A Strategy For Democrats on Iraq

In an editorial today The New York Times writes about the Republican filibusters and recommends:

There were votes, of course, but not on the bills. They were cloture votes, which require 60 or more Senators to agree to cut off debate, eliminating the possibility of a filibuster, so Senators can vote on the actual law. In both cases, Democrats were four votes short, with six Republicans daring to defy the White House. We support the filibuster as the only way to ensure a minority in the Senate can be heard. When the cloture votes failed this week, the Democrats should have let the Republicans filibuster. Democratic leaders think that’s too risky, since Congress could look like it’s not doing anything. But it’s not doing a lot now.

(Emphasis supplied.) The highlighted passage is indicative of the profound misunderstanding of what the Democrats can do on Iraq. From the NYTimes to Move On (I would have censured them for their idiotic political strategy on Iraq), there seems to be no understanding that Congress can end the Iraq Debacle BY DOING NOTHING!!

How hard is it to understand - Democrats need only say and do one thing - NO funding of the Debacle after a date certain. No funding without a timeline. Filibusters and vetoes are powerless against the Spending Power on this. Will anyone on our side ever get it? Besides Chris Dodd?

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  • Display: Sort:
    Well (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 07:53:42 AM EST
    Barbara Lee gets it.

    And more to the point (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by andgarden on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 07:55:23 AM EST

    Congress knows how to do this.


    Good for her (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 08:10:51 AM EST
    Of course they "get" it (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by kovie on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 08:00:08 AM EST
    They just don't want to DO it, because they fear being accused of "hurting" and "not supporting" the troops. You really expect a party that supported a McCarthyite bill to condemn an AD to actually do something this bold?

    They're obviously going to fund this war, and not pay for it politically, which the Repubs WILL, because right now, the country still hates the Repubs more than it does the Dems, and the Dems know it, and want to keep it that way.

    And then THEY will own this war.

    How about the NYTimes? (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 08:10:13 AM EST
    Move On? And for a very long time, the Netroots?

    I honestly don't know what to think at this point (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by kovie on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 08:25:09 AM EST
    I really don't. I just ready Digby on this and it appears to be even worse than I had imagined, since it's obviously been going on for well over a decade and shows no sign of ending any time soon. The Dems and Repubs are basically doppelgangers, inseparable flip sides of the same awful coin. And I know of no way to move them right now. None.

    Just as Repubs exploited the Dems' corruption and misgovernance to get into power without making things any better themselves--and inarguably making them even worse--Dems are now exploiting the Repubs' own corruption and misgovernance to get back into power without doing or intending to make things any better themselves. Things won't improve and we'll keep seeing this tweedledee and tweedledum insanity until something happens to smash this whole corrupt charade in pieces. And I don't know what that might be.

    Most likely--as it all too often is--it'll be unmitigated catastrophe.

    Sorry, I'm not feeling very progressive right now. This has been a simply awful past few weeks, with no signs of getting better.

    Oh, wait, there's good news! We'll likely increase our majorities and have a Democratic president in '08!

    Color me strangely unthrilled.


    Actually add Digby to the list (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 08:33:39 AM EST
    of those who do not get it on NOT funding.

    None of them have gotten and largely the problem was Move On and the very wrong nonaggression principle that permeates the Left blogs.

    They spend more time defending Move On than fihgting to end the war.

    It is disgarceful frankly.


    I presume you saw (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by andgarden on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 08:54:11 AM EST
    Good one (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 09:08:02 AM EST
    Geek seems to be on board.

    Indeed I am. (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Geekesque on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 09:17:04 AM EST
    My mistake was thinking the Republicans would save their own party rather than sticking with Bush.

    I overestimated them.

    However, if Weak Tea doesn't have the stones to prevent the Cornyn Amendment from getting a vote, I doubt he'll prevent a blank check funding bill from getting an upperdown vote.

    He's less effective than Frist was.


    Dems will defund the war (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 09:01:30 AM EST
    only when they come to the conclusion that it's in their interests to do so. Until then, they will pretend that defending isn't an option.

    Dems are currently running their own 'stay the course' strategy, which is to allow the war to continue while criticizing Bush's handling of the war. They are convinced this strategy will pay them big electoral dividends next year.

