Congressional Democrats are doing an end zone victory dance over their passage of Iraq funding legislation which includes specific dates for withdrawing the troops.
In the House, the Conference Report for HR 1591 passed by 218-208. In the Senate it passed 51-46. Two Republicans - Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Gordon Smith of Oregon were the only Republicans to vote with the Democrats.
For a brief (and probably incorrect) discussion of "Conference Reports" go to the Secret Decoder Ring page.
The problem for the Democrats (who have slightly re-written history to have us all believe that the 2006 elections were all and only about Iraq) is this: The hard Left of the country wants the US out of Iraq now, not in October of 2008 and not in August of 2510. Now.
When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) says the war in Iraq is already lost, the MoveOn.Org wing of the Democratic party wants to know why the Democrats are voting to spend any additional money on Iraq - with or without strings.
The New Republic - a well-respected, if leftist, journal - discussed this conundrum in a piece about the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin (D-Mich), a Liberal Democrat. He went to Ann Arbor, the home of the University of Michigan also not a hotbed of centrism.
Levin goes to Ann Arbor and gets … booed. Not only are the demonstrators against the war, but they are ugly, anti-Semitic demonstrators holding up signs which say, "AIPAC Owns Levin" a reference to the American-Israeli Political Action Committee.
According to Eve Fairbanks' piece in TNR:
"In April, Levin [had] insisted 'we're not going to vote to cut funding, period' and that Democrats would ultimately have to strip the withdrawal timetable - precious to war opponents - from the supplemental budget."
Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson musta been busy because I haven't seen any coverage of them leading counter-demonstrations against anti-Semitism at U. Mich.
END SIDEBAR II
Again, from The New Republic piece, in March, Reid had to send a supplemental bill to the Senate floor which was much less restrictive than the House version "to keep centrist Democrats like Ben Nelson (D-Neb) on board."
The problem for the Democrats is what we've been trying to tell them since this Congress opened for business: It's easy to be in the minority - all you have to do is say "No." When you are in the majority you have to actually cobble together legislation which (a) will pass the House (b) will pass the Senate and (c) will be signed by the President.
Harry Reid's ratcheting up his rhetoric is likely to further inflame the anti-war Left who will not be mollified by anything short of a total cut-off of funds for any purpose other than buying gas to get the Humvees out of the Iraqi desert.
In essence, they want to know why Harry Reid isn't putting his mouth where his money is.
Look for the anti-war types to up the ante against Democrats who are not toeing the out-of-Iraq line. That will force more Democrats - like those running for President - to slide farther over toward the "Declare Defeat and Leave" crowd.
That may satisfy the Coastal Democrats - those who live in New York and Massachusetts on the East Coast and San Francisco and LA on the West - but it will not sit well with those Democrats in places like Southern Ohio and Central Missouri who may not like the way this war has gone; but don't like America being called "a loser" by their elected officials.
In a fifty-fifty country, if the Democrats - again - become seen as the party of defeat, that might will tip the scales in favor of the Republican candidate for President in 2008.
The Iraq strategy being followed by the Congressional Democrats may well be a strategic trap of their own making.
On a the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the House and Senate web pages on the vote for the Iraq funding bill; the National Review article, and the Sidebar on Conference Reports. Also a Mullfoto and a Catchy Caption of the Day honoring the memory of Star Trek's Mr. Scott.