Will they be able to tie some oppressive rider to the president's upcoming military budget request, or will their extra-constitutional scheme to usurp executive powers to micromanage the war even alienate the moderate wing of their party?
The Democrats aren't refusing to offer a plan on Iraq just because of their inability to reach an intra-party consensus, but also because they don't have any answers with the long view in mind.
They can continue to obfuscate with their claims that we weren't justified in attacking Iraq and that we're not competently prosecuting the war. But they have no suggestions as to how we could better prosecute it. Their answer is only to leave, as fast as we can.
But even here, after all their tough talk, their legislative proposals don't quite match their rhetoric. They portray their support for benchmarks as responsible policy. But their promise to withdraw our troops even if these arbitrary timetables aren't met -- any negative consequences to our national interest be damned -- prove their utter lack of seriousness on the war.
Indeed, have you ever heard any leading Democrat make an attempt, even a feeble one, to answer how we will deal with the guaranteed devastating consequences of a premature withdrawal from Iraq? It's one thing for them to argue -- erroneously -- that deposing Saddam wasn't worth risking American lives. But will they also finally argue that ceding Iraq to terrorist control will be inconsequential to U.S. interests?
Try as they might to avoid dealing with the inevitability of these consequences, reality is beginning to hit them squarely in the face. No matter how unpopular the war, Democrats can only survive so long without bellying up to the bar of policy responsibility.
Though they skated through the last election on negative energy alone, without offering any plan, capturing the presidency by stealth should be a much tougher assignment.
If the impending legislative battles don't flush out the bankruptcy of the Democrats' policy on the war, perhaps the primary contest will. They can run (and cut and run) only so long, but in the end they can't hide from their morally indefensible (absence of a) position on the war.