Maliki is overthrown by a new and improved Saddam (more photogenic, more reliant on U.S. support, more willing to sign oil agreements handing over development to the tender care of U.S. corporations).

    And when said new strongman begins ruthlessly exterminating opposing religious factions to "restore order" and "help defend democracy," he'll of course say al-Maliki's suggestion that U.S. troops can leave any time they want was obviously "optimistic" and "premature," what with bin-Laden and al-Qaeda running rampant throughout the insurgency in Iraq and all.

    Do you prefer Cheney or Rove for (none / 0) (#19)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 04:42:34 PM EST
    this role?

    Is that a (none / 0) (#20)
    by Alien Abductee on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 05:05:19 PM EST
    trick question?

    uh-huh (none / 0) (#21)
    by Sumner on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 05:17:24 PM EST
    The war in Iraq is ancillary to the GWOT. The GWOT serves as a diversionary device distracting from and providing cover for, the big power grab, read: myriad usurpations.

    You appear to remain all-consumed with treating a symptom and not the underlying disease.

    You insist that you know what you are doing.

    Maybe it will work.

    it's finally occured to me (none / 0) (#23)
    by Stewieeeee on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 10:21:17 PM EST
    every chance we give them to do the right thing will only prove your assessment of repugs correct.

    but i have a different perspective on that.  this seems to me as much of an argument to continue to give them such chances as it is to also follow through on the more aggressive pieces of legislation.  in tandem.