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The Buffalo Syndrome: Dems Waiting for Slaughter on Iraq

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With the media focused on the sectarian warfare engulfing Iraq and public opinion opposed to a troop surge, Democrats can't move their herd anywhere when it comes to Iraq.

It's beginning to cost them.

The 110th Congress of Democrats is ruled by a quorum of politicians who survived in the minority for 12 years by caving to the Republican agenda.

Led by Newt Gingrich in 1994, the Republicans leveled the Democrats into obeisance simply by exuding unflinching conviction in the pursuit of crappiness.

Last November, voters changed the leadership, but Dems shuffle uneasily beneath the specter of a strong GOP on the issue of Iraq.

Like a pack of buffalo whose eldest is picked off from the first gunshot of a hunting party, Dems now control the destiny of the Congressional herd but remain motionless as slaughter approaches.

The Democratic victories in November were built on promise and hope, but it never came from the politicians now in majority power. The people hoped; and the people allowed themselves to make little promises they dreamed Democrats could keep.

In these pages I have long maintained that Democrats would pay for indecisiveness and spinelessness. Little more than one month into the new year, my predictions are coming true.

A new CBS News poll shows that while 67 percent of the electorate opposes President Bush's troop surge, 45 percent oppose non-binding resolutions against it.

These numbers are glaringly inconsistent, and they can only reflect poorly on the Democrats. The same number of people who oppose Bush's plan should favor a resolution against it--67 percent.

They don't because talk radio has blasted non-binding resolutions as fraud for six weeks, and Democrats have not formulated a clear and decisive PR campaign to counter the GOP.

Moreover, Dems in the Senate and House opted for a flimsy non-binding resolution instead of advancing purposefully with audacious threats for Republicans who block progress--a clear symptom of the buffalo syndrome.

More bad news: while 53 percent of the respondents believe Congress should block funding for the military, 42 percent oppose this option.

Non-binding resolutions and power of the purse cover practically the whole spectrum of alternatives Congress can pursue to thwart the President's plan--which 67 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION OPPOSE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Public opinion is the fickle pillar of democracy. It is built by leaders. Those who turned America against this war and these Republicans deserve credit for Democratic victories last November.

Since then, Democratic politicians have squandered the opportunities they enjoy as a majority to buttress their authority with new pillars of popular support. They have squandered the opportunity to create public opinion.

Voters smell fear in politicians. The Dems' tepid support and limp PR push for a non-binding resolution has signaled weakness to voters, and the new CBS poll proves they want nothing to do with a resolution so rancid the Democrats will hardly handle it.

It won't take Republicans long to begin campaigning on a definite strategy for Iraq, and when they do Democrats will have lost every opportunity they were given.

Two years from now, Democrats will realize that they were given a chance to save this country from corruption and corporate greed. They will realize that they had a chance to do great things while they enjoyed popular support. They will realize that they remained motionless when they should have run; that they were slaughtered when they could have gored the GOP; that they lost power when we needed them the most.

This is a time for bold Democrats. The leadership should let us hear the voices of Senator Jim Webb, Democrat of Virginia, and Bernie Sanders, Democrat of Vermont. They should let us hear Rep. John Conyers, Democrat of Michigan, and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Democrat of Ohio.

If the "centrist Democrats"--i.e. those interested only in keeping their jobs--dare not speak words that must be spoken, let others speak truth. If they will not take steps that must be taken, let others take them. If they will not break chains that must be broken, let others break through.
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Dean Powers lives in Castleton, VT. He has apprenticed at several newspapers including The Nation. He currently writes for OpEdNews. He can be found at

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