Thursday, June 23, 2005

Us and what army?

I'm not entirely happy with this advice from Matt:

I think those of us who'd like to see the troops brought home soonish are going to need to choose between two things: a desire for a withdrawal schedule, and a desire to see George W. Bush admit that he was wrong about everything and he's a really bad president. The shortest route between where we are today and withdrawal is a positive, upbeat, adequately nationalistic argument that we've accomplished just about everything we can hope to accomplish and that it's time to move on to other things... If that strategy works, it means letting the president take a victory lap that liberals won't feel he deserves. That'll be a bitter pill to swallow, but the alternative is to absolutely ensure that the war continues through 2008.

First, it's not about seeing Bush admit anything -- it's about wrecking Republican credibility on foreign policy for a generation. But second and more importantly, it's hard to see what power Democrats have here. Unless something truly special happens, we won't have a Senate majority before 2008. And this is an issue where the executive branch still has more power -- what can legislators do here besides vote against funding (or worse, filibuster it) and get whacked for not supporting the troops? If Bush wants to spend the next four years as a lame duck chasing a white whale, Democrats won't be able to stop him. Now, there might be political benefits to be achieved by staking out one position rather than another, but it's hard for me to see how the Democrats can causally contribute to an early pullout.

(There is also the small matter that things in Iraq are not going well, and we'd have to push a weird smily message through suicide car bombings and all manner of political instability.)

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