Democrats Trying to Change the Narrative
5:22 PM, May 29, 2007 • By BRIAN FAUGHNAN
The New York Times reports on the problems that Democrats are having in convincing their base that they're not responsible for the continuation of the Iraq war--that it's the president and Congressional Republicans who are at fault:
DeFazio has a point--the Iraq appropriations bill that the president will sign could not have passed without strong Republican support. But after months of promising that the Congress wouldn't give the president any more 'blank checks' on Iraq, the speaker has led her party to do just that. Of course, that's not how she sees it:
If this were the case, you have to wonder why it took so long to get started on this 'new direction.'
Liberal anti-war groups don't seem to be buying the argument, either:
Some Democrats have even claimed that they never had power to cut off funds in the first place--that the president has 'Food and Forage' authority to continue the Iraq operation even in the face of a Congressional withdrawal of funding. (Imagine what would have happened if the president or vice president had suggested the existence of such authority!)
It's true that the support of Congressional Republicans was necessary to pass the bill, but it's equally true that Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid had it in their power to deny funds for the war. They could have refused to bring up funding legislation--and they should have if they really believed that Iraq is not worth 'one more drop' of American blood. There was never any compulsion to fund the troops--only a reasonable fear that the voters might punish Democrats for not doing so.
Whatever faults this administration may have, fear of doing what they believe to be right in Iraq--regardless of the political consequences--is not one of them. The only reason the president won this showdown is because Democrats do have that fear.