Republicans vs. DemocratsOkay, so where are we at with Iraq now?  Let's see… the Democrats have decided to give Dubya his war funding with no strings attached, the surge escalation is doubling, and Plan B if that double-down doesn't work (inconceivable!) is apparently to go back to Baker-Hamilton, or maybe start a war with Iran.

Fantastic.  Junior just had to prove that he could tie his shoelaces All By Himself without Poppy's help, and now his pants have fallen down and he's peeing all over the carpet (and shitting all over the bed) – which makes the prospect of having to tie his shoelaces for him a lot less appealing.

But I digress into unsavory and incoherent metaphor.  What I mainly wanted to do was recap my voter's-eye view of the Iraq funding resolution, and offer up a possible solution, which is probably wildly naive and unrealistic.

First, the recap:

BUSH: I need money to keep my war going.  I'm the war president and you'll do what I say.

DEMOCRATS: No, the American people want us out of Iraq, so you can only have your war money with withdrawal deadlines attached.

BUSH: Don't wanna.  You can't make me.

DEMOCRATS.  Oh.  Okay.  Guess we'll have to give you exactly what you want, then.  But we sure did register our strong preference for withdrawal before, didn't we?  High five!

AMERICAN VOTERS: Why did we vote for these guys again?

Yeah, I understand that there are political realities, fragile coalitions, various Blue Dogs and Nelsons, skittishness about "not funding the troops," all that stuff.  But here's my thought: What if the Democratic leadership didn't have to worry about holding their skinny antiwar coalition together?  A majority of Senators and Representatives voted for a funding resolution with timelines once, right?  And Dubya vetoed it because he figured he could use his veto and his phony funding deadline to badger the Democrats into giving him his money with no strings attached.

Well, what if he couldn't?  What if all the Democrats (and handful of Republicans) who voted for timetables the first time around signed a pledge to their constituents and the American people, a blood oath that they would never vote against any funding resolution with comparable terms, and that they would never vote for any funding resolution with weaker terms? (Needless to say, they would be free to vote for one with stronger terms.)

If the Democrats-Plus coalition declared their absolute opposition to the war and made it clear that all the presidential vetos and artificial deadlines in the world would not sway them, then I think Dubya would eventually have to cave in order to keep his precious war going.  Of course, the tricky part would be getting everyone to sign the pledge, but I think it's at least possible if the anti-war congresscritters knew that they wouldn't get hung out to dry by anyone else changing their vote, and that all their signatures would make Dubya think twice about using his veto.  And it couldn't hurt to remind them that, oh yeah, EVERYONE HATES THE WAR and they would have to explain to their constituents why they were for the war after they were against it.

On the other hand, the worst-case scenario would be that Dubya calls their bluff and just keeps vetoing, and lets the troops run out of food and bullets and fuel so he can blame it on the Democrats.  He may very well be the only president in history who would be capable of such a tactic.  I'm not sure it would work, but the Republicans and corporate media would certainly do their part to sell it.

I guess it's too late for the Democrats to sign the pledge now, but perhaps they should consider it when The Final Friedman expires in September.  Unfortunately, if the Republicans are true to their word (ha!), then the inevitable lack of progress would let them ride to the rescue as the heroic war-ending Sensible Republicans, sealing the deal that that Ineffectual Democrats could not or would not.  Yes, it's an unfair frame, but the media would eat it up, and it would suck all the air out of the Democratic campaigns in 2008.  We cannot afford to let the Republicans be the heroes after five years of villainy.

(Photo is a dramatic re-enactment of the current Republican-Democrat dynamic on Iraq, using adorable kittens)