The 2006 Congressional mid-term election was about one issue, Iraq.
Specifically, the Democrats took majority status in both Chambers of Congress by promising to "change the direction in Iraq", "hold the President accountable for his mistakes in Iraq", and "bring our troops home from Iraq".
Making campaign promises is easy. Actually following through on your promises, that's the hard part.
It seems to us that after the Democrats took control of Congress they forgot how to "deal" politically with President Bush, which is strange because Pelosi and Reid have been watching Bush for six years.
Rule #1 (and the only one you need remember), while there is only 1 Commander-in-Chief (not 536), the Congress does have the power to "check" that Commander-in-Chief with its "Power of the Purse".
And, cutting off W's money is the only way your going to "check" him. There are six years of examples behind that statement.
This "forgotten truth" will have to be re-learned quickly if the Democrats actually intend to keep their Iraq campaign promise to the American people.
Then again, the Democrats might not intend to keep their 2006 Iraq campaign promise.
For example, Pelosi and Reid's recent reaction to the President's proposed troop surge was a stunning example of "Gee, we really haven't been paying that much attention to the way The Cowboy Governor has operated over the last six years."
Or they're playing victim to a politically selective memory.
Harry Reid told Politico Online that his plan to stop the troop surge was:
"Right now, the most important thing is to tell the president that what he has done with the escalation is wrong. And that's what we are doing, bi-partisanly."You go Harry.
George, Harry thinks you're being a bad boy and he wants you to stop!
The Senate's Majority Leader is going to give the President a stiff talking to. That should work. It sure has in the past.
Nancy Pelosi's "talking point" quip describing her conversation with the President on the surge was just as disingenuous and nauseating. As reported yesterday on Daily Kos:
In an interview, Pelosi also said she was puzzled by what she considered the president's minimalist explanation for his confidence in the new surge of 21,500 U.S. troops that he has presented as the crux of a new "way forward" for U.S. forces in Iraq.The Grandmother Speaker was "puzzled" because The Cowboy Governor seemed absorbed in his own alternative universe? Where has she been again?
"He's tried this two times — it's failed twice," the California Democrat said. "I asked him at the White House, 'Mr. President, why do you think this time it's going to work?' And he said, 'Because I told them it had to.' "
Asked if the president had elaborated, she added that he simply said, " 'I told them that they had to.' That was the end of it. That's the way it is."
Remember, Pelosi is Speaker because she has a large, beautiful family and smells nice.
The sick truth about the Democratic Party Leadership is that they do not intend to do anything about the War in Iraq between now and the '08 election. They never have.
Sure, they'll have hearings, pass non-binding resolutions, write really, really strong Op-eds in the Washington Post and watch gleefully as public opinion about the war continues to crater.
So what? That only helps the 7,000 Majority staffers who work on Capitol Hill.
Meanwhile, Bush will simply yawn and put more troops into Iraq. Bush knows that the only way to stop the Lord's work is to cut off the Lord's funding.
Of course, Congress has that power. But there is real doubt that they will exercise it.
Take a good, hard look at the Democratic Party. Most of them voted for this war when it started. And most of them haven't done anything since except whine, moan, hand-wring and Monday Morning Quarterback since.
Even when the won the majority in 2006.
Even when the vast majority of this country doesn't support an escalation of the war and wants the troops home "soon".
Pretty pussy and NOT what the Party promised the voter in '06.
But there may be hope for the Democrats on the horizon.
Senator Russ Feingold, a fierce anti-war critic, announced recently that he was exploring ways to cut off funding for the War and force Congress to vote on the issue.
Reid and Pelosi are not happy (neither is Clinton but I bet Edwards is just fine). Reid and Pelosi are screaming that Feingold's actions will cost them the election in '08.
They should shut-up.
For the same reason that I don't believe McCain's clear support of the troop surge will cost him the '08 election, I don't think clear support for cutting off funding will cost a Democrat (or Republican) the '08 election.
Voters like clarity and strength of conviction. They might not agree with what you are saying, but they like to feel like they know where you stand and that they can trust you. It's the "character thing".
McCain and Feingold are two of the few people in this whole debate who voters know exactly how they stand. That means something. Especially in a situation where there are no good answers or known outcomes.
Second, cutting off funding for the War doesn't mean the troops don't get the bullets and body armor they need, it simply means that the money runs out and the troops get on a plane and come home.
Cutting off funding for the War doesn't make you anti-troop. That's a red herring (being tossed around by both sides).
The bottom line is that Senator Feingold is sacking up and starting to do exactly what it is the Democratic Party promised the voters they would do in '06 but has failed to do thus far - hold the President accountable and change the direction in Iraq.
On the strength of his convictions and his willingness to do what he said he would do regardless of the political costs, he deserves our respect, even if we disagree with him.