Bush Derides Iraq War Measure
In his most combative comments yet, President Bush mocked Democratic lawmakers yesterday for including a deadline for troop withdrawals and "pork" projects in an Iraq spending bill, declaring that "the American people will know who to hold responsible" if funding for the war stalls.Bush has little support from the American people, decreasing support from the Republicans and even the Saudis have turned on him. So will Bush really veto the bill? David Sirota has some excellent advice for the Democrats if he does.
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) shot back that Bush's vow to veto the spending bill carries its own cost. In a joint letter, they warned him against following "a political strategy that would needlessly delay funding for our troops."
Memo to Democrats On Iraq: The Post-Veto Strategy
Democrats will be forced to write another supplemental bill, and in vetoing the current supplemental, Bush will be daring Democrats to send him back the exact bill. His theory is that the only way he wins is to either peel off conservative Democrats, and failing that (as he likely will because they are already on record), getting Democrats to be perceived as stubbornly, irrationally digging in.Better advice than they will get from the DC strategists. Email Sirota's advice to your Senator and Congressman.
But here's the thing: Democrats don't have to send Bush back the exact same supplemental bill with the exact same language. The specific binding language to end the war in the current supplemental is not unique - that is, there are many ways to achieve the goals of that language in a binding way without simply copying and pasting that exact language into the new, post-veto supplemental.
Democrats could, for instance, call Bush's bluff on timetables and take out the sections about a timetables completely - all while tightening the troop training requirements and removing the waiver that lets Bush get out of such requirements. That has strong public support and would effectively end the war, because troops are simply not being trained and equipped fast enough to sustain the current rotation schedules in Iraq. Similarly, Democrats could put a provision in circumventing Bush by ordering military generals to join with a bipartisan, congressionally appointed commission to construct, within a month, a plan for withdrawal within a year that will automatically have the binding force of law. I'm just coming up with scenarios off the top of my head, but the point is that the possibilities to appear flexible while holding firm to binding antiwar goals are limitless and further, that achieving both is essential.
Such a strategy could result in repeated volleys of congressional passage and presidential veto (which, by the way, may require extremely short-term continuing resolutions from Democrats so as to not allow themselves to walk into the "cutting off funds for the troops" trap Bush will be in, and will want to ensnare Democrats with by claiming their moves are "shutting the military down"). But if Democrats employ this shotgun approach of sending up different variations of the same antiwar theme, each volley will drive Bush further into isolation and consequently bring the war closer to an end. The less power a pro-war president has, the more we will be able to end the war.