Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Dems on Iraq: Don't Let Bush Win

Pelosi is threatening to withdraw plum committee assignments of Democrats who vote against the Iraq bill.

Meanwhile, the Politico reports that the pressure has nothing to do with the merits of the Iraq mission. Rather, Democratic leaders want to make sure their Members don't let Bush win:

Waters said that she and other opponents of the spending measure had entered the weekend with 20 to 25 members on their side but that they had suffered "a lot of damage" as Democratic leaders aggressively urged members to support the bill.

Vowing to step up her efforts to hold the opposition, Waters said it was clear that Democratic leaders were mounting an all-out whip effort beyond the earlier informal surveying by Democratic Whip James Clyburn (S.C.).

"This is a vote of conscience," Waters said. "Jim Clyburn said he was doing an assessment, so that's what I was doing. Now that he's whipping, I'm going to start whipping..."

One congressman, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid retribution from leaders, bristled at how aggressively he was being pressured to vote for the bill, singling out Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) as especially forceful.

"I really resent this," the lawmaker said. "Rahm Emanuel told us a vote against this bill is a vote to give the Republicans victory."

The congressman also noted that Democratic leaders had "made clear" to him that they might yank funding requests he had made for projects in his district if he did not support the measure.

The Democrats have argued that this debate is about supporting the troops, and pushing for a 'political solution' in Iraq. But the truth lies in what Rahm Emanuel is willing to tell his colleagues, but refuses to state in public: they can't let Republicans win.

In the next national election, it will become plain to Democrats that they are not trusted on the issues of national security and terrorism, and it will be because the voters see that they still don't take these questions seriously. Plainly, they are willing to put politics before national security. If that wasn't clear from their willingness to buy votes by adding billions in pork (which is working on Members like Pete DeFazio, at least), then it's clear when Emanuel is quoted saying things like this.

Note: the Politico also reports that they are down 14 votes. At this stage of the game however, it's clear that they are applying maximum pressure. I'd regard it as pretty likely they'll get to 218.

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