Now that Ted Kennedy’s immigration ‘reform’ bill has died a humiliating death, Democrats are trying to change the subject by announcing a new plan to unilaterally surrender in Iraq.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are expected tomorrow to announce a new coordinated effort to force votes in July to end the Iraq war, according to Democratic insiders.

Reid has already publicly declared that Senate Democrats will offer four Iraq-related amendments to the upcoming 2008 Defense authorization bill, including a proposal by Reid and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) to set a firm timetable to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by next spring.

Pelosi is planning to announce that the House will also vote on a bill setting a new withdrawal timetable of April 1, 2008, although the details of the proposal were still up in the air at press time, according to Democratic sources. The House will consider this proposal as a freestanding bill, said the sources.

Pelosi is also planning to force a vote on a proposal by Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, to repeal the 2002 use-of-force resolution for Iraq. This “deauthorization” proposal may be offered as an amendment to the 2008 Defense spending bill, which the House is scheduled to take up following the week-long July 4th recess.

One of the oldest tricks in the political playbook is to change subjects after you’ve been humiliated. The tactic has a couple of benefits. One benefit is that it plays to your political base to keep them energized. The other benefit is that it takes your humiliation off the front page. In this instance, though, Reid’s and Pelosi’s move is fraught with peril.

One peril is that they’re putting their presidential candidates in the unenviable position of having voted for defeat. Obama and Clinton pretty much have to cut off funds if they want any part of the defeatist nutroots votes in the primaries.

Another peril rising from this stunt is that they’re putting all those freshmen House members in a bad position. People don’t like the war but they hate politicians that vote for defeat.Many of these freshmen are in the south, where patriotism and hawkishness run rampant. If they vote for unilateral surrender, they’ll get their heads handed to them and Pelosi will be a single term Speaker.

Coming to think of it, there is another peril that they will have earned. They will have earned the moniker of being unserious about national security before they’ve let the surge work.

Let’s pose these questions:

What happens when the surge uproots AQI? What happens when Gen. Petraeus reports in September that major improvements have been accomplished? What happens if Iraqis make political progress? Won’t that make Democrats look more like cheap politicians than statesmen?

In the end, I’d be surprised if they pushed this to its limit because it’s just too risky politically. God knows that these Democrats aren’t that courageous.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

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