A few days ago, Jim Geraghty at TKS posted about an exchange between Charlie Gibson and Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kansas. In it, Boyda vows to not get in the way of the Commander-in-chief's handling of the war.
When I first read the quotes, I was puzzled - in a good way. I didn't understand why Democrats wouldn't fight the President on the troop surge, but I was grateful for this attitude of cooperation. (Even if I don't particularly support a "surge".) Geraghty was much more skeptical and apparently with good reason.
This morning, I read an article by Howard Fineman titled: "Sidestepping 'The Surge'". It goes into great detail about the Democrats' placid response to President Bush's latest controversial moves in the war in Iraq. Here's one clip:
"Sen. Joe Biden, whose Foreign Relations Committee will launch hearings on the war this week, said that Congress's role is simply too limited to be effective. 'It's all about the separation of powers,' he said. Last month he told Bush: 'This is your war, Mr. President, and there's nothing we can do to stop you.'"
Fineman ends with this chilling paragraph: "In the meantime, Democrats know a classic 'wedge issue' when they see one. With 21 Republicans up for re-election, Democrats would be happy to witness full-scale GOP infighting, which could catch the Republicans' '08 front runner, Sen. John McCain, in the crossfire. Democratic strategists say it would be politically foolish to help Bush by crafting a bipartisan war policy. 'Why should we try to come up with a compromise policy with him?' asks Mike Ward, a former congressman who was back at the Capitol for opening-day festivities. 'If we do that, we take ownership of the war. Why would we want to do that?' Only one reason I could think of: to end the war faster so that the troops could come home.
This all falls into the "let the chips fall where they may" line of thinking. There are many in the country who are willing to walk away from the war and let the chips fall where they may, because, heh, it's not their war. Even though both houses of Congress voted for it overwhelmingly in October 2002. Or that we reelected the Commander-in-chief in the middle of it. Or that millions of folks still bravely stick a yellow "Support the troops" magnet on their car.
Geraghty was right on when he said: "I don't like the overall tone of Boyda's comments - that she and the legislative branch can’t be held accountable for what happens from here on out regarding foreign policy. If she thinks a troop surge is a bad idea, she ought to oppose it. If she thinks it’s a good idea, she ought to support it. There’s something unseemly about privately believing a policy to be a bad idea, but voting in favor of it anyway because 'it’s what the commander in chief wants to do.' The Democrats won control of Congress last year, and with that power comes responsibility, as Spider-Man’s Uncle told us."
The Democrats were elected, partially, to provide balance in the conduct of the war on terror. Walking away from that responsibility is simply playing politics upon the lives of over a million U.S. servicemen and 26 million Iraqi's.