September 21st, 2007

Memo to Harry Reid: Nobody’s Buying It

by Philip Baruth

As recently as a few days back, Harry Reid was tapping his foot to known GOP Iraq-flirts: break with the President, Reid whispered loudly, and we’ll strip out rigid timelines and substitute goals instead.


How adopting goals amounts to breaking with the President, VDB isn’t entirely sure. But that was the play.

Then, just two days ago, Reid’s signals abruptly changed. Sam Stein, from “Reid’s Inner Circle Shifts Stategy on Iraq,” a column in the Huffington Post:

This past Monday, Reid’s tactics changed. Rather than petition for a bipartisan approach, he decided instead to push Iraq legislation that - echoing war-critic demands - called for an immediate withdrawal of a large number of troops and a firm deadline for a nearly-complete redeployment. According to party insiders who spoke to the Huffington Post, there is now almost complete unanimity among Reid’s circle that this is the best way forward.

“If the money is going to the President it is important that Democrats show they are trying to get the troops out of Iraq,” a well-connected foreign policy advisor told the Huffington Post. “They need to have the fight. It’s more than just appeasing anti-war constituents.”

The key line here, of course, is the first sentence of the second paragraph: “If the money is going to the President it is important that Democrats show they are trying to get the troops out of Iraq.”

In other words, if the fight is already lost, it’s important to show that you’re still willing to fight.

The absurdity here is too visible, and too risible, to ignore any more. The time for kabuki is over.

House and Senate Democrats who vote to fund the war at this point assume a proportionate degree of ownership. End of story. These apologists and military fan-dancers deserve to be challenged, each and every one of them, by primary contenders funded with anti-war dollars.

If you think it was a coincidence that was censured this morning by the Senate, with a high number of Democratic votes, you’re bonkers: MoveOn just two weeks ago reluctantly suggested that challenging Democratic incumbents was moving onto its action-agenda. And that clearly made squishy Democrats nervous, nervous enough to launch an oddly self-destructive pre-emptive strike against their own ally.

But MoveOn has it precisely right. No more song and dance.

No more fight-the-good-fight anti-war bills, followed not just by what the President requests, but significantly more in the way of war funding, lest the GOP paint Democrats as stingy with the troops.

No more of any of this shit.

In the ’60s, the watchword was, “Never trust anyone over 30.” It’s less age-specific now.

It’s about behavior this September: “Never trust anyone who appropriates funding for the war in Iraq without binding withdrawal language after September 2007.”

And in addition to mistrusting them, work against them until their careers in Congress are history.

Especially Democratic leaders who decry the same funding bills they move to the floor for quick action.

Because such people look good on the TV. But they lie.

Late Update, Friday, 9:17 am:

Rarely does a local headline so badly misrepresent the actuality of events in Washington. Anne Flaherty’s AP feed, as slugged by the Rutland Herald: “Democrats Charge Ahead, Say Republicans Now Own War.”

If only.