Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Well, I suppose it was inevitable, in light of stratospheric expectations colliding with insufficient congressional numbers, that the surprising (to me, anyway) inability of the Democrats to pull the plug on the war (yet) would trigger another civil war - this time, on the Left:

Congress’s failure to secure a timetable for withdrawing American troops from Iraq has split anti-war activists on the tactical question of whether to attack Democrats, who now control Capitol Hill.

The split has also underlined accusations among some activists that MoveOn has abandoned its credentials as an issue-based advocacy group and now instead provides cover for Democratic Party leaders.

Anti-war activists throughout the country are united in spending August pressing lawmakers to bring U.S. troops home. But tensions within the movement have been bubbling for months over tactics and whether their fire should be aimed exclusively at Republicans.

The divisions underscore the tough position Democrats are in — short of the sixty votes needed in the Senate to pass binding restrictions on the war and far shy of the two-thirds majority in both chambers required to override a presidential veto.

My reaction to this is mixed at best. That's due, in large part, to the expectations I had that the Democrats would quickly defund the war way back in January. That IS what they were elected to do, first and foremost, after all. With the defeated Republicans in full, disarrayed retreat, and President Bush neutered and helpless to veto war funding bills that would never be enacted, I fully anticipated the Middle East disaster that the American people voted for last November.

But that didn't happen. The Democrats proved to be long on sizzle and short on steak. Back in power, but not by all that much, they retained some lingering fear that if they acted upon their 2006 campaign anti-war rhetoric, it could derail their momentum and come back to bite them in the ass in 2008. So they temporized, passing one non-binding anti-war resolution after another, while taking three months to finally pass funding bills for ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Also, they were, if not outmaneuvered, than certainly faced down by a Bush White House that finally adapted its strategies in both D.C. and Baghdad. Turns out there was some fight left in Dubya after all.

Now the nutroots, true to form, have missed the big picture, exploded in their trademark infantile rage, and bailed prematurely. All the moveon.orgers have done is (and it would behoove their counterparts on the Right to take careful note) recognize that without winning elections, none of their agenda is attainable. With public opinion on the war gradually turning favorable again as the success of the "Surge" mounts, it's only prudent for Dems to quietly hedge their bets, lest they end up in the McGovern position next November.

The fever-swamp gamble is that al Qaeda and Iran can blunt the "Surge" with a "Tet offensive" of their own right before General David Petraeus makes his much-anticipated interim report to Congress next month. That would knock moveon back on their heels and drag the Dem majority back toward the full-blooded anti-war stance.

The "Islamist Tet" is probably inevitable, but its success isn't. If things don't turn out the nutters' way, they risk making themselves permanently irrelevant as an influence over the Democrat Party going forward. Surely not what Kos had in mind when he started this gig.

Perhaps they always were irrelevant. With the Clinton Machine back in the command chair, that reality may only now be dawning on the "Kidz".

But a Donk "civil war"? Please - the Kos-hacks and DUmmies were never in the game. In the end, they won't throw away their seat at the table - even if it is of the folding variety.

UPDATE: Ditto the nutter anger over the recently passed FISA revision - which sunsets in six months anyway and will be revisited early next year. And it'll probably have a very similar result, and for the same reason.

UPDATE II: Brother Meringoff concurs.