RUSH: The latest Democratic strategery is to link Walter Reed to the war and push for defeat in Afghanistan, too. The Democrats held a press conference on their new timetable for the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq. The portion of the comments made by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
PELOSI: Give troops the funding they need; honoring our promises to our veterans; holding the defense department to the standard that they have about readiness before we send our troops in; holding the Iraqi government accountable to the benchmarks established by President Bush. If those benchmarks are not met, or even if they are at some point, calling for the redeployment of US troops out of Iraq so that we can focus more fully on the real war in on terror, which is in Afghanistan. This bill takes giant steps toward putting resources into that war again, a war that has unfinished and nearly forgotten by the administration.
RUSH: So they keep trying to come up with a way to get us out of Iraq. Now, before this press conference today there were actually two conflicting stories. One from David Espo at the Associated Press, the headline: ‘Democrats Want Iraq Pullout by the Fall of 2008.’ The lede of the story is this: “In a direct challenge to President Bush, House Democrats unveiled legislation Thursday requiring the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the fall of next year.” That would be 2008 for those of you in Rio Linda. “Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the deadline would be added to legislation providing nearly $100 billion the Bush administration has requested for fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.” There’s the timetable now, and that, of course, is what the enemy craves. The enemy knows when we’re going to get out of there, if indeed this were to be upheld. Once again, the Democrats are in blatant ownership of defeat.
Now, an earlier story in the Boston Globe today by Rick Klein: “Democrats Shelve Plans to Force Iraq Pullout — Lacking support for stronger bill, scale back goals.” In the Boston Globe, it looks like Democrats surrender on trying to fashion anything, and yet we had the Pelosi press conference this morning which seems to contradict this. Here’s the money quote in the story, or the money paragraph: “With their thin majority in Congress, Democrats are now confronting the reality that finding a strong, legally binding antiwar measure that also keeps their party together may not be possible.” In the Senate, Carl Levin “conceded that his party, which controls 51 Senate seats,” only 50 are voting right now, “probably cannot gather the 60 votes it needs to pass the legislation. But he added that even symbolic steps carry messages.”
The bottom line is that the House can do what they want to do in this. They can pass whatever bill they want with their timetables, the slow version of the slow-bleed from Jack Murtha. This is to give Murtha cover, by the way, too, folks. This is to sort of give him half of the apple while not really going full bore and leaving him out of the press conference and so forth in a prominent way. But over in the Senate, it’s an entirely different matter. They’re not going to get 60 votes for it over there, and the Democrats know this. So the House is being used for the harassment purposes of the administration and to placate the kook left-wing base of the Democrat Party, which is typified here by congressperson Janice Schakowsky of Illinois. If you can believe it, there are Democrats to Pelosi’s left, and they want immediate defeat. They don’t want to wait until the fall of 2008.
SCHAKOWSKY: Four and a half years ago the president asked Congress to give war a chance — and despite our objections, he got that chance.
RUSH: He did no such thing!
SCHAKOWSKY: No more chances! No more waivers! No phony certifications. No more spending billions of dollars to send our children [sic] into the meat grinder that is Iraq. It is time to spend the money to keep them safe and bring them home.
RUSH: This is absurd, but this is who they are, typified here by Janice Schakowsky, Democrat from Illinois. She is not going along with the Pelosi plan. The Pelosi plan is designed to try to placate these people, but it isn’t working. What is this “George Bush asks Congress to give war a chance”?
RUSH: More on the Democrats’ ownership of defeat in Iraq. More of their desire to bring that around. The Washington Post today has a story by Jonathan Weisman and Shailagh Murray. ‘Even in her conservative Kansas district, calls and letters to freshman House Democrat Nancy Boyda show a constituency overwhelmingly ready for U.S. troops to come home from Iraq. Yet as the House nears a legislative showdown on the war, Boyda finds herself wracked with doubts. She is convinced that Congress must intervene to stop the war, but is fearful of the chaos that a quick U.S. pullout could prompt. ‘Congress has an obligation to do something,’ Boyda said. But she is unsure what to do, worried about anything that ‘affects commanders on the ground.” Then talk to the far left-wing Democrats, the ones even to the left of Pelosi, who want out now, and, ‘With such strong sentiments, the past three days in the House have been agonizing.’ It’s agonizing for Democrats to try to pass something that appeases the liberal wackos and moderates at the same time.
