While the first part of the headline of this post is not at all a conclusion, the sum total may be the de facto reality for many in Congress at this time, particularly the Democratic Caucas. By hook and crook and good ole’ political wrangling, as you all know Congress passed legislation linking war funding to a timetable. This is unprecedented in the history of our Republic that Congress has taken such a step in limiting beyond the War Power’s Authority the executive role enjoyed Constitutionally by the Commander in Chief, the President. Obviously, buyoyed by their election success in the November 06′ round, Congressional Democrats are flexing their muscle, even knowing that this bill will be certainly vetoed.
The real test will be what will they do when the bill is sent back to Congress. Whether or not as a caucas they will have the courage of their convictions to “defund” or not “Support the troops”. Most Congressional analysts and most readers here doubt that will happen, as in reality this is as much a game of political “chicken” – and I could think of a few much racier analogies for this action – as it is a continuation of the DNC’s two step with regard to war policies. However, it is getting and maybe has gotten to the point that success of the mission is secondary to the political clout that may be leveraged from a defeat in Iraq. Again, this is not to say that there is an imminent victory at hand, but one begins to wonder in fairness about the degrees of political motivation for those Representatives who voted overwhelmingly to support the war, and now attach timetables towards its end.
The real agenda here, as it has always been, is a political calculation to fan the fires in anticipation of the ’08 campaign. Understanding the vulnerability of the President, this political manuver has put the Democratic Party on the front pages, and may well further the decline in the President’s sagging popularity. Although some would argue against the politicizing of a war, those people need to be serious, as all is fair in politics, and in essence, everything is grist for the political mill. However, the Democratic Caucas would be best to be reminded of this when it is their turn for the use of politics to undermine policy.