Sunday, May 27, 2007

Did the Democrats really lose very much when they voted for war funding?

Superficially, it appears as if the Democrats were really big losers when they capitulated and allowed Congress to pass full funding for President's war in Iraq. But, in reality, I believe the Democrats are winning big-time.

First, the inability of a narrow-majority Democratically-controlled Congress to override a presidential veto was a foregone conclusion, so the political reality was always that President Bush would eventually get the requested money.

Second, although the Democrats did not have any withdrawal timeline in the final bill, the article in The New York Times by David Sanger and David Cloud entitled "White House Is Said to Debate '08 Cut in Iraq Troops by 50%" tells us that the White House is effectively already assuming that a timeline will be required well before the 2008 election season gets into full swing. So, the Democrats are actually likely to get most of what they wanted, albeit not quite on the silver platter that they wanted.

Third, because President Bush really needed this bill on his desk ASAP, he has been willing compromise in a numbr of other areas.

Fourth, one of those compromises was to allow a new federal minimum wage law sail right through, without hardly any objection at all. That is a really big deal, at least for some people.

Fifth, the administration agreed to allow Congress to put environmental and labor requirements in future foreign trade pacts.That is also a really big deal for some people.

Overall, that's not so bad for what seemed to be a stale-mate.

Sure, the anti-war "nuts" are grumbling, but that was going to be the case anyway. Like it or not, the Democratic party is left-leaning center, not far-left wing liberal. The November election "mandate" was not a vote for far-left liberalism so much as a rejection of far-right conservatism. The centrists are the rule now.

-- Jack Krupansky


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