What it all adds up to is pressure is building on Nancy Pelosi here as she’s trying to build a bridge between the wackos and the moderates. There are no moderates. Well, that’s not true, actually, because there’s also an AP story today about the Blue Dog Democrats, the equivalent of Yellow Dog Democrats. They call ’em Blue Dogs since they’re blue states. There are 54 of them, and they’re starting to make their presence felt, not so much in Iraq, but on some domestic issues. But these are largely conservative Democrats, and 54 is not an insignificant number. They’re beginning to feel their weight and their oats and they’re putting pressure on Pelosi as well. Interestingly in this Washington Post story, Representative Dan Boren, Democrat from Oklahoma, who is from a conservative district, 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.”
So you have some of these Democrats that don’t even want to mess with this because they don’t want to do anything that might make it look like the Democrats lost the war, and this is the problem that Pelosi has. There are a bunch of conservative Democrats who understand what the rest of the Democrats are doing. They know what happened to the Democratic Party after Vietnam. Chuck Schumer doesn’t remember. Pelosi doesn’t remember. This Get Out of Iraq Now Caucus in the House, they don’t remember. (Or maybe they do, and they think it was just one of the greatest moments in Democrat history.) So you’ve got some Democrats in the House who are afraid of being tagged as being responsible for defeat, as in Vietnam. I thought it was the Republicans who were supposed to be afraid of these Vietnam analogies. You have Democrats running around screaming, “This is another Vietnam!” It’s supposed to frighten the Republicans. It ought to frighten Democrats. Apparently there are some in the Conservative Caucus, the Blue Dog Caucus on the Democrat side that are worried about this. So Pelosi has her work cut out for her. But it all doesn’t matter in the end, because it’s going to go nowhere in the Senate as Dick Durbin admitted yesterday. Here’s a portion of his remarks speaking to the press.
DURBIN: Walter Reed was an issue that came up frequently, as it should. I also asked a question which I think is at the heart of this. It’s a question about our situation in Iraq. How much longer [will] this war will go on? How long will the surge be before we can make an evaluation? Because ultimately, there will have to be a decision made by this commission based on a projection of how many more injured soldiers we are going to be treating in the years to come.
RUSH: Durbin did say he asked the president how long he’s going to wait to see if the surge works so that they can know how many wounded soldiers to expect at Walter Reed. In the process, it’s a bit of an inference. You’d have to suggest that Durbin doesn’t think the Democrats are going to stop the war, if he wants to know how many injured are going to keep pouring into Walter Reed. They’re trying to combine Walter Reed and the whole Iraq war. The bottom line is Durbin knows they don’t have the votes in the Senate stop any legislation coming from the House of Representatives. Zip, zero she nada. They have 50 votes. They have 51 votes, but Tim Johnson is still not voting, and there’s Lieberman, so they have 49 votes. Lieberman is not going to be with him on any of this. So the notion they have a 51-vote majority is absurd when it comes to this issue.
That means, with 49 votes, they’d have to come up with eleven in order to get the cloture and 60 votes. Mitch McConnell could lose eight. That’s a large number to lose. So, as I have been telling you, ladies and gentlemen, Democrats can huff and puff and do all they want in the House and it’s going to lead to frustration between Pelosi and Reid. Little indications of that are already happening behind the scenes. On the minimum wage bill, “Where is it?” some people are beginning to ask. Everything is not the slam-dunk the Democrats thought it was going to be when they swept to electoral victory last November.