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A different tactics by Democrats on Iraq

The Democrats have long chafed at President Bush’s strategy on Iraq. For a long time, the Democrats were in a minority, and what they said or what they wanted did not make much difference in politics. But as the war lingered on, with no seemingly achievable solution, and people started getting frustrated with the continuing casualties in the war, the Democrats were able to leverage the political change to achieving a majority, the first one after Newt Gingrich plotted the Republican majority in 1994.
Even now, the Democrats don’t have it easy. They do not have the power to get a change in strategy, or to over-ride the wishes of President Bush, or to get him to do what they desire. And of course, they will not be easily able to cut off funding to troops. Such a measure is not politically feasible, and is not something that the Democrats will be able to achieve. They need to get the support of 60 members in the Senate to be able to push through a measure over the stone-walling of Republicans, and need the support of 67 members in the Senate to push through a bill that will over-ride a veto by Bush.

Unlikely, Republicans cannot be seen to be strongly supporting such a measure. So, the Democrats are trying a strategy in which Republicans are seen as backing the war in Iraq, something that the Democrats hope will push the Republicans against the wishes of their voters:

Eight bitter months and nine major Iraq-related votes later, the meaning of Reid’s pledge has come into sharp focus: Democrats will work with any GOP lawmaker willing to vote for a mandatory troop withdrawal; other Republicans need not apply. This bellicose, uncompromising legislative strategy — on display again this week as Reid refused to allow votes on nonbinding GOP-backed Iraq proposals — has been an obstacle to any real bipartisan compromise on the war all year. And it effectively ended any chance that a significant number of Republican lawmakers critical of the war would join with Democrats this summer on any Iraq-related legislation.
Instead, in the face of continued defiance from the White House, Democrats in the House and Senate are focusing their efforts on making their Republican colleagues as uncomfortable as possible in the belief that that is the only way to get through to the president. All year, Democrats have forced GOP lawmakers to vote on withdrawal proposals, betting that with each vote Republicans who back the president will feel the renewed rage of voters at home.

This strategy will make the Republicans uncomfortable, but is likely to cause some confusion in the Democratic voter base as well due to the rigid stance; and something that the Republicans are likely to use as their main strategy. Expect the Republicans to push more strongly as depicting the Democrats as unbending and against the troops, and more interested in scoring points rather than stopping the war.

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