As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Don't Blame The Messenger

I completely agree with Matthew Yglesias:

Look, Matt Yglesias leading a caucus of 51 Democratic Senators that includes Joe Lieberman, Bill Nelson, and Tim Johnson couldn't get much done in these circumstances either. Nor could Matt Stoller. It's not Reid's fault that there aren't 60 votes for a non-binding resolution on Iraq in the Senate (except in the sense that the "nuclear option" fight was mishandled way back in the day, and Democrats should have tried to abolish filibusters altogether). Blame Lieberman. Blame Jeff Sessions. And, again, ask yourself: If Reid's resolution is so useless, why is the GOP so determined to defeat it? And if it's so difficult to get 60 votes for this measure, what would the point be in proposing something more far-reaching that would only fail by a larger margin? The sad reality is that what Matt and I would like to see the Democrats accomplish is, under the circumstances, very difficult to achieve. Progressives should keep the pressure on for action, but we need to understand that objective circumstances matter. This is a slow boring of hard boards kind of situation, and it's extremely frustrating, but it's also George W. Bush's fault, not Reid's.

What's more, it's working, albeit slowly. More Senators signed on this time that last time. Maybe more will the next time. Remember that you'd need 67 votes to really make a difference. And while Iraqi civilians and American troops continue to die, that is the fault of George Bush and his Congressional enablers, not Harry Reid. Reid is putting the pressure on, and I think he'll continue to do so. What's more, the fact that so many Senators are running for President, and that it's impossible to herd Democrats even without that extra circumstance, means that there's a lot of additional freelancing on this issue.

Ultimately, what this issue may do in the future is push back the control of foreign policy out of the exclusive hands of the executive branch. The presidecy really has become the seat of foreign policy, and the Bush years have been a textbook example of why that might be a bad idea. The next President will carry that legacy, just as every President must deal with the collected works of those before him (or Hillary). That could be a positive development for our democracy. For now, ending this war involved continuing a kitchen sink strategy of forcing the Republican Bush defenders away from the President.

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