This Washington Post article provides additional insight into how divided the Democrats are on what their option is toward Iraq. The title of the article is “Iraq Bill Vexes Democrats”. I’d say a better title might be “Democrats Caught Betwixt and Between”. Here’s what I said in this post:

After showing signs of unity of mission during the campaign, Democrats are splitting in all directions on Iraq policy. This was predictable because their Nutroots campaign contributions base is demanding that they end the war, a move that would cost them the 2008 elections. Their desire to please the Nutroots’ demands is countered by the understanding that they’d be swept from office. That self-preservation instinct still runs strong.

Here’s how the Washington Post put it this morning:

House Democratic leaders offered a full-throated defense last night of their plans to link Iraq war spending with rigorous standards for resting, training and equipping combat troops, saying that they would hold President Bush accountable for failing to meet those readiness tests. But after a fractious meeting of the House Democratic caucus, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Democratic members still have not united around the proposal.

That self-preservation instinct is still functioning. The Nutroots gang thinks that the American people are on their side, which they aren’t. I suspect that the Nutroots crowd would even prefer defeat in 2008 over ‘infidelity’ within the ranks on this issue.

The truth is that Democrats don’t have alot of options on this. Yes, they can run roughshod on Republicans in the House but they’re in a position of relative weakness in the Senate. House Democrats know that many of them are in what I’d call ‘borrowed seats’, seats that they don’t stand a chance of keeping in 2008. If they push unilateral defeat too hard, they’d likely lose marginal Democrat seats in 2008, too.

More than a week after Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) detailed plans that he said would curtail deployments to Iraq, Pelosi and other Democratic leaders said the coming debate on war funding would be about forcing the administration to live up to existing military requirements. War funds would be redirected toward equipment, such as night-vision goggles, that some troops lack. Democrats would insist on giving combat troops a year off between deployments, and they could impose restrictions on Pentagon policies that extend combat tours.

I double dare them to try this option. They’d be crushed for it because Murtha let the cat out of the proverbial bag when he said this:

The Murtha plan, based on existing military guidelines, includes a stipulation that Army troops who have already served in Iraq must be granted two years at home before an additional deployment, Marines must be given 14 months at home, and any troops sent to Iraq must be those deemed fully trained and equipped under existing military standards. The idea is to slowly choke off the war by stopping the deployment of troops from units that have been badly degraded by four years of combat.

“They won’t be able to deploy troops unless they extend troops overseas. And if we limit the extension, then it’ll be very difficult for them to continue this surge, which the American people are against and the Iraqis don’t want,” Murtha said yesterday on National Public Radio.

Democrats started fleeing from that proposal the instant he said it. Some people were mightily upset with Murtha, not because they disagreed with the policy, because he gave away their plan. It’s irrelevant because Democrats will be asked to vote on a supplemental spending bill to fund the war. Once they pass the bill, the President can sign it and ignore the stipulations that get into micromanaging the war because Congress can’t play commander-in-chief. They have the option of defunding the troops but they’re too gutless for that.

That’s why I’m positive that they’re in ‘God’s little acre’: west of the rock, east of the hard place. That’s right where I want them to be.

They would also condition some war funding on benchmarks for the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel, (D-IL).

Emanuel is a smart operator but he’s pushing it there.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

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