Friday, September 28, 2007

"What more could Congress do over Iraq?"

The Politico's Jim VandeHei and John Harris got this right.

Galling as it may be to Democrats, Bush still can claim to be acting with more clarity and courage than the congressional majority.

He believes the Iraq war is right and has thrown away things most politicians crave -- approval ratings, and potentially his reputation in history -- to get what he wants.

Democratic leaders believe the war is wrong but have pursued their beliefs with a series of ginger calculations that so far have achieved no substantive changes in policy.

They are acting with the same defensive-mindedness that led many Democrats to swallow deep misgivings and vote five years ago to authorize the war in the first place.

So what could Democrats do?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) could force a vote a day over Iraq. She could keep the House in session all night, over weekends and through planned vacations.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) could let filibusters run from now till Christmas rather than yield to pro-war Republicans.

Such tactics might or might not be politically sensible, but in their absence, anti-war lawmakers can hardly say they have done everything possible to challenge the war and bring attention to their cause [...]

"Our view is that they are very strong, they have the public's support at their backs, and they need to use that strength," [MoveOn's Eli Parisher] said. "I think the efforts thus far have been good, but not good enough to put the Republicans on the spot about blocking an end to the war."

Specifically, he supports forcing Senate Republicans who are trying to block measures to force Bush's hand on troop withdrawals to back up their filibuster threats in a dramatic showdown on the Senate floor.

"Republicans are effectively filibustering, but no one knows it," he said. "One way to demonstrate what's going on is to make them stand there and read the phone book."

Seriously. Force them to sit there with that filibuster for days. No need for Democrats to speak. Leave the GOP obstructionism front and center. For days.

Let's see if they really have it in them to obstruct change in Iraq if the spotlight is truly on them.

No comments: