The President stood firm on the issue of a timeline, and the Democrats who made it the centerpiece of the war supplemental they tried to “shove down the President’s throat” have backed off the demand:
President Bush and congressional leaders began negotiating a second war funding bill yesterday, with Democrats offering the first major concession: an agreement to drop their demand for a timeline to bring troops home from Iraq.
Democrats backed off after the House failed, on a vote of 222 to 203, to override the president’s veto of a $124 billion measure that would have required U.S. forces to begin withdrawing as early as July. But party leaders made it clear that the next bill will have to include language that influences war policy. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) outlined a second measure that would step up Iraqi accountability, “transition” the U.S. military role and show “a reasonable way to end this war.”
“We made our position clear. He made his position clear. Now it is time for us to try to work together,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said after a White House meeting. “But make no mistake: Democrats are committed to ending this war.”
Maybe so, but it won’t be on your timeline, Speaker Pelosi.
My thing is this: Democrats knew the President was never going to go for the insertion of a timeline for withdrawal in the war supp, yet House and Senate Democrats spent the last three months going back and forth on the wording of a bill they knew they had no chance of 1) getting the President to agree to and 2) garnering enough votes in the House to override his sure veto. And in the meantime, the military began to feel the effects.
Captain Ed notes the time wasted with this bill, also, and writes:
That puts Congress on the defensive. After laughably failing to override the veto yesterday — a foregone conclusion for months — they now have to start over again, 90 days later, while the Pentagon has already run out of money for some of its operations. The supplemental has to get passed and signed as quickly as possible, and that reduces the leverage of Congressional leadership. If they fail to produce an acceptable compromise bill by the time they leave for Memorial Day, the outrage will get directed at Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. The nation will wonder what they have been doing since the beginning of the year, since nothing much else has passed Congress since the Democrats took control in January.
Had the Democrats really wanted to put Bush in a corner, they would have started out with this compromise from the beginning. They could have garnered Republican support and taken leadership of the direction of the war. As the Post reports, many Republicans have deep concerns about the Iraqi government and the pace of reform. They do not want to give Nouri al-Maliki a blank check, either. That kind of politicking would have given momentum and a sense of reality to the Democrats.
Instead, they decided to get into a pissing match, and deliberately rejected reasonable compromises for extremism. They lost the sympathy of all but four Republicans in Congress; the rest will not vote to surrender to terrorists by naming dates for our retreat. Reid and Pelosi enabled Bush to look tough, presidential, and relevant — and now they have belatedly discovered that since they don’t have the testicular fortitude to yank the funding altogether, they have to find some way to accommodate the White House.
Welcome to the big leagues, Harry and Nancy. This time, try to keep up.
I won’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen.
Dare I say this Democrat Congress is the most shameful Congress since the Democrat Congress that choked off funds for the Vietnam war in order to end it? Oh yes, I do.
Update: John Hawkins has the details of a whopper Rep. John Murtha told Chris Matthews Tuesday regarding General Petraeus.