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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Friday, November 16, 2007

Is this a headline the Dems want or don't want?

Top AP story right now: Democrats unable to bring troops home

Is this a headline the Dems want in that it shows they want to end the war but can't without more Dem power, or does it just reinforce the sense of ineffectiveness?


  • Tough to say. They are damned if they do, damned if they don't.

    They picked the issue of Iraq to take power, and rightly so. But their "plan" is little more sophisticated than Bush's "plan".

    This is a battle with no winners, much like the war itself.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 5:55 PM  

  • True.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 5:58 PM  

  • "Republicans obstruct Democratic plan to bring troops home."

    By Blogger -epm, at 7:07 PM  

  • The Republican bill to give Bush $70 billion without conditions also failed, too. One thing Bush's vetoes have done is to really focus intense attention on the money spent on the Iraq effort. This could turn on the Republicans very easily if they are forced to capitulate. Republicans, especially, like winners. If Bush stops getting what he wants, he will no longer be able to appear powerful.

    The Democrats have a real chance this time, because they have framed the issue as an ultimatum. If you want the war funding, give us the money you vetoed. If we have money to spend on Iraq, then we have money to spend here at home. This isn't about Iraq. It's clear that public opinion is stable and strongly aligned against Bush's 'plan'; the Democrats have won that issue. Either way, Bush is going to keep the troops in Iraq for the remainder of his term, and suffer the political fallout from that. The Democrats can't stop him, but they make him look powerless.

    The GOP can't do anything with their numbers except block things. It's time for them to look powerless, and it will hurt them more than it will the Democrats.
    If the Democrats can actually hang tough, that is. Bush's vetoes are not popular and are difficult to defend. I can see the GOP caving on domestic spending to get the war funding. The war is all they've got, after all.

    Politically, the worst case is that the GOP gets more rope to hang itself with. If the Democrats can make them pay a high price for that rope, all the better.

    By Blogger Todd Dugdale, at 8:05 PM  

  • EPM, "Republicans back Bush against public desire to bring troops home."


    Todd, That's exactly the political game right now.

    On the other hand, the administration claim that the surge has worked has permeated, and if the Dems succeed in passing something, and the Iraq perception inevitably turns back to failure, it could be pinned squarely on the Dems.

    Just a thought.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 9:31 PM  

  • Mike,

    I'm starting to think that is the plan. With the surge showing some results, and drawdowns now starting, the Dem's timing is atrocious.

    Just to add something to Todd's thought, just remember that for the GOP it is not just giving in on domestic spending that is at issue. With Pay-go reinstated, giving in on domestic spending means rolling back some of the tax cuts to pay for it.

    This would be a huge failure for the GOP, but again, one that will be pinned on the Dems if they are not careful.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 5:26 AM  

  • Yes, there are risks for the Democrats. Frankly, I wonder if they have the will to see it through to the end. Still, it is an immense potential opportunity.

    Mike, the surge is showing some success, but the polls aren't moving on Iraq. I don't believe they are likely to, either.

    IMHO, the public largely believed that the surge would allow us to finally get out of Iraq, not see a decrease in troop deaths. All that Bush is talking about is *maybe* ending the surge -- the troop levels that Americans thought were already too high *before* the surge will remain. Gallup in early Nov. said that 64% of the public believes that the surge has either made no difference or made things worse. Whatever the situation really is, the Administration isn't gaining any traction from it.

    The more Bush claims success, the more people think "Great, let's get the hell out, then". The Democrats' condition for the funding is getting the hell out, or starting to anyway.

    The Republicans are talking about "far-left" conspiracies already. Usually this means they are out of ammunition. They are living in 1994, and this stuff doesn't play in 2007. It's only benefitted them so far because the Democrats are scared.

    That's how I see it, anyway. Your mileage may vary.

    By Blogger Todd Dugdale, at 2:46 PM  

  • Your point about the polls not moving is very on point. I've just been reading all these "surge is a success" articles trying to get a sense of the details, and figured that that message must be penetrating somewhat.

    It's one of the weirdest elements of this war, how little the public cares or watches. Public opinion has been lagging the situation forever. I don't think most people have any real idea what's going on, they just keep getting these glancing images of violence.

    But for the same reason it took so long to turn against the war, I would guess it will probably not turn back, and the Repubs and Bush can't really start pressing the idea of victory because of so many calls of "wolf" in the past.

    Also, I think the continuing "blame the Iraqis" effort by the Repubs undermines any claims of success.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 4:44 PM  

  • "Also, I think the continuing "blame the Iraqis" effort by the Repubs undermines any claims of success."

    I agree. It's another lose-lose for Bush. If the Iraqi government is so incompetent and impotent, then why did Bush lay out the surge as the way for them to get their act together? Why did Bush believe that those idiots would have control of all of the provinces by November? Why did Bush brag about the brilliant achievement of getting a bunch of incompetents elected?

    Could it be that Bush has exercised poor judgment?

    And if Bush blames Al-Qaeda, then he'll be going back on his claims that Al-Qaeda is beaten due to the surge.

    They know this. That's why their go-to scapegoat is increasingly becoming the Democrats. Somehow Nancy Pelosi threw a monkey wrench into Bush's brilliant plans. Treachery. Treason. Conspiracy. Betrayal. These are the signs of a dead-end strategy. And how does implying that the majority of Americans are dirty traitors help you in a general election?

    I guess there's always tax cuts.

    By Blogger Todd Dugdale, at 6:06 PM  

  • Right, it also has the implicit failure as they're certainly not "blaming" the Iraqis for success.

    I love how the Dems are portrayed as both completely powerless and as the greatest threat to our president's brilliant policies.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 9:26 PM  

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