December 21, 2007

Congressional Dems Want Surrender On Surrender

Congressional Democrats have finally tired of fighting for surrender and will pressure Nancy Pelosi to end the battles over Iraq war funding. The Politico reports that Pelosi and Harry Reid haven't gotten the message yet, even with the fatigue clearly showing in their latest efforts to block war funding without strings attached:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, despite their pledges to continue pushing to end the war in Iraq, face growing pressure from their rank-and-file Democrats to focus more attention on domestic, “pocketbook” issues in the upcoming election year.

Junior Democrats describe an “Iraq fatigue” setting in among some members after dozens of successful withdrawal votes failed to drive a wedge between Republicans and President Bush on the war strategy.

The restless Democrats acknowledge the war issue remains critically important for the country, but they would like to see their leaders tone down the rhetoric and avoid showdowns with Bush over the war, wherever possible. ...

"My hope would be we start looking at real solutions instead of the dichotomy of cut funding versus stay forever," said Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), who had a change of heart this fall after visiting Iraq and realizing the military surge was working.

"The entire policy has been dictated by the 'Out of Iraq Caucus' ... What are we going to do, have another 40 withdrawal votes?"

Harry Reid promised instead to have another string of continuous votes on the issue, promising to put the "pedal to the metal". He may want to check the gas tank first. The last Senate vote on this subject came this week, and only half of his caucus opposed the new Iraq war funding. In the House, 78 Democrats supported the funding measure.

Reid and Pelosi need the anti-war activists to stay engaged for the 2008 elections, but rank-and-file Democrats have tired of this strategy. Bush beat their leadership all year long, when they felt they had the winning hand. The White House outmaneuvered them in the spring when public support for an immediate withdrawal reached its zenith. Now that the President's new strategy has shown widely-recognized success, most of the Democrats understand that they lost -- and they want to move on to other issues.

Not even Pelosi's lieutenants followed her; Steny Hoyer, Rahm Emanuel, and James Clyburn all voted in support of the funding. The two leaders are growing out of touch with their caucuses as they try to keep pandering to the activist base. If they turn 2008 into a rerun of 2007, the Democrats may look for a fresh strategy, and smarter leadership to run it. They cannot afford to have another year of looking like the gang who gets outsmarted by George W. Bush.


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