Democrats continued to play games on the Iraq war last week, as the Senate spent most of Wednesday debating a measure that would have constrained the use of many troops in the conflict.
But Majority Leader Harry Reid couldn’t muster the votes to pass a proposal to mandate that troops get more rest between deployments — a back-door way to thin our military forces in Iraq.
Then, on Friday, Senate Democrats lost again when a proposal to bring the troops home in nine months garnered only 47 votes.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Democratic leaders are frustrated that they can’t make any headway on their efforts to end the war.
But is that really true?
Since seizing control of Congress last year, Democrats have had it both ways. They constantly attack the president and his Iraq policies to appease their rabid anti-war base, but they deliver virtually nothing of substance to ensure we reverse course, thus inoculating themselves from “cut and run” criticism that could damage them politically with moderate voters.
“It’s just all politics all the time,” Sen. Gordon Smith, an Oregon Republican who voted with Democrats on Wednesday told the Times. “This is all about teeing up the 2008 elections, and it has very little to do with governing. And that’s a huge disappointment.”
Indeed, despite the fact that Democrats believe they have a political winner in the Iraq issue, they don’t seem very eager to actually follow through on their rhetoric. After all, if they truly want to end the occupation and bring our troops home, Democrats could use their majorities in either the House of Senate to simply cut off funding for the administration’s misadventure.
But they won’t. Because too many moderate Democrats would head for the hills and too many moderate voters would make them pay the price.
Instead, preening to the MoveOn.org crowd while delivering zilch — the path of least resistance — is their preferred course of action as they wait the months until the 2008 election.
Now that’s real leadership.