Last week’s all-night Senate debate on Iraq was high on theater but didn’t appear to accomplish much: A Democratic proposal to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq within 120 days and pull out most troops by April 30, 2008, fell eight votes short of the 60 needed to end the Republican filibuster.
With a few exceptions, Republican senators closed ranks to show continued support for President Bush’s war strategy.
But that appears to be the point of the Democratic maneuver.
“The goal of Democrats was clear: to put Republicans on record on where they stand on an unpopular war and to keep Iraq in the news, which is not good for the Bush administration,” said Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. “On these two levels, they were successful, even if no new legislation will come out of it. Democrats want Iraq to be for President Bush what Vietnam became for President Johnson: an all-consuming issue, where nothing else can be discussed.”
A recent Gallup Poll found that 71 percent of Americans favor removing almost all U.S. troops from Iraq by April 2008. The Democrats are trying to draw a bright line between the parties on the issue.
Posted by Randy Scholfield
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