House Congratulates Iraqis, Votes Down Timetables

Yesterday, the House of Representatives adopted a Republican-sponsored resolution that congratulated the Iraqis on their election and put the House on record opposing any fixed timetables for withdrawal, which the resolution termed “fundamentally inconsistent with achieving victory in Iraq.”

The Democrats tried to offer an alternative version that congratulated the Iraqis but punted on withdrawal. Perhaps the most significant difference between the two resolutions, though, was that the Republican resolution mentioned “victory” seven times