Dems 'Refocus' Message on Iraq

Rick Moran
Being a hometown newspaper - with the "hometown" around 90% Democratic - the Washington Post from time to time likes to be helpful to their favorite political party by assisting them with problems they might have with the voting public.

For instance: Iraq:

Democratic leaders in Congress had planned to use August recess to raise the heat on Republicans to break with President Bush on the Iraq war. Instead, Democrats have been forced to recalibrate their own message in the face of recent positive signs on the security front, increasingly focusing their criticisms on what those military gains have not achieved: reconciliation among Iraq's diverse political factions.

[snip]

The burst of effort has been striking, if only because Democrats left for their August recess confident that Republicans would be on the defensive by now. Instead, the GOP has gone on the attack. The new privately funded ad campaign, to run in 20 states, features a gut-level appeal from Iraq war veterans and the families of fallen soldiers, pleading: "It's no time to quit. It's no time for politics."
That ad campaign, from a group called Freedom Watch," has $15 million and will run the spots nationwide starting this week.

So what's a defeatist to do in the face of military success?
For Democratic congressional leaders, the dog days of August are looking anything but quiet. Having failed twice to crack GOP opposition and force a major change in war policy, Democrats risk further alienating their restive supporters if the September showdown again ends in stalemate. House Democratic leaders held an early morning conference call yesterday with House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), honing a new message: Of course an influx of U.S. troops has improved security in Iraq, but without any progress on political reconciliation, the sweat and blood of American forces has been for naught.

That may be so but it doesn't solve the immediate problem of blocking additional funds for the surge. And the fact that Harry Reid came out and said the surge was already a "failure" even before most of the troops had arrived in Iraq puts the Democrats in an even more difficult position. How can they claim that "Of course" an influx of troops improved security when the number two elected Democrat in the nation said it had already failed?

The Democrats are in trouble over the Iraq War. The GOP isn't out of the woods by any means - not with the way the war has been prosecuted these past four years. But maybe - just maybe - the two sides can stop tearing at each other and reach a bi-partisan consensus on what our role in Iraq must be, and then support and fund that mission without all the rancor.

The American people would appreciate a little cooperation, I'm sure.
Being a hometown newspaper - with the "hometown" around 90% Democratic - the Washington Post from time to time likes to be helpful to their favorite political party by assisting them with problems they might have with the voting public.

For instance: Iraq:

Democratic leaders in Congress had planned to use August recess to raise the heat on Republicans to break with President Bush on the Iraq war. Instead, Democrats have been forced to recalibrate their own message in the face of recent positive signs on the security front, increasingly focusing their criticisms on what those military gains have not achieved: reconciliation among Iraq's diverse political factions.

[snip]

The burst of effort has been striking, if only because Democrats left for their August recess confident that Republicans would be on the defensive by now. Instead, the GOP has gone on the attack. The new privately funded ad campaign, to run in 20 states, features a gut-level appeal from Iraq war veterans and the families of fallen soldiers, pleading: "It's no time to quit. It's no time for politics."
That ad campaign, from a group called Freedom Watch," has $15 million and will run the spots nationwide starting this week.

So what's a defeatist to do in the face of military success?
For Democratic congressional leaders, the dog days of August are looking anything but quiet. Having failed twice to crack GOP opposition and force a major change in war policy, Democrats risk further alienating their restive supporters if the September showdown again ends in stalemate. House Democratic leaders held an early morning conference call yesterday with House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), honing a new message: Of course an influx of U.S. troops has improved security in Iraq, but without any progress on political reconciliation, the sweat and blood of American forces has been for naught.

That may be so but it doesn't solve the immediate problem of blocking additional funds for the surge. And the fact that Harry Reid came out and said the surge was already a "failure" even before most of the troops had arrived in Iraq puts the Democrats in an even more difficult position. How can they claim that "Of course" an influx of troops improved security when the number two elected Democrat in the nation said it had already failed?

The Democrats are in trouble over the Iraq War. The GOP isn't out of the woods by any means - not with the way the war has been prosecuted these past four years. But maybe - just maybe - the two sides can stop tearing at each other and reach a bi-partisan consensus on what our role in Iraq must be, and then support and fund that mission without all the rancor.

The American people would appreciate a little cooperation, I'm sure.