Friday, May 25, 2007

Clearly it was capitulation and the Democrats were wrong

By Creature

My boss, and friend, Michael, has a thoughtful post just below this one entitled: Capitulation or compromise? Were the Democrats right to support an Iraq funding bill without a timetable for withdrawal? In the post Michael somewhat reluctantly comes down on the positive side of compromise. While I don't want to risk my title of "Assistant Editor" here at The Reaction, I do take issue with Michael and his reasons for seeing a silver lining with the passage of the war funding bill.

Silver lining reason number one: Democratic momentum

[T]he momentum on Iraq is with the Democrats. It is becoming more and more apparent that the surge isn't working. Republicans are fearfully looking ahead to '08 and increasingly abandoning the war (and Bush).

While it is apparent that the surge is not working, I believe Michael, and many Democrats in Congress, are wrong in believing, relying even, on the hope that the Republicans will abandon the war. Come September, or any other Friedman Unit in the future, General Patreous will report some progress, plead for more time, hatch a new plan and the Republicans will bow to his wishes. We simply cannot count on the GOP coming around.

Silver lining reason number two: The fight will go on

I really do think the Democrats will continue to hit Bush hard on Iraq in the months ahead.

True, they will still pound away, but how much political capital have they lost due to yesterday's capitulation to the president. Before the vote they had two solid political legs to stand on, today, not so much. Today, they look like the weak caricature Karl Rove has so successfully painted them as.

Silver lining reason number three: Public opinion

[T]he American people have turned against the war in huge numbers. A new CBS/NYT poll indicates that 76% of Americans think the war is going badly (at least), 47% think the war is going very badly, and only 20% think the surge is working. Meanwhile, 52% of Republicans think the war is going at least somewhat badly; this is up 16 points from April.

Sorry, this is all the more reason not to capitulate to the president.

Michael does acknowledge that "there is risk in compromise. But I don't think this was capitulation. If anything, it was political expediency." And there in lies the problem.

This compromise was done for political considerations and this funding bill showdown was about life and death. Punting the funding issue down the road only serves to kill more troops, waste more dollars, and delay the inevitable. They knew that going toe-to-toe with the president was going to be tough, but in not doing so they underestimate the desire of the American people to end this war.

I come down on the side of fighting this petulant president to the end, politics be damned, name calling be damned. The American people would respect the Democrats more if they had stood firm on principle today, as opposed to posturing for political gain tomorrow.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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