Let The GOP Live With Their Vote
The real reason that the Democrats are losing some support with the public over Iraq is because the White House and the congressional GOP leadership have successfully established a narrative with the media that the Democratic Party is flailing each week to defund the troops. If you want a good example of this, note that the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll out today shows that 58% of the public supports Murtha's plan to tie troop deployments to troop readiness, yet the Post scrubs this from its website.
Even Blue Dog Coalition Democrats oppose these weekly attempts to find a formulation that can rein in this administration. Joe Lieberman writes in the Wall Street Journal today that Democrats need to step back and give the surge time to work, until the summer, before moving on to the next step and more definitive action. Robert Novak writes today that the jockeying by Democrats and the successful swat-downs by the GOP have lessened support among vulnerable GOP senators for any action at all right now.
Perhaps it is better for Democrats to stop giving the GOP the chance to frame this debate and instead step back and let those initial GOP votes against the nonbinding resolution hang around the necks of those who made them, and remind voters each week that this is Bush and the GOP's war. Democrats should ready themselves for the next stage in this debate this spring, such as the Sestak plan and a limit on funding in the FY 2008 appropriation process. In the interim, the weekly message from Democrats should be that the GOP had a chance to take control of this war, and instead voted to keep it on autopilot. Let Lieberman, the Blue Dogs, and the GOP defend the weekly bad news.
Very few Republicans want to support Biden’s attempts to rescind the 2002 AUMF; they claim hypocritically that doing so does nothing for the troops in the field, when they in fact voted against the nonbinding resolution. What they are really upset about is that the move to rescind the 2002 AUMF looks to them as a Democratic effort to make this purely a GOP war. Fair enough.
Hagel and the rest of them can live with their votes against the nonbinding resolution for the remainder of 2007, and Reid should not give them any further chances to get off the hook for that.