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Spineless Democrats – The Lieberman Factor

Arianna Huffington wonders aloud what many of us in the left progressosphere are wondering regarding the Democrats’ inability to hold strong on timetables to end the Iraquagmire:

Now the air on Capitol Hill is full of talk of “bipartisan compromise” and even Ken Salazar’s insipid proposal, which Reid himself had previously rejected as a “toothless tiger,” is getting renewed interest.

“I can’t believe how Democrats are playing this game,” a Republican strategist told me the other night. “They hold all the cards — and they are folding.”

This spineless approach is the last thing Democrats need. Do they have no memory of 2002 and 2004, when caution and timidity led to defeat? If 2008 doesn’t turn out to be a landslide for Democrats, it will be because of the seeds of caution being planted now.

We all agree (on the left) what the course of action should be:

The Democrats’ thinking on this is unfathomable — it makes no sense logically, morally or politically. They have the majority of the American people wanting to bring this war to an end; a constant stream of tragic news from Iraq; and a president committed to “stay the course” despite all evidence that the course we are on is taking us over the cliff.

It’s time for Democrats to stop sounding the retreat on ending the war and actually pay attention to John McCain, who said that if they “are serious that we ought to stop the war” they should “bring up a bill to cut off the funding and end it.”

McCain is right. Exercising their Constitutional power of the purse is exactly what Democrats need to do if they are serious about ending the war. And if they are serious about winning in 2008.

So, what is the mystery behind Harry Reid’s lack of testicular fortitude?

Holy Joe frickin’ Lieberman (CFL-Connecticut).

Here’s the math:  Dems hold 49 seats.  Repugs hold 49 seats.  Bernie Sanders (I-VT) caucuses with the Dems, as does Holy Joe, giving us a slim 51-49 majority.  That means we get to control the agenda and run all the committees.

But Holy Joe likes the war.  Holy Joe wants more war.  For Holy Joe, we can’t begin invading Iran soon enough, as well as escalating in Iraq.

So, if Reid and the Dem leadership push hard on withdrawal, Holy Joe pushes back and jumps ship, caucusing with the Repugs.  That gives us a 50/50 split, which means the 4th branch of government, the Cheney, becomes the tiebreaker.

No more control of agenda.  Split leadership of committees.  More Repug stalling and obfuscation in those committees charged with investigating the numerous crimes of the maladministration.

In other words, if Reid and the Dems don’t allow more US troops (and innocent Iraqis) to die in the desert, the Senate can’t investigate and hold accountable the Bush crime family (whether they would actually do so in any meaningful way is a debate for another post).

Now, I wouldn’t post this if there weren’t a serious method by which we could short-circuit the Lieberman hold over the Dems, and it harkens back to my favorite story of the last two weeks:Senator Larry Craig and Senator David Vitter.

Specifically, it is time for the Dems to “go Rove” on Vitter and force the Repugs publicly back the diapered john from Louisiana.  Tar the party with the hypocrisy brush for ousting Craig while supporting Vitter.  For if Vitter can be forced to resign, the Dem governor sets his replacement, and with a 52-48 majority, we can tell Joe Lieberman to go Cheney himself.

But better hurry.  Louisiana’s having an election for governor, and who knows if Dem Kathleen Blanco can survive a post-Katrina election.  With a Repug installed by Jan 2008, he could replace Vitter with a Repug. 

So, in the next four months, can the Dems create enough of a Rovian shitstorm to cause the ouster of Vitter?  Can the Dems push the “family values hypocrites” meme enough with Repugs throwing Craig under the bus but giving Vitter standing ovations?  Can the Dems play hardball politics and destroy David Vitter in order to save a few hundred soldiers’ lives and the good standing of this country and extract us finally from the Iraquagmire?

Uh huh.  I think you know the answers as well as I.  Lieberman will continue to hold Reid hostage, Vitter and our troops are going nowhere, and the next Republican president in 2008 (since Hillary will be nominated and lose decisively, especially if California’s electoral votes end up being split) will continue this debacle for another decade.

(On the bright side, while we’ll be in Iraq longer than Vietnam, the Iraq War Memorial wall won’t have as many names on it, because combat medicine is so much better these days.  I’d suggest you buy stock in prosthesis manufacturers.

(Unless we invade Iran.  Then nukes are on the table and casualty bets are off.)

Major hat tip to the Rude Pundit for the initial Vitter/Lieberman point.

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