Thursday, April 12, 2007

Rahm Emanuel to House Dem's: Stay Strong

Rahm Emanuel, the chairman of the House Democratic caucus, is urging his House Dem colleagues in a memo not to back down in the face of White House pressure over Iraq and instead to continue to marginalize President Bush by pointing out that he's weaker than ever and way out of step with public opinion.
The memo - provided in full by TPM Cafe - uses hard polling data to demonstrate the public's on our side, despite all the attention Bush has been getting in blaming Democrats.

Despite the attacks from the White House, nearly 70% of the American people continue to support our plan for a new direction in Iraq and a responsible, strategic redeployment of American troops over the course of the next year.
A Time Magazine poll released a little more than a week ago found that, when given a choice, 68% of Americans endorsed a proposal to withdraw combat troops compared to 28% who favored maintaining troops in Iraq “as long as needed until the Iraqis can handle the situation themselves.” This is a clear comparison between our plan, which the American people overwhelmingly support, and the President’s plan.
Polling conducted by Newsweek confirms that 64% of Americans, including 62% of independents, oppose the escalation of the war.
Bush’s job performance rating also continues to languish – he has remained at or below 35% for more than a year and is showing no signs of improvement. His approval rating streak is now in the ballpark of Richard Nixon’s in the months leading up to his resignation.
Rahm's also got specific advice for House Dem's -
The country has made a conscious decision to support our approach. With that support at our backs, Democrats must:

* Continue to pressure the President to negotiate with Congressional leaders on the Iraq supplemental spending bill.

* Highlight the President's stay-the-course, status quo strategy for Iraq

* Highlight the President's willingness to provide Iraq with an open-ended commitment of U.S. troops

* Emphasize the President now walking away from the benchmarks he laid out in his January speech.

* Remind the country that Congressional Republicans are willing to rubberstamp the President’s stay-the-course policies but have no plan of their own for Iraq.
On that last point, Jane Harman has not been very good. She's not aiming her fire at the rubberstampers in the House four-square behind their Decider-in-Chief. Instead, she says this:
I think President Bush is wrong on Iraq. And I think among his other legacies, he may end up having destroyed the Republican Party because people are bailing in record numbers and becoming independents and maybe even some of them Democrats.

So my advice to this President would be think carefully before you veto this bill. See whether there might be something you could negotiate with Congress that could be an outcome that would be in your interest, in the country’s interest, and in the military’s interest. (emphasis added)
According to what she said here, Republicans aren't to blame for their party being destroyed, it's the President that's doing it to them. As if congressional Republican lock-steppers aren't the reason Bush has had a free-hand so far. Republicans in the House and Senate can stop Bush if they want to. Nobody is forcing congressional Republicans to give the President everything that he wants on the war. If they want to ignore the will of the American people by rubberstamping open-ended war, they'll pay the priced at the next election. The fault lies with them.

Laying all the blame on Bush lets Republicans squirm away from their responsibility. I hope Rep. Harman will take Emanuel's memo to heart and get with the program.

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