Iraq: Doing Everything Possible To End It?
Last night in his discussion with Frank Rich about Petraeus and Iraq, Keith Olberman said (starting around the 2:30 mark):
Olbermann: . . . You said the Democrats lack the votes but the [Democratic] leadership does not need a majority to stop funding the war. Why do they do so? . . . Does it not cross your mind that the Democrats could thread the needle if they really wanted to on this. Is it too cynical to suggest that some at least are stalling almost as much as the Administration is because it sometimes seems as if there is at least the the outskirts of an either/or situation here, if they wanted to, with a supreme effort they could stop the war still fund those troops and get them home safely . . . but there are some who would rather have it continue into 2008 and [have] it as a campaign signal point?
Olbermann is alluding to the option of NOT funding the war after a date certain. His reference to an "either/or" situation is exactly right. The choice now is binary for Democrats - NOT funding is the only way Democrats can end the Debacle. And there is the question - will Democrats try to do everything they can to end the Iraq Debacle? Olbermann raises the critical question now. What Bush and the Republicans will do has never been in doubt. More.
In his answers to Olbermann, as I wrote in July, Frank Rich proves yet again that he does not get it:
Rich: I think they do so for political reasons. Given a war that has frequently been fought with poor equipment for the troops, inadequate equipment to this day, armor and everything lese, cutting off the funding could be looked at as holding hostage, these people who are fighting and dying now no matter how hopeless the cause, which I think it is. So I understand it from a political point of view, and even somewhat to a moral point of view, I'm not sure that is the way to go about it. I think the way to go about it is to really pressure Republicans, particularly in the Senate, whomay be seeing their political lives pass before their eyes in the next 18 months and who may have a lot to lose [by] keeping this fiasco going.
Rich still thinks Republicans might end the war as he has now for months. It is not clear that Rich has been following the discussion in Washington. Moreover, his argument about the political and moral imperative the Democrats face here has it exactly backwards. It is true that in his full answer Rich "deplores" Dem cynicism but it seems to me that his own prescription is cynical and, wrong.
As I have argued and now others are realizing, the Democratic inertia, to put it nicely, on Iraq, will destroy the opportunity for a realigning election for Democrats on this issue. The Democratic performance on Iraq reinforces the very issue that has plagued it for years now - the belief that Dems stand for nothing and have no principles.
The Democrats are at a political crossroads. It is Iraq. Now. What will they do?
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