There’s a column today in the Washington Post by David Ignatius, and it basically is a column about Rahm Emanuel and the Democrats and their strategery in moving their agenda forward, and I wasn’t going to talk much about it, if at all, because I actually have — I’ve already — repudiated what I think are some of the praiseworthy points that Ignatius has for Rahm Emanuel. I think the Democrats can totally botch their agenda with their base, which I’ve already touched on. Their base cares only about getting out of Iraq — and all the other stuff, especially the stuff with the 100 hours, is not going to mollify them. It’s not going to make them happy, if they don’t get us out of Iraq, if the Democrats in the Senate and the House don’t get us out of Iraq. That’s all they care about. As long as all these other things do not produce arguments, the minimum wage or whatever, the only thing that might arguments about stem cells, I’m talking about arguments with the president, but he’s pretty much made the case that Iraq is his baby for the remaining two years.
But there is this one little part in it that I want to read to you. “Rather than try to restrict funds for the troops, Rahm Emanuel instead favors a proposal by Jack Murtha to set strict standards for readiness, which would make it hard to finance the troop surge in Iraq without beefing up the military as a whole. The idea is to position the Democrats as friends of the military even as they denounce Bush’s Iraq policy.” This is a tactic here that Murtha is saying: “Okay, if you want to send troops, we have to beef up the whole military here. You have to do this before we’ll go along with that because we’re not going to send unprepared or whatever the terminology that they would use is, and it’s cynical because it’s designed to make people think the Democrats do love the military and really want this to work so badly that they think the whole military needs to be upgraded, and of course that’s a debate and a cost factor that might not be able to be done and completed in the time frame that Bush wants to send the surge.
Now Rich Lowry writes about this at National Review Online. He has this little observation. “If you’re a Republican, be worried, very worried, because Rahm Emanuel is very shrewd,” per this Ignatius column, “Emanuel is focusing on what would probably be the most politically wise way for Democrats to try to stop the surge, and that is rather than try to restrict funds for the troops, favor a proposal by Murtha to set strict standards for readiness, which would make it hard to finance the troop surge in Iraq without beefing up the military as a whole.” Now, you could say, “Yeah, if you’re Republican be worried, very worried.: Rich, I love you, but I would amend this: If you are an American, be worried, be very worried, because if those who have read this give it credence and think that the Murtha way has a chance of succeeding in de-funding the surge while making the Democrats look like they really, really care about the military, you have to understand what the objective is.
The objective remains: de-fund the surge, don’t pay for it. The objective means harm the military. The objective means don’t allow victory; do not make it possible for victory. Of course, the Drive-Bys will help them out all they can in trying to create this image that they care about the military and that they really want success and trying to beef it all up. “Bush hasn’t done enough for the whole military! We want to do that before we do the surge!” This kind of thinking. So, I don’t know, we’ll see. Some of the strategy from Rahm Emanuel, more and more Democrats know it, that if they actually go for the effort, make the effort to de-fund, that that’s just slitting their own throats. Even among the anti-war crowd of the general population, that’s tired of the war, and doesn’t want to do this, if anything is done that appears to harm the soldiers and make them the victims here, nobody’s going to put up with that.
There would be a big political price to pay. So the Democrats are trying to finagle a new way of accomplishing that while making themselves look like big hawks and supporters of the troops.