Reid: No More Rubber Stamps
Following Nancy Pelosi's lead from last week, Harry Reid said today that the Senate will not pass a $50 billion supplemental appropriation for Iraq and Afghanistan unless it has language requiring Bush to begin bringing the troops home in 2008, with a mission change by the end of Bush's term. We've heard such talk before, and seen the cave-ins from the Blue Dog Democrats in the House and the red-state Democrats in the Senate, so what would be different this time?
Well, for one thing, this battle would take place at the start of the 2008 campaign season, and would focus voters on rubber stamp Republican incumbents less than a year before the election.
Second, Democrats would be smart to turn the tables on the GOP this time, by agreeing that things seem to be better in Iraq militarily. Make the argument that now is the time to bring the Guard home and redeploy troops back into Afghanistan to deal with the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and to control the damage from Pakistan to the south. And tell voters that spending billions in Iraq to cushion the Iraqi government from doing anything while disregarding needs here at home on our veterans, homeland security, infrastructure, and health care is a nonstarter.
Lastly, when Mitch McConnell and Bush smear Reid for abandoning the troops, Reid should tell them that Democrats have funded them, and it is up to McConnell and Bush to find 60 votes for a rubber stamp in the Senate less than a year before the election.