Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, November 13, 2006

How Unified Are The Dems On Iraq?

To listen to the weekend news programs, the Dems are all of one voice on the next steps in Iraq:

Carl Levin, incoming chair, Senate Armed Services Committee:
"We have to tell the Iraqis that the open-ended commitment is over and that we're going to begin to have a phased withdrawal in four to six months."
Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader:
“We need to redeploy. And I think it should start within the next few months.”
Add the Pelosi nod to Murtha, and the cards appear to be stacked for a victory of the white flag sort. But not so fast. Read this, from John Hellemann in New York Magazine:
As both a political and practical matter, from the moment the Democrats take control of the House and Senate in January, they will be under pressure to come up with a unified approach to bringing America's calamitous adventure with Iraq to a non-apocalyptic end. How and whether the Democrats rise to that challenge will have large implications for the party's putative resurgence-and the early signs are that the process may not be very pretty.

To understand why, you need only spend a little time reflecting on Joe Biden and Jack Murtha. No Democratic senator has been more visible (and voluble) on Iraq than Biden. And no Democratic congressman has a higher national profile on the issue than Murtha. But when I talked to Biden the other day, he instantly put a mile's distance between them.

"We're kidding ourselves if we think there isn't a real distinction between Jack Murtha and Joe Biden," he said. "Jack and a number of other Democrats, more in the House than the Senate, have reached the conclusion that Iraq is lost; that there is no way to turn lemons into even a bitter lemonade. And then there are those of us who still think that if real corrective action is taken quickly, it's possible to turn those lemons into a palatable lemonade-not good-tasting but palatable."
Neo-con that I am, I'm still after lemonade. Realist that I am, I prefer Biden's view of the war to Murtha's and Levin's.

Maybe the bleakness I felt this morning on reading about Pelosi endorsing Murtha is overly gloomy. Perhaps we're in for fights and fillibusters that will do the Dems more harm than good, and our war on terror more good than harm.

These are confusing times, and anyone who says they see a clear path ahead shouldn't be trusted to carry the lantern. This confusion doesn't come from within; it comes from our enemy Islamofascism, which is so different from any enemy we've previously faced. Islamofascism's religious terrorism cuts to the bone, and reveals the soul within: The Dems and their aversion to war and ache for peace, and the GOP, with its aversion to war and ache for security.

This soul-baring will play out over the next two years, and will dominate the debate over who our next president will be, and whether GOP dominance has indeed given way to a new Dem era.

hat-tip: Real Clear Politics
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