Wednesday :: May 23, 2007

Plan Now For The Fall Budget Battle Over Iraq

by Steve

A day after the funding deal was reached, it is now time to figure out what to do next. There is a short term and mid-term course of action. For the short term, as others have noted, Democrats in each house should vote against the supplemental to demonstrate that they are against the GOP’s auto-pilot rubber stamping of this war. Let Mitch McConnell and John Boehner worry about assembling the majorities for their blank checks.

Some would say that this is wrong because the bill contains other spending the Democrats like, but the Democrats were wrong to muddy the issues in the first place. Bush and the GOP should have been forced to veto or use parliamentary tricks to kill each of these popular domestic issues one at a time, so that a record could have been built of McConnell and Boehner killing off the SCHIP expansion, the minimum wage increase, the 9/11 Commission recommendations, the Katrina relief. I would also say that the GOP and White House need to be forced to kill or veto the ethics reform package, the Medicare Part D fixes, the student loan reforms as well, but it seems the Democrats are quite willing to screw those over themselves.

As for the midterm strategy, and the long term strategy, the messaging and framing needs to start now. Democrats need to make it clear today that this war will not be dumped on Bush’s successor. Democrats need to make it clear to the GOP leadership and the White House that the 2008 defense authorization bill will have a redeployment timeline mandating a significant drawdown of American forces inside Iraq coupled with regional participation in Iraq’s security all during 2008. Democrats should make it clear now that there will be no permanent bases inside Iraq, and that America expects Iraq and its neighbors to collaboratively ensure regional security as we draw down in 2008. Democrats should make it clear that we need to save and replenish our military and call back the Guard; deploy our forces away from policing the streets of Iraq and getting killed in a sectarian war there; and fight a smarter, direct, real war against terrorists in the Anbar province, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Africa.

And Democrats should also cut to the chase now and say it plainly: if the GOP leadership wants to filibuster the 2008 defense authorization bill because of a timeline, or if the White House vetoes that authorization bill because of a timeline, Bush and the GOP should be ready to shut down the government over auto-pilot funding of the Iraq war. Democrats should signal now that they will gladly have that debate with the American people while reminding voters that John McCain and other Republicans insisted on withdrawal timelines and defunding mandates with Bill Clinton. Tell the vulnerable GOP incumbents now, months in advance that Democrats will force Bush and the GOP just before the 2008 election to justify why the federal government should be closed for an unending, unaccountable war in Iraq.

Steve :: 11:37 AM :: Comments (13) :: Digg It!