Saturday, November 19, 2005

Here's Why the Democrats Didn't "Win" Last Night

Many Democrats are running around today believing they actually stood up to the GOP last night and won a battle. Am I missing something? Perhaps I'm just too myopic to see and enjoy the spoils of this 'victory.' I guess I have a whole different take on what went down in the House last night.

The Republican-sponsored non-binding resolution was defeated 403-3 (just three Democrats voted for it). The measure was crafted as a means of proving that there's little support for Rep. John Murtha's (D-PA) call Thursday to quickly bring the troops home and end the war in Iraq. This is a huge Republican win.

Granted, the precise wording of the Republicans' bill was different than the exact plan Murtha outlined this week, but that's secondary to the main point. Is there really a difference in true government time between "immediately" and "six months?" And besides, the typical American will not read the fine print of either proposal. To them, it's simply an issue of ending the war or perpetuating it. Sadly, they'll see ours as a vote for the latter.

The real bravery, the real excitement, would've been with each and every Democrat taking the podium and giving a spirited, impassioned plea to their colleagues across the aisle to join them in a yes vote and heed the request of the American majority that now wants us out of this quagmire. They could've voted yes on this non-binding measure and demanded that Republicans work out the subsequent details with them. Put the pressure on the Republicans. Force them to respond to America. The Democrats could've used this unbelievable opportunity in the national spotlight to stress how it was more important for them last night to vote with America than to play political games with the GOP. It would've been a major public-relations coup for the left and a major embarrassment for the right had only Democrats voted for a Republican-sponsored bill. The Dem's would've shown character, integrity and resolve, while the Republicans would've looked like manipulating partisan thugs playing political games with the lives of America's sons and daughters. Instead, we took a seat at the game table. And the attack machine will use our votes against us in the future in the most underhanded way as always. And the war goes on. And that's my point.


Lon Strickler said...

Sorry, but I think the Democrats scored a strategic blow against the GOP last night...and the GOP did all the work for them. Americans now see the schoolyard mentality of the right and how our troops are merely pawns for this Administration.

I attended a breakfast function this morning and last night's proceedings in the House was discussed openly by Democrats and Republicans. The consensus was that the GOP acted shamefully towards Rep. Murtha and that the leadership is willing to use sarcasism and satire on the floor of the House in order to make a point.

The Ostroy Report said...

I can appreciate your analysis and your point. But do you really think Mr and Mrs Middle America understands the nuances of this political maneuvering that you speak of? Do you really think they're following this little chess game that was played in the House last night? If you do, you're fooling yourself. The typical American gets his news from Jay Leno. Doesn't read the NY Times. Doesn't get juiced by reading Raw Story, Huffington and The Ostroy Report. To them, the Repug's put forth a measure to end the war. The Democrats said no. All we did was give the GOP another John Kerry-like "I voted for it before I voted against it" nightmare to ram down our throats in the future. And that's the trouble with many Democrats. They don't realize that not everyone intellectualizes everything like they do. They always trust that voters/Americans will be smart enough to sort out all the complexities and nuances of a matter and not only ultimately understand it, but form the right opinions as a result. And while we're over-intellectualizing, the Repug's are masterfully speaking to these folks in simple, layman's Bush-speak. And their message gets through, while ours end up confused and leaving us trying to explain our way out of complex previous votes and statements. Here's the Repug's strategy: "John Kerry's a coward who's not strong enough to defend America against terrorists;" "Murtha's a Michael Moore liberal;" "Democrats are obstructionsists and won't let us get anything done for you." "How dare the Democrats not support the troops." See what I mean? These statement resonate. And that's what we have to defend against. Until we stop playing college professor and start boxing with the enemy we'll sadly be on the outside looking in.

Anonymous said...

I thought the high-road for the Democrats would have been to abstain from voting at all on that sham of a Republican bill. If the Republicans were as strong and righteous as they pretended to be, they would have allowed a debate and vote on Murtha's bill.

Anonymous said...

I heard some of the cooments made by Murtha and he complemented Mr./Mrs. America on being ahead of the game. I live in a blinking crimson red state and guess what, most of the comments I hear now are along the lines of Bush Co needs to be impeached! This coming from people who have never voted for a democrat in their lives! I have to conclude that the saturation of media and the Libby indictment are having a marked effect. Keep complementing people for seeing the light re: Bush and they will come around. Or on the other hand, Keep up the pessimism and you'll get what you wish for. Take Murtha's lead and let the republicans around you know how smart they are for seeing through this mess.

Anonymous said...

Murtha is an American hero.. And ALL of America knows it.

This thing is just getting started. Let's sit back and let the reTHUGlicans hang themselves with their own rope.

Anonymous said...

Don't over react on this. The American people are against this illegal war now. Once one moves to the against side, one usually doesn't move back to the support side. The American people are beginning to see just how nasty the Repubs are.

Our problems have more to do with the 2006 elections and the favorable district lines drawn over the last 20 years to protect Repubs. It's the way the game is played. We have to fight like hell in the marginal districts and hope we can win enough seats to slow down and/or stop the Repubs.

One thing that puzzles me is how can the Repubs continue to put forth an agenda that all the polls say the American people are against? How does this help them?


Anonymous said...