According to The Times, Harry Reid is about to begin a new push for congressional action to end the war, which is good news — I hope.
WASHINGTON, July 7 — Democratic voters are not the only ones bitter over their party’s failure to use new Congressional power to force a withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Senator Harry Reid, the occasionally obstreperous Democratic leader, is upset as well.
“We haven’t done enough,” said Mr. Reid, a onetime moderate who has evolved into one of the party’s most fervent critics of the war.
That view captures not only Mr. Reid’s sentiment but also the shifting political dynamic on the war, as public frustration remains high, the conflict dominates the presidential campaign landscape and senior Republicans have chosen to break with President Bush even as the administration has urged patience.
Sensing momentum from the new Republican defections, Mr. Reid and other leading Democrats intend to force a series of votes over the next two weeks on proposals to withdraw troops and limit spending. Democrats are increasingly confident they can assemble majority opposition to administration policies.
Good, it’s long past time for the Democrats in Congress to rejoin the fight against the war. But this time, giving them hell, Harry, isn’t going to be good enough. This time we need results.
Americans want this war ended, period. Doing that legislatively, of course, won’t be easy: Senate rules allow the GOP to filibuster, and even if Reid can somehow cobble together 60 votes to end the filibuster, Bush can still veto the bill — then 67 votes will be needed to override the veto, something which, at least at present, isn’t in the cards.
But what is in the cards is a fight to the political death — a fight, unlike last time, with no surrender. If the GOP filibusters, fine, let them filibuster. But force them to do it the old fashioned way, the Mr. Smith Goes to Washington way. Make them stand for hour after hour reading the Bible, or yesterday’s newspaper. Keep the Senate in session 24/7. Force those Republican senators who insist on playing both sides of the issue, urging “a change in strategy,” but voting to uphold Bush’s position when it counts, to take a clear stand on the record again and again.
Tell the American people over television that given the sacrifices our troops are making every day, surely 100 senators (99 until Sen. Tim Johnson returns) can afford to sacrifice a few hours of sleep in order to try to bring them home.
Then let the pro-war senators whine about it all they want, and see what the people think.
If Bush vetoes the bill, send it and other antiwar legislation back to him again and again. Never give up; never surrender. Make the rest of this session of Congress be about Democrats trying to end this godforsaken war. Then, if need be, go to the voters in 2008 and let them decide. It will be a tragedy if the war goes on that long, but at least then it will finally end.