The Democrats seem to have grown a set, but not in the way we might have hoped:
Senate Democrats might force Republicans to wage a filibuster if the GOP wants to block the latest Iraq withdrawal bill, aides and senators said Tuesday.It takes real courage to force a vote or filibuster as a choice.
That could set the stage for a dramatic end-of-the-year partisan showdown, which Democrats hope will help them turn voter frustration with Congress and the stalemate over Iraq into anger with the Republican Party.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), the number two Democrat in the chamber, said a forced filibuster is “possible” and would “generate attention.”
“We want to go to the bill, and [Republicans] have to decide initially whether they want us to go to the bill,” Durbin said. “I wouldn’t call it theatrics.”
It takes even more courage to do it when it matters, when you first take office and when you have the people behind you, thinking you're going to effect the changes that you were elected for.
It's not courage to bait your opposition into making political grandstanding plays. That's gamesmanship and if we weren't talking about the lives of hundreds of thousands of American soldiers in harm's way, fighting a fight that we see as unnecessary, then I'm all for it.
That's not the case here. The case here is that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have allowed the troops in Iraq to be played as pawns by the Republicans and by President Bush, and unwittingly, by the Democrats themselves.
That should never be the case. Democrats seemed to be afraid of taking a stand for peace, for troop withdrawal, because they'd appear to be playing with the lives of our troops, but that was a choice that was no choice: that appearance happens either way, and a good look in a mirror would have made that perfectly clear.
Maybe it's because Mrs. Pelosi doesn't have to shave every morning. Maybe that's why she didn't see that in her mirror. And in collapsing in the face of hints and allegations of "gamesmanship," she played our soldiers into the Liar's Poker hand that the Republicans had set up.
Too, Bush has shown no reluctance to carry the water for Republicans in Congress, and to start using his veto stamp regularly.
Democrats needed to be out in front of the curve here, and they weren't, for whatever reason of internal dissension. Where in the hell was Howard Dean in all this, twisting arms to get Congresscritters in line? I know if I was DNC chairman, I'd be threatening primary contests like I was handing out Halloween candy. It's clear that Pelosi and Reid don't have the ear of all of their colleagues (Reid might be slightly ahead in this department, but then he was more moderate than Pelosi heading in). Dean needs to step up and step in, or face his own issues going into the most important election year in this generation, particularly if Hillary Clinton is at the top of the ticket.
2008 is going to require message discipline, and given that the Democrats have been working to expand their appeal in red states, we're looking at a raucous caucus at the convention next year.
This is all the more reason why Democrats have to get it together, and start living up to the promises of 2006.