The Republicans are very smart. They know that the Democrats have the power to stop the war.
Yes, The Democrats have the power and the votes right now to stop the war. They don't need Republican help. They don't need Joe Lieberman. They don't even need all the bluedog dems.
The problem is the Republicans have, brilliantly, made the Democratic leadership afraid to use their power. They have framed the use of that power as anti soldier, anti-troops.
The Democrats have the votes now to cut off funding for the war. This will not suddenly stop shipments of food or ammo to soldiers in Iraq. THe military has billions, maybe even trillions of dollars in "black money pots" stashed all over the planet, hidden from congress.
But a refusal to further fund the war unless the troops are withdrawn would cause a confrontation between congress and the president. It would cause a confrontation that would force the Pentagon to re-evaluate their relationship with the commander and chief and the congress. In families, this is called "triangulation." It's not a great thing in family systems, but in a pathologically impaired "system" like we now have in the US, triangulation may be a very good thing.
The pentagon might just wake up to realize that Bush and Cheney, who have done more to embarass and shame the US military than any enemy in its history, no longer have full control of the reins of power. The Pentagon may just start leaking whistleblowers. It would be about time. It is sad and frightening that there have not been courageous truthtellers coming out of the military. The failure of truthtelling whistleblowers to emerge from the military is a sad indictment of the military culture. THey are more loyal to their power and hierarchy than to America and her freedoms.
The Dems have the power now. The Republicans have, so far, effectively mounted a campaign that directly attacks that power.
The Dems have the support of the American people. The Dems need to find the courage to stand up to the spin, which is just that and nothing more. The Dems need to embrace their power, block the funding and be proud of it. They will be attacked by the Republicans, who will accuse them of abandoning the troops. That's just spin. But it's old, tired, weak spin, like "cut and run" and "hold the course."
The Dems can laugh at the Republicans failure, their incompetence and their track record of letting the troops down-- with Humvee armor, Kevlar vests, Walter Reed-- letting America down with Katrina...
The Dems can attack back-- HARD-- that Bush and his rubber stampers had four years to "achieve victory" to support the troops. But they have failed. They are impotent blowhards spewing a lot of hot air.
They have not had the sense to plan the war and they do not have the guts to tell the truth-- that their failures lost the war.
The Republicans will whine back, weakly with their old message. They are very bad a being nimble on their feet, message-wise. So they will just keep saying the same thing. The Dems must get creative in calling the Republicans failures, incompetents and losers. The Dems must weave together the failure in Iraq, Katrina, Walter Reed, diplomacy, the fact that Bush has recreated the deal that Clinton had with Korea... there's a whole litany.
The question is, which members of congress have the guts to do this. Whoever does will be setting his or her self up for a run for the Whitehouse. This will be tough talk, leadership and courage in action.