March 13, 2007
Are The People Interested?
I think Eve's perspective on the Democrats' withdrawal plan is a bit skewed:
Some nasty stuff's on the way for the Democratic deal on Iraq...Here's the bitchy subtitle of today's Post's lead editorial: "It makes perfect sense, if the goal is winning votes in the United States."
Wince. But I don't think it even does make perfect sense as a purely political strategy: The plan faces immense obstacles to get to the House floor, at which point it probably won't pass the Senate, and if it did, it'd be summarily vetoed -- drawing Democrats into a constitutional showdown with Bush. Is that what people are interested in?
Well, yeah. According to the most recent polling, Iraq is the most important single problem facing our country, outpolling the nearest runner-up ("economy/jobs") by 21 percent. 67 percent disapprove of Bush's handling of the issue, 63 percent oppose the surge, and 51% say they're concerned "Congress won't go far enough in pressing the President to reduce troop levels in Iraq." So yes, I think the American people are decidedly interest in the issue.
Moreover, the framing of Eve's post is odd. Americans are, of course, not interested in a bunch of procedural wrangling leading to gridlock. But the bloodless presentation above obscures a fairly astonishing political event: After an election in which Americans overwhelmingly voted in the anti-war party and amidst polls showing 58% think we should withdraw within the next year, the President is blocking all action on the issue, blocking all action on the electorate's top priority. It is, of course, soundly undemocratic. To suggest that Congress should stop pushing for more direct enactment of public preferences because Bush has telegraphed his intent to flout the will of the country is really missing the forest for the trees.
This is another example of that crazy belief that the American people are, first and foremost, upset that there is conflict in government. People are arguing! Oh no! Democrats had better just do what the President wants, because Americans hate arguing more than anything else!
What Americans are ticked off about, first and foremost, is that we're losing in Iraq. They want somebody to either figure out how to win or make it OK to not win.
That's what Dems should be doing right now. Make it OK to not win. Somebody who says "listen, this was a bad idea, done wrong. The bad news is the fairy tales ain't gonna happen, but the good news is that it's not the end of the world and we're such a strong nation that we can absorb this body blow. Now, we're gonna do something else somewhere else and be safer." Then tell us what other thing we're gonna do instead.
Posted by: anonymous | Mar 13, 2007 11:52:29 AM
I must confess that I at least appreciate the fact that the Post has finally acknowleged that supporting withdrawal will win votes rather than lose them. For ages they were among the hand-wringers warning that any attempt to advance a not-completely-pro-war agenda would lead to electoral disaster.
Posted by: Midwest Product | Mar 13, 2007 11:56:50 AM
To suggest that Congress should stop pushing for more direct enactment of public preferences because Bush has telegraphed his intent to flout the will of the country is really missing the forest for the trees.
Why? What's the point of this "pushing," when, if they're clued into reality at all, they know they aren't going to actually accomplish anything but political goals, and those at some substantial cost to troop morale, as the Congress goes on record in opposition to their mission while leaving them out there to die for it? This isn't a time for politics. Is unproductive posturing in a time of war what people really want?
(She's technically wrong that if Bush vetoes the plan, which won't reach him anyway, it would trigger a constitutional showdown. There's no chance that a veto would be overridden.)
Posted by: Sanpete | Mar 13, 2007 1:32:21 PM
Posted by: judy | Sep 27, 2007 4:16:40 AM
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