Blue Dogs concerns stopped the music in the House’s two step towards Iraq policy. Citing concerns in a proposed bill which did offer funding, but limited the President’s authority to act against Iran and set a timetable for withdrawl was shelved after conservative House Democrats voiced their opposition.
The The strategy chosen by the DNC is interesting to follow concerning Iraq. The trend of seeing how far they can go to the left of their party, and then pulling back to a more centrist position is easy to note if any attention at all is being paid to their actions. The question is why?
The need to appeal to the hard left – rabidly anti-Iraq coalition of the party is something that they can’t ignore, and most of the proposals brought forth are done to secure that wing in the party – who are not overly pleased. The other part of the two step is a quick move towards centrist positions, which are not seemingly genuine to keep the Blue Dog Coalition, and probably much of the general public, who may not like what is going down in Iraq, but also don’t want to pull the plug totally in the middle of the mission.
It will be interesting what effect this has on the prosecution of the war effort, and if this attempt to innoculate themselves from criticism from any large segment of the electorate is an effective tactic. By using this two step, the Democratic Party as a whole can possibly appear blameless to all sides regardless of the outcome of the mission. If the mission is successful they will point to their actions and say that they, not the troops in the field, brought about this success. If the mission- the surge falters, they can point to themselves and say, “We told you so, what a waste”.
Pressure must be put on the Democratic leadership to show some level of consistency, and to stop the two step. While this may not be effective if it comes just from the Administration, those few Blue Dogs could play a vital role in formation of centrist policies concerning the war’s prosecution.
The sheer callousness of this dance has to be made known. By putting vital spending bills to other parts of the legislation, the Democratic leadership is playing a dangerous game, as was reported by the LA Times Oped piece , and all know the LA Times is no friend of the current Administration. By Speaker Pelosi’s outrageous handling of this legislation, and tying up key legislation with regard to the war effort, she would rightly have invited a Presidential veto. Congress has an appropriate role to play in the formation of war policy, but they are superceding their Constitutional role when they try to act as the Commander in Chief.
If the Speaker Pelosi Congress feel they want “out of Iraq” they should do so by an up or down vote concerning funding. Enough of this two step.