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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Winning the war

There are positive signs of movement in the war.

No, not Iraq, where leaders seem to be having problems punching their way out of paper bags.

I mean in Congress, where there is a shift in the war of words -- and a sign that Democrats are going to favor pragmatism over rhetoric.

One thing lost in liberal outrage over George Bush's failure to heed to will of the majority of Americans in their call for an end to US involvement in Iraq is the fact that while Democrats have majorities in Congress, they don't have a working majority.

That means nothing happens without 50 percent-plus one in the House. In the Senate, it's worse. That body's rules require 60 percent.

The blame for the lack of progress in Washington rests squarely on the backs of Republican senators and representatives who have remain hidebound in their support of Bush's dictatorial impulses.

But Democratic leaders deserve blame, not for failing to act within nine months of assuming congressional leadership, but for not trying to find common ground. Until now.

The Petraeus-Bush "plan" really isn't one -- other than trying to dump the whole mess into the lap of the next president. It is an insult to the intelligence of every American to say we're going to remove only the extra troops we stuck in against your will -- because we have to -- and call it the start of the withdrawal.

Shame on media outlets who fall for that snow job.

But at the same time, it has become crystal clear that the man who wouldn't listen needs to be made aware that he is elected and and responsible to the majority -- not just the ever shrinking cadre who believe him.

The way to do that is to put chinks in the armor of the dead-ender congressional Republicans who enable him. Pick 'em off one at a time until Bush is standing alone.

If incremental efforts proposed by congressional Democrats do the trick, all the better.

I too am concerned about more lives being lost while this partisan brawl continues. But I have a feeling that Bush's armor can be eliminated fairly rapidly. A few lost votes and troops will start flowing home.

The mood in Washington has been almost as toxic as that in Iraq, minus the bullets. A good compromise (not a dirty word), that would be the first step to bringing peace at home.

And listening to American voters.

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