Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Michael Barone on The Kabuki Dance of War Funding

Stepping back from - or at least sidestepping - Harry Reid's incredibly damaging and outrageous rhetoric, Michael Barone looks at the problems Democrats now face in responding to President Bush's veto of the supplemental appropriations bill to fund - and end - our involvement in Iraq:

. . . The Democrats will face the same problem when George W. Bush vetoes their bill. They would like to end the war, but they dare not end funding to the troops. They can hope that the sympathetic mainstream media will put the blame on Bush. But they can't help remembering that the last time an opposition Congress refused to meet a president's demand to fund the government it was the speaker -- Newt Gingrich - not President Bill Clinton who plummeted in the polls.

Conceding this point earlier this month was Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, as well as one of the most visible Democratic presidential candidates, Barack Obama. Levin has called for a bill setting political goals for the Iraqi government.

Whether Bush and congressional Republicans would accept that is unclear. It could be argued that it would enable Bush to play the good cop with the Iraqis, with the Democratic Congress as the bad cop. Or it could be portrayed as micromanaging by 535 commanders in chief.

We witness here a division in the Democratic Party -- its politicians and its voters -- that we have seen ever since military action started to be considered in 2002. Then, most House Democrats voted against the Iraq war resolution, most Senate Democrats for it. The lineup today is not necessarily the same: Levin, who voted against the war resolution, insists the troops must be funded; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who voted for the war resolution and said last November that of course the troops will be funded, now says he's for Sen. Russ Feingold's March 2008 deadline.

What's curious is that congressional Democrats don't seem much interested in what's actually happening in Iraq. The commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, returns to Washington this week, but last week Pelosi's office said "scheduling conflicts" prevented him from briefing House members. Two days later, the members-only meeting was scheduled, but the episode brings to mind the fact that Pelosi and other top House Democrats skipped a Pentagon videoconference with Petraeus on March 8.
Read the article here. If the Republicans, starting with President Bush, respond with force and vigor to the fullcourt press and outragous assertions of Give 'Em Surrender Harry and has band of far left alcolytes. The Democrats rush to end the war before the surge is given any chance, and their snubbing of General Petraeus are outragous. Republicans should be screaming daily that this is a partisan political grab for power with Give 'Em Surrender Harry willing to sacrifice our national security in order to achieve it. But I would not hold my breath if I were you. Bush and the current crop of Republican leadership are near incompetent in their ability to respond and defend themselves. I fear for our nation.

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