The political layout for 2008 looks to be this: The political shape of the Iraq debate (Republicans want Iraq, Dems don't) is likely to carry the Dems to larger majorities in the House and Senate and likely will win them the presidency.
No shocker there. But ask yourself what 2008 might look like if they actually took some steps to end the war?
Right now, the Dems find themselves with a winning constituency of antiwar Dems and a big majority of antiwar independents, and, although that constituency might favor ending the war, to actually do so would be a political risk.
The cold truth is that within this political mood the Dems are at far more risk of losing the independents than the antiwar Dems. The antiwar Dems will stick with their party and vote for Dem candidates because they have nowhere else to go, but the independents could easily shift their perceptions if the Dems forced a drawdown and things go badly.
I don't believe that the Dems are intentionally tanking Iraq legislation to maintain this situation, but frankly, there's nowhere for the Dems to go but down on the Iraq issue.
Right now they've staked out the middle on the dominating issue of our day, it's not really in their interests to take steps to resolve it.
It's interesting to watch the Dem presidential candidates play this game. It is utterly key that they continue the perception that they would end the war, but, at the same time, avoid any vote losing explanations of how they would actually do it.
The cold reality is that the Dems are far better off with the perception that they will end the war than if they actually ended the war.
If only you voted out a few more Republicans......
(And maybe I should mention the Republican Iraq quagmire. I'll do that later or tomorrow.)
(Spawned by the combination of the WaPo frontpager Most in Poll Want War Funding Cut: Bush's Approval Rating Ties All-Time Low
and its associated polling graphs
, and the AP, Senate approves $150 billion in war funding 92-3