Friday, March 23, 2007

Taking What We Can Get and Preparing for the Next Battle

I'm glad to hear that Nancy Pelosi appears to have the votes to pass the House leadership's supplemental bill.

I think Atrios has got it right on the Iraq Emergency Supplemental:
It isn't perfect, but the choice isn't between nothing and a pony, it's between nothing and this. From what I understand Pelosi has called in every chip she has (and thrown some elbows) for the Bill. Whatever its imperfections, it's better than the realistic alternative.

And Chris Bowers' thoughts give me a little hope that progressives, despite the divisions between the purists and the pragmatists on this supplemental, may both walk away with something:
The more I think about it, at least in the short term, both camps in the progressive side of this debate will actually get what they want. This bill will pass the House, but it will also never pass into law. Many anti-war activists don't want any more spending bills for Iraq to pass into law, and they want to start by defeating this one. When Republicans defeat this bill via Senate filibuster, or when Bush vetoes the bill, anti-war activists holding that position will get their wish, as this bill will be defeated. It will not be defeated in the way they want it to be defeated, but it will be defeated nonetheless. At the same time, those of us now favoring the bill will get what we wanted: headlines showing Democrats trying to end the war, but being thwarted by Republicans. Pelosi will look like a strong leader, and the Democratic caucus will look unified. In the short term, not only have Democrats won the politics of this fight, but there still won't be any more money to continue the Iraq war. We all won.

He also highlights the need for anti-occupation Democrats to unite quickly for the next battle:
I indicated yesterday that the next fight would probably be engaged over the Department of Defense appropriations bill in late April / early May. However, when this bill--the one we have so agonized over--is defeated either via filibuster or via veto, the fight over the Iraq supplemental will continue. And we will need to work together on that fight. If there is any attempt to cave to Republicans, and pass a bill with no restrictions whatsoever, people on both sides of the current debate will need to join together to help defeat that bill. You better believe I will help whip votes to defeat a straight-up funding of the war. Further, if Democrats decide to scrap this bill, and start over with new legislation, we will all need to work together to make the language stronger, rather than weaker. Yet further, even apart from this bill, we will need to make sure that provisions which were stripped out of it, such as language requiring congressional approval for any military action on Iran, are not only given a vote on the House floor, but passed by the House. In short, no matter what happens, once this bill is passed we will need to continue working together to help bring an end to this war.

And I like his bottom-line comment at the end of his post:
Passing this bill through the House won't result in the war getting one more dime, while simultaneously giving us all a huge amount of political capitol. That sounds like a helluva victory to me. Progressives performed well during this fight, as for once the final approval of a bill had to go through us, not the Blue Dogs. That is an added bonus, even apart from the Iraq victories. Now, let's move on to the next one, and get ever stronger.

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