Wednesday, June 21, 2006

United We Stand, Divided We Lunch

If you had a chance to listen to a newscast on Tuesday, or if you pick up a paper today, you might believe that the Democrats are bitterly divided on what to propose we do about US involvement in the ongoing disaster in Iraq.

What would give you that impression? I don’t know. . . maybe a headline like this one in today’s Washington Post:

Democrats Divided on Withdrawal of Troops

Now, I can imagine how this might be confusing for reporters, seeing as the Democrats are actually debating a policy change rather than dittoing some White House talking points. Debate in Bush’s “with us or against us” America can look like something foul and sloppy, I guess. But if the Post had covered the Senate floor speeches instead of eating leftovers outside the closed doors of the weekly Democratic strategy luncheon, they might have noticed that the so-called divided Democrats sound remarkably unified.

“[Sen. Jack] Reed (D-RI) said redeployment should begin ‘as quickly as possible’ to ease the strain on the troops. . . .”

Joint statement of Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA): “Our troops have done their job in Iraq. It is time to redeploy – to help increase stability in Iraq, and more importantly, to strengthen the national security of the United States.”

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI): “[The amendment] does urge that a phased redeployment begin this year, partly as a way of moving away from an open-ended commitment and a way of avoiding Iraqi dependency on a U.S. security blanket.”

See a theme there? Say it with me, ladies and gentlemen of the press: Redeployment. In fact, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (NV) said it quite plainly for you (from the very last paragraph of the Post article):

One thing Democrats agree on is this war has taken too long, it's too expensive and costs too many lives and too many soldiers injured We all agree there should be a change in the course of the war. We all agree that there should be redeployment starting sooner rather than later.

Goshdarnit if those divided Democrats don’t sound pretty unified to me. . . and unified around a plan. . . or at least the outlines of a plan.

And that’s purportedly another thing that the Democrats don’t have. But, again, it seems to me that debating proposals for withdrawal and redeployment is a darn sight closer to a plan than “stay the course.”

I’ll go a step further: The Democrats have a plan—strategic redeployment, for lack of a better term—and are debating the details of that plan. The Republicans, on the other hand, don’t have a plan. Doing more of the same, especially when things are going so badly, isn’t a plan at all, it’s an ideology.

Sure, it’s fun to quote Will Rodgers and play to the expectation that Democrats are not an organized party, but if Republicans and their allegiance to the failed Bush “plan” is the result of good organization, than I’ll take my lunch with an extra helping of division, thank you.


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