As much as I’d like to see President Bush impeached and the US out of Iraq, we need to be careful about what we ask for from our Democrat-led Congress. It’s essential to continue to hold the Bush Administration responsible for the mess that they’ve created in Iraq.
Getting mad at Democrats and holding their feet to the fire on impeachment and troop withdrawal may not serve our needs as Progressives at this time. Pressuring congressional Democrats to pursue an impeachment of Bush when it’s very likely he’s too well insulated to prove his lawbreaking will assuredly backfire. Democrats, especially House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, would be severely criticized for wasting taxpayers’ money on a wild goose chase. I’m not saying that the President is not guilty, but rather that he’s not impeachable at this time. I think Pelosi can get more mileage by using the threat of impeachment as leverage, while not failing at an impeachment attempt.
Likewise, demanding that congressional Democrats immediately withdraw troops or even commit to an exit timetable right now could be a huge mistake. If we start to withdraw this winter or next spring, Iraq will be mired in problems directly related to the withdrawal, instead of to the war itself. Republicans will end up looking good again next summer, just in time for the fall elections. We may want our troops out, but we shouldn’t undermine Democrats’ chances for a potentially historical firing of Republicans in the 2008 elections. We need to work with our good Democrats in Congress to establish a “war recovery plan” that gets us out of Iraq without leaving the country in a quagmire. Most importantly, a “war recovery strategy” places the blame exactly where it belongs, with the Bush Administration, yet gives our Democrats a process to find and implement recovery from Bush’s quagmire. Most importantly, it supports our troops and even maintains domestic security without undermining our chances of finally taking back Congress.
Our best approach at this point is to create partnerships between progressive organizations and the Democratic Party to develop a strategic plan that Democrats in Congress can support without damaging their chances at reelection. Specifically, we need to ensure that the Bush Administration and elected Republicans can’t use spin to blame failures in Iraq on elected Democrats’ attempts to clean up the mess Bush has made.