By Cenk Uygur
The Democrats should play politics. That’s normally considered a dirty word, but in this case it can help. The Senate Democrats are worried that they can’t get 60 votes in the Senate unless they pass a watered down, irrelevant Iraq withdrawal bill. And they’re right, they can’t.
But here’s my solution — don’t. The conventional wisdom is that you need 60 votes for withdrawal right now. But that’s not true. I’d rather have 60 votes on an actual withdrawal bill three months from now than 60 votes for a useless bill that “urges” the president to withdraw with “non-binding” legislation.
Non-binding is crap. It’s pointless and the Democrats shouldn’t even consider it for a nanosecond. It won’t make a bit of difference in swaying Bush. It won’t lead to an actual withdrawal.
The Democrats seem to be panicking because they feel like they have to get results now. But non-binding legislation with fuzzy “goals” is no action at all. They’d have to be crazy to think it is. We’re not that stupid that we would get fooled into thinking Democrats took real action by urging the president to do the right thing.
So, here is my solution. Pass a real withdrawal bill (giving our troops the money to come home in 12 months sounds about right), then let the Republicans block it with a filibuster. Beat the living crap out of them politically. Pass the same bill, let them block it again. Repeat and repeat and repeat, until they cry uncle.
They would also take a pounding on their credibility. John Warner claims he wants withdrawal, but if he doesn’t vote that way, then is he really an honest broker? Whatever you do, don’t give them political cover to pretend they voted for withdrawal while voting to let the president have complete discretion.
The way the Democrats have handled this so far, it seems that they are responsible for getting us out of Iraq. But in reality, it is the Senate Republicans who are responsible because they are blocking real action on withdrawal. Why not highlight this? Why would you take responsibility for Republican failure?
This is Politics 101. Why would you let your opponent have political cover and take heat from your own constituents for caving in? Why not instead pass a real bill and put tremendous pressure on your opponents to come around to your position?
This is good politics, but much more importantly, it is also good policy. The so-called moderate Republicans cannot stand another three months of twisting out in the wind getting killed in the polls while Iraq burns. They will cave. But you have to put the right amount of pressure on them. For once, can Democrats see if their opponents will buckle before they do?
Note to Senate Democrats: you have nothing to lose with this strategy. You will seem principled and strong, you will put your opponents in a corner — and you will eventually get the result that you want. What is not possible today will be possible tomorrow if you play your cards right.
Source: Huffington Post