    Hence, they have no incentive to adopt a true war ending strategy such as you advocate. To convince them to adopt your strategy it will take more than just showing that your strategy will work. I wish I knew how to convince them of that, but I don't.


    Well (none / 0) (#11)
    by kovie on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 08:56:49 AM EST
    to the extent that the left is not nearly as tough on Dems to do what it wants them to do as the wingnut right is tough on Repubs to do what it wants them to do (on immigration, the war, tax cuts, gay marriage, abortion, etc.), I agree. We call them cowards and cynics and collaborators, but what do we actually DO to pressure them meaningfully, the way that the right does to its elected leaders--and quite effectively, too?

    Of course, the right has had the advantage of 40 years--half of it in the political wilderness (Nixon was never truly to their liking, which shows how radical and insance they really are)--to figure this out. We've only had what, fewer than 10 years? And they're motivated by unchecked irrationality, which tends to be more potent than righteous passion. Kind of like the political war for control of Germany in the late 20's and early 30's.

    Sorry, Godwin simply does not apply here.

    In any case, until we figure out how to pressure our side as well as if not better than their side, they're going to keep on caving in--because they don't have to NOT cave in, and they know it. If these were decent, smart, principled, courageous people, then we wouldn't have to pressure them. But they're not, and only effective pressure will ever get them to do the right thing. And I just don't know what that means.


    They know that (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Saul on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 08:25:15 AM EST
    but they won't do it.  The stratergy of the democrats is to let it ride, so it will stays as Bush's war and so they can be victorious in 08.  They know they can stop the funding.  Although their stratergy will work I do not agree with it.  Look at all the live the democrats can save if they just stop the funding.  Somewhere down the road you got to forget about politics and do the right thing.  But then I woke up.

    My take on the refusal to fund was that (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Geekesque on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 09:05:54 AM EST
    it was one of last resort.

    Well, we just passed the penultimate resort.

    Reid should refuse to let it come to the floor.

    Then again, he should have done the same with that stupid, counterproductive denunciation of a stupid, counterproductive ad.

    The Netroots acted less like an ideas-oriented group and more like just another special interest group yesterday.

    Open Left was atrocious--Stoller burst a blood vessel over Moveon but couldn't even whimper about the backslide on Feingold-Dodd.

    Yep (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 09:07:07 AM EST
    On all of your comment.

    Btw, how does one save edits to a diary? (none / 0) (#18)
    by Geekesque on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 09:21:11 AM EST
    I edited my diary over at Kos to include quotes from Dodd and Edwards.  I updated the diary here but the changes didn't take.

    You have to make sure (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by andgarden on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 09:28:36 AM EST
    that you're in HTML mode. The changes don't stick in Auto Format.

    Or ask andgarden (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 09:44:06 AM EST
    It should work (none / 0) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 09:27:19 AM EST
    exactly the same.

    I am no expert. See Jeralyn an e-mail.


    EXACTLY!!!!! (none / 0) (#9)
    by po on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 08:40:44 AM EST

    I mean, really, which should we prefer, a do nothing Congress or one that consistently does the wrong thing?

    How hard could it be? (none / 0) (#16)
    by Sanity Clause on Fri Sep 21, 2007 at 09:13:15 AM EST
    Where were the Democrats during Media Relations 101? Certainly a filibuster would give them some publicity - what is that saying - "The only good publicist is a dead publicist?" Are they so sure of their inability to handle even the slightest criticism that they won't risk talking to the press, or the e-media, or the bloggers? Haven't they noticed that MoveOn is doing just fine, thank you, but that Congress is sufffering from an 11% approval rating? What are they afraid of?  Who do they think they're posing for?

    Even a No Funding Non-Vote should generate positive spin as long as it's presented as the "new and improved," "now with added chutzpa," Will of The People and an open-ended invitation to the President to present a real plan with real dates and deadlines. Don't they have their own fingers to point? Isn't it their Constitutional mandate to actually exert some oversight authority over spending and wars and stuff? Gee, how can we spin that to sound patriotic?

    As slogans go, "Support the troops; bring them home!" isn't a bad start.

    J. McCain (none / 0) (#22)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sat Sep 22, 2007 at 05:22:11 PM EST
    "Well, my friends, we beat you yesterday, we beat you the day before yesterday, we'll beat you today and we'll beat you tomorrow. We won't choose to lose. We won't choose to lose this time".