Is it arrogance? Stupidity? You call it.
Nancy Pelosi once again is trying to balance the far left liberal base with the blue dog democrats who are largely responsible for handing the majority to the Democrats last November.
This morning House Democrats, fractured as a group and, with many members such as Boyda torn over how to proceed on Iraq, will meet to learn the details of a new proposal cobbled together by party leaders last night, which calls for bringing troops home early next year while removing remaining troops from combat by October 2008.
But it is far from certain they will succeed in bridging the rifts that have opened inside a passionately antiwar and yet determinedly cautious new congressional majority. "It's much easier to express an opinion to a pollster than it is to formulate effective policy on something as intractable as Iraq," Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) said.
The plan worked out by party leaders may be a significant gamble for the Democratic majority, which owes much of its success in November's elections to voters' unrest with the war. And it is already posing a major leadership test for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who for weeks has unsuccessfully tried to broker a compromise between her base of support, the party's progressives, and members from Republican-leaning districts who do not want to place too many restrictions on President Bush's authority as commander-in-chief.
I will interrupt here to point out that that the exit polls from last Novembers elections show that Iraq was fourth on the list of reasons the vote went as it did, despite the Democrats trying to rewrite history and claim the vote was some sort of mandate to them about Iraq.
Seems Wapo has a limited memory or they simply choose to ignore anything that does not fit in with their skewered view of things.
Back to the point here though.
Because Republicans have stood remarkably united against the Democratic effort, the loss of just a handful of Democratic votes could lead to an embarrassing public defeat. At least a dozen of the 43 conservative "Blue Dogs," who worry about the "soft-on-defense" stigma that has haunted the party, could bolt if Democrats move toward withdrawal too aggressively. But dozens of antiwar Democrats say they cannot support legislation that is too meek.
"There's a fine line that I hope will not be blurred between micromanaging the war and assuring accountability," said Rep. Stephanie Herseth (S.D.), a Blue Dog leader. "I don't think we should be overreacting to public opinion polls."
Quick note to Rep. Herseth here... seems the yellow democrats only overreact to "certain" polls and simply ignore the rest.
The blue dog democrats seem to at least have some common sense and understand that the "stigma" is there because of people like Murtha and Pelosi as well as a few others.
"I don't know if it's the first big test for her, but it certainly is a big test," said Rep. Dennis Moore (Kan.), a Blue Dog leader.
To Mr. Moore: This isn't her "first" big test, that was her Murtha/Hoyer fiasco, in which she was not only embarrassed publicly, but should have learned the lesson it taught her and somehow it seems she learned nothing.
The new plan that they are grappling over is:
Under the deal, to be formally drafted by the Appropriations Committee next week, Congress would institute the same tough benchmarks for the Iraqi government that Bush detailed in a national address in January. Under those benchmarks, the Iraqi government would have to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq's provinces by November, and adopt and implement oil-revenue-sharing legislation.
The government would have to spend $10 billion of Iraq's money on job-creating reconstruction and infrastructure projects; hold provincial elections this year; liberalize laws that purged Baath Party members from the government; and establish a fairer process for amending the Iraqi constitution. Bush would have to certify the benchmarks are met by year's end. If not, troops would begin leaving Iraq next spring, with all troops out of combat by the fall, a senior Democratic aide said.
The pot would be sweetened with extra money for military and veterans' health care, the war in Afghanistan, troop training and equipment, and new funds for Hurricane Katrina relief. The specifics include $450 million for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and another $450 million for traumatic brain injuries, said Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), an Appropriations Committee member.
The problem here:
But skepticism remains, especially among Democrats from conservative districts.
"It's still micromanaging the war," Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.) said.
Conservative Democrats fear the charge, still lodged by some Vietnam veterans, that that war could have been won had the politicians not intervened. More than anything else, many Democrats want to leave Bush responsible for ending the war he started.
"The war is the issue, but it's the president's issue, not ours," Boren said.
Last night, six prominent liberal Democrats issued a statement that said: "We have had a constructive dialogue with members of our party's leadership regarding the upcoming supplemental debate. However, at this time, we have not reached any final agreement."
Woolsey is leading a brewing revolt among dozens of Democrats who say they will vote only for a war spending bill that unambiguously ends the war. House leaders, cognizant of conservative concerns, had moved to temper another element of the proposal they worked out -- troop-deployment restrictions, pushed by Murtha, that Bush could waive if it is in "the national interest." But in so doing, they stoked a revolt on the left, with the leaders of that revolt being Pelosi loyalists, who say on this issue they cannot be swayed by the speaker's personal appeals.
In the face of such intransigence, Democratic leaders hope to quell the revolt by granting liberals a vote on an amendment to end the war immediately. Hoyer said the leaders hope liberals will then support final passage of the spending bill, even if their amendment is defeated.
But there are no guarantees. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), a co-chairwoman of the Out of Iraq Caucus, said no deal has been struck, although negotiations continue. Murtha and other Pelosi loyalists worked Waters especially hard because if she is swayed, other liberals will follow.
Pelosi's allies say that at the end of the day, she will bring her caucus into line. There is simply too much at stake, said Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), a Blue Dog close to the speaker. "Don't underestimate Nancy Pelosi," he said.
Now.... that last line is one I love.
I believe, if memory serves me right, that was exactly what was said about Pelosi when she was trying to force her caucus to vote Murtha in instead of Steny Hoyer
The 149 to 86 vote for Hoyer over Rep. John P. Murtha (Pa.) was viewed by many in the party as a repudiation of Pelosi's strong-arm tactics and a recognition of Hoyer's tireless work to elect a Democratic majority for the first time in 12 years. If the Hoyer camp's head count was correct going into yesterday's secret balloting, Pelosi and her allies may not have swayed a single vote for Murtha, a close associate.
Pelosi had made it clear for months that she favored Murtha over Hoyer. But on Sunday, she shocked even her staff by directly intervening in the contest by issuing a letter throwing her support to Murtha, a former Marine and the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense.
Pelosi's aggressive, last-minute campaign for Murtha in the face of overwhelming support for Hoyer left many Democrats worried that she has become too reliant on a tight inner circle, too reluctant to listen to the broader Democratic caucus and mistakenly convinced that she can dictate the direction the caucus must take.
"Basically, she got spanked," said a House Democrat close to both Pelosi and Hoyer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions. "She got taken to the woodshed. If she doesn't get it, this is going to be a big problem over the long run."
All in all, instead of simply cutting off funding for Iraq and taking responsibility for the ramifications of their actions, the yellow democrats are trying to play fast and loose with their options and the blue dog democrats are having none of it.... they understand that it will be seen for exactly what it is.
A game being played by Pelosi and company with our soldiers lives and the troops funding.
With all of this trouble within her own party, this may just be a worse "spanking" than her Murtha/Hoyer fiasco, because once again, it is her own party spanking her, not the Republicans.
My question here would be: If Pelosi and company are SO sure that Iraq is completely unwinnable despite all the recent progress and successes that are finally being shown by the MSM, then why not back off and give the President the rope to hang himself and the Republicans, instead of doing everything in their power to force defeat and make it unwinnable, thereby putting a huge target on their own asses as the party that gave up and handed victory to our enemies?
Maybe it is not defeat they are so scared of....perhaps Pelosi is more scared of us succeeding in Iraq and feels she has to do something to stop us from acheiving victory.
If the latter is indeed the case, it is a good thing the blue dog democrats have more brains than the yellow ones, because the blue may just be forced to save their own party from Pelosi and company.
[UPDATE] The proposal can be found here. I will update further after I have read it and will link to the post I do about it here also.
Link here to followup post with the new roadmap for the terrorist plan and Bohner's response to it.
Tracked back by:
Word to al-Qaeda from Dem Congress: Hang in there, victory in Iraq months away from Thinkin'bout Stuff...