Thursday, 19 July 2007

Republicans are correct about one thing

The Democratic overnight session forcing Republicans to engage in a real filibuster was more theater than substance. Nonetheless it was theater which afforded the Democrats the opportunity to show the 60% of Americans who believe that funding of the war SHOULD be tied to deadlines for withdrawal, that they- Congressional Democrats - finally get it.

A lot of the commentary from pundits about the war and American opinion misses the point, but when you hear that the Congress is "tone-deaf" or that they are "behind the American public" on this issue, that's essentially correct. Back in late May, the Congressional Democrats in both houses capitulated, and gave Bush pretty much the funding bill he wanted, instead of relentlessly insisting on including a deadline, and forcing Bush to continually veto funding in order to avoid any deadline. The erroneous thinking was that the public would ultimately blame Congress in such a standoff which risked resulting in the troops not being funded at all. My argument at the time was that among the majority who oppose the war, Bush would take the blame in such a standoff. The contrary view seemed to be based in part on public reaction following the government shutdown of 1995 in which Clinton would not sign a bill with Republican conditions he did not want, and the government temporarily shutdown. The public blame at the time went to Congress. I say such reactions depend on the particulars, and the recent CBS/NYT poll suggests a majority of Americans would have approved of Congress insisting on deadlines in May, in spite of April polling which suggested the opposite. Clearly the Democrats' lack of spine in standing up to Bush is the major factor in bringing Congressional approval levels so low.

Now let me be perfectly clear. Majority opinion does not make that opinion correct. In February 2003 I was part of a vocal minority within America opposing our invasion of Iraq. We were correct.

If some action is right, then time will vindicate standing firm in spite of public opinion. Bush still hopes for such historic vindication in spite of all evidence and common sense which suggest otherwise. In May the Democrats did not need to fund this madness, and should have stood firm because it was right, not because the public would approve. Instead they guessed about public opinion, and allowed Bush to deepen the quagmire without conditions. Now that they are down to the low 20s in public approval, maybe they're finally getting it.

Bringing cots into the Senate chamber was most definitely political theater. It was welcome theater, and long overdue.

1 comment:

All Facts Support My Positions said...

If the Conservatives didn't control the Main Stream Media I am sure the Dems would have more spine. No matter what they say, the MSM spins it to their disadvantage, just like Gupta and Michael Moore.

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Put a corkscrew up Stefan's ass!