Iraq Withdrawal Magic Wand: "Making a List, Checking it Twice"

Big Tent Democrat at Talk Left has been insistently pushing the idea that defunding is THE way to end the Iraq fiasco. He criticizes the "netroots" for not agreeing with him, and he criticizes other out-of-Iraq strategies, such as the Making a list; checking it twice strategy which advocates increasing pressure against Conservative and Blue Dog Democrats by threatening Primary Challenges. I'm with Matt Stoller on the "making a list strategy".

Big Tent Dem has a good point, namely that all the Democrats have to do is NOT pass a funding bill. In other words, Bush/Cheney are in a position where they need the Dems to proactively SUPPORT the war by voting to continue funding. This explains the intense pressure on the Dems coming from the Republicans and the right-wing media machine begging, even challenging them to defund the war. This heavy artillery pressure is designed to strike fear into the hearts of Blue Dogs and the Democratic establishemt of being called "soft on terror" or "not supporting the troops".

My position is that the Republican Party is more likely to get us out of Iraq then the Blue Dogs. They could do this the moment they decide to throw Bush/Cheney and the neocons under the bus. I'm thinking Giuliani may even be the one to pull a Nixon, and lead the Republican coalition of the willing to end-the-war. This leaves the Blue Dogs hanging like the neo-liberal Democrats in 1973.

What is wrong with the defunding argument?

Nothing actually, except that it assumes a giant magic wand or a whup upside the head of the Democratic establishment. The Democratic Party seems to be more comfortable continuing to fund the war, and letting the Iraq fiasco grind down the Republicans in 2008. I would label this a cynical and immoral political strategy, although one that would probably be effective.

For me, "Making a List; Checking it Twice" is the magic wand.  

Things will change by forcing the Blue Dogs and Democratic War Supporters to start worrying about their careers. Even if a candidate is good on other issues, we'll find replacements that will be just as good. I would call on the Progressive Caucus to draw the line in the sand a little more to the left. There is no reason to appease the pro-war democrats by watering down opposition to the war. The opposite in fact. Challenge the Blue Dogs to continue voting with Bush/Cheney for the war. That helps our list-making a bit easier.

Somehow, I think the Republicans will be more coldly calculating on this than the Conservative Democrats. This is why I think that pressure on the Republicans would bear fruit the soonest, when Republicans finally realize their brand has been so damaged, that the ONLY way out of certain failure in 2008 will be to abandon the neocons, Bush and Cheney.

This begs the question suggested by Big Tent Democrat's "defund the war" strategy: Should the Progressive Caucus go out on a limb and vote against the war funding, hanging out the Democratic Party Leadership and Blue Dogs?

Tags: Iraq War (all tags)

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