Carol Platt Liebau: How Quickly Things Change

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How Quickly Things Change

Just when Democrats finally hoped they had President Bush and the GOP over a barrel when it comes to the Iraq war, things have changed, thanks mostly to the testimony of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker.

The Democratic presidential contenders are backtracking on earlier promises to end the war immediately upon taking office, and the president's request for additional funds for the war put the Democrats in a difficult place anew.

That's because either they go ahead and provide the requested funding -- thereby alienating the ascendant Moveon.org wing of the Democrats -- or they once again try to attach conditions to the funding. Given that there's not a veto-proof majority for such an approach, it will do nothing but highlight once again for anti-war voters the Democrats' complete impotence and/or incompetence, and remind the majority of Americans (who are, in fact, in favor of winning the war) why their party can't be trusted to take national security matters seriously.

1 Comments:

Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Ms. Liebau writes:

things have changed, thanks mostly to the testimony of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker.

But the source she cites actually says:

little has changed in the war debate

Ms. Liebau:

the majority of Americans (who are, in fact, in favor of winning the war)

Really? A Pew poll taken on September 12-16 concluded that

By nearly two-to-one, more [Americans] say Democratic leaders in Congress are not going far enough, rather than too far, in challenging Bush's policies in Iraq (42% vs. 22%). A quarter of Americans believe that Democratic leaders are handling this about right.

A Gallup poll taken immediately after the Petreaus testimony had this:

A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday found essentially no shift in views on whether U.S. forces are likely to win the war — two-thirds predict they won't — and if the United States should set a firm timetable to remove troops.

In the days before Petraeus' appearances and President Bush's speech to the nation last week, 60% supported setting a timetable for withdrawal and sticking to it "regardless of what is going on in Iraq at the time."


So, Ms. Liebau maintains that a majority of Americans are in favor of winning the war, and 60% of Americans support setting a timetable for withdrawal. Conclusion: Ms. Liebau defines "majority" to be something less that 40%.

Also, I think she completely misses the strategy the Democrats are pursuing. Basically, they keep bringing up votes on topics that they know that a. the public supports and b. the Republicans don't. They phrase their proposals to be just strong enough to ensure Republican opposition, but not so strong as to lose Democratic support. The result: a steady drumbeat of news of Republicans blocking Democratic attempts to scale back the war, Democratic attempts to provide health care to innocent children, and so on. It's steadily sinking into the public mind that the Republicans will do nothing to stop the war, nothing to help children, etc, etc. And come November 08, the public will respond to that news.

10:40 PM  

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