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Strategy 101

sybil1.jpgMarkos over at DailyKos talks about some good advice being offered by Republican Senator Charles Grassley (no, really!) on how to get the SCHIP bill passed:

Grassley said if he were the Democrats, he would send the SCHIP expansion to a vote every three months, along with campaign advertisements accusing Republicans of abandoning children. That way, pressure would mount either on Bush to sign the bill or on House Republicans to override the veto.

If that sounds familiar, it should — as Kossack Geekesque noted earlier this year, it’s the strategy Jack Murtha has been trying to get the Democratic leadership to use on Iraq:

As I diaried the other day, the Democrats are using the strategy of Divide and Conquer.

They are peeling 1-2 Republican Senators away from the President each go around. Eventually, the entire caucus–especially vulnerable incumbents–will refuse to carry water for Bush. Eventually, his lawn will turn brown.

What better way to maximize this pressure than to apply it repeatedly instead of once or twice?


So, pass the bill with binding withdrawal language. Bush will veto it. Force the Republicans to vote again on the veto override.

Then give him three months of funding and remind Senate Republicans to circle that date on their calendar.

Then come back with an even stronger bill–make the Murtha language mandatory. Drop waiver and other wiggle room.

Force the Republicans to vote with Mr. Popularity. Twice.

Then give them another three months. And remind them to circle the date on their calendars.

And then come back with an even stronger bill.

The key is to never give that rat bastard in the White House more than three months on his leash, and to never give any rest or peace of mind to his enablers in Congress.

This, as I’d mentioned at the time, is the same strategy used by the Cumaean Sibyl. When Tarquin the Proud refused to pay the price for the nine books of wisdom she offered to sell him, she didn’t lower her price: Instead, she kept the price the same and started burning her books right in front of him until he gave in, at which time there were only three left.

The Democrats didn’t wind up doing anything near this forceful, which is a pity. But they have been making the Republicans choose between backing Bush and his war, or going with what a growing majority of their constituents want, which is to get us the hell out. And as the Republicans are becoming increasingly aware, continuing to back Bush on Iraq means a growing likelihood that they won’t have their jobs next year.

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