(Not a slow news day at all, Booman.)
Are the Congressional Democrats as we speak caving on Iraq (see the AP’s Dems set war bill without Iraq timeline)? I’m not so sure, and I sure don’t think we should prematurely shrug our shoulders. And, actually, apparently the leadership-constructed compromise hasn’t even been seen yet by the rank-and-file in the more antiwar House.
But McJoan at dkos (Blank Check on its Way) certainly seems to have given up hope:
All of the details haven’t been released yet, pending meetings in the Dem caucus in the House to discuss the bill, so changes could still be made. Will those changes include real timelines? Seems pretty unlikely, since the leadership says they want a bill that won’t be vetoed.
Hey McJoan, that’s poor reasoning and a seriously whimpy attitude. The leadership not wanting a bill that will be vetoed needs to be balanced with the Democratic electorate not wanting a bill that keeps the quagmire going indefinitely. Y’ know, maybe we should let our Congresspeople know we’ll be really p.o.-ed if they persist — after what we told them in November 2006 — in making Iraq a bipartisan nightmare.
McJoan tries to end on an optimistic note, but fails miserably:
So what can Congress do? Stick to the Feingold-Reid, Iraq Study Group framework. No more funding after March 31, 2008. Use the intransigence of Bush and the GOP against them. If Bush won’t end this war, end it for him.
Well, since earlier she said the Republicans are very unlikely to break with Bush on Iraq, how does she think Feingold-Reid ever becomes law over the top of a Presidential veto? That strategy, translated: ‘I give up, we’ll never get out till Bush is out of office.’
So things are clear, the only way out of Iraq in 2007 or 2008 is to do what Congress can do this week: defund the war by giving Bush a bill he ‘has to’ veto. Or, create such a short-leash and so many excruciating votes that at least we have a chance to defund every two or three months. Pro-war people need a majority to pass a bill, and eventually — if the Democrats stay united and rightly blame Bush for de-funding the troops — there will not be no such majority. I think eventually may come as soon as September.
A little more on the smoke-filled rooms:
WASHINGTON – In grudging concessions to President Bush, Democrats intend to draft an Iraq war-funding bill without a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops …
Democratic officials stressed the legislation was subject to change. They spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss provisions before a planned presentation to members of the party’s rank and file later in the day.
Democrats in Congress have insisted for months they would not give Bush a blank check for his war policies, and officials said the legislation is expected to include political and military goals for the Iraqi government to meet toward establishment of a more democratic society.
Failure to make progress toward the goals could cost the Iraqis some of the reconstruction aid the United States has promised, although it was not clear whether Democrats intended to give Bush power to order the aid to be spent regardless of progress.
… Democratic leaders have said they hope to clear a war spending bill through both houses of Congress and send it to Bush’s desk by week’s end. They added the intention was to avoid a veto.
And more, from this White House spokesperson:
Republicans offered to accept a proposal by Sen. John W. Warner, R-Va., requiring Bush to produce reports in July and September on the Iraqi government’s progress toward certain benchmarks. Unless he certified that they were moving forward, reconstruction aid would be withheld. …
Sean Kevelighan, a spokesman for the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, said today that Congress should proceed with the Warner approach.
Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman, said Bush spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki this morning, and the two discussed benchmarks such as progress on an oil revenue-sharing law and a “constitutional review process.”
Mark Stoller at Mydd seems to have a better attitude on this evolving battle with ‘our’ Democrats than does McJoan. It’s both more combative and more cautious:
I think all of us understand pragmatism in politics, which is why this is so irritating. It’s not like this was a hard vote to take. Iraq is extremely unpopular. People hate this war, and they hate Bush. Many conservatives hate Bush. …
And I’m going to wait until someone confirms the AP story before buying the Dem capitulation line. We’ve been spoonfed false assertions like that from anonymous sources far too many times to refuse prudence.