Thursday :: May 24, 2007

A Failed Democratic Strategy Got Us Here

by Steve

Let me summarize my complaints against the funding bill and how this turned out. As I have said previously, my complaint starts with the position that the Democrats should never have gotten themselves backed up against the Memorial Day phony deadline in the first place. Reid and Pelosi made several attempts early in the session to move a bill that would express congressional sentiment for a change in course, and both times the GOP caucuses in each house opted for continuing the autopilot war. At that point, in early February, Reid and Pelosi should have told McConnell and Boehner to go find the votes for their autopilot war and when they had them, those bills would be scheduled for a vote with as many Blue Dog Democrats as the GOP could muster. The war would still be the GOP’s war, and the Democrats would have moved on with the rest of their agenda while holding the GOP accountable for supporting the autopilot war and a president with a 30% approval rating.

Instead, Reid and Pelosi engaged in weeks of back and forth to arrange a deal with GOP caucuses that had no intention of dealing, and a White House that never intended to deal either, on the false premise that they could somehow negotiate a veto-proof resolution with an opposition that never intended to do so. Why this was still a mystery to Reid and Pelosi is beyond me, but the result was that as we moved into early May, the Memorial Day recess came into view as the White House’s biggest asset, and they used it to great effect, eventually getting a commitment from Reid and Durbin that a funding deal would be done and on Bush’s desk by the holiday. Any negotiator knows that when you cave in on a deadline, the other side has the leverage. And yet Reid allowed himself to get pushed up against a deadline anyway.

Any Democrat who votes for this funding bill will be taking co-ownership of this war. There is no good, mealy-mouthed way for Biden or the rest of them to wiggle it any differently, and Democrats cannot escape such a charge from their base when the chairmen of the Senate Armed Services Committee (Levin) and Foreign Relations Committee (Biden) sign on to a funding bill that should never have come to a vote in May, when it could have been pushed back onto the GOP’s lap months ago.

Steve :: 9:47 AM :: Comments (30) :: Digg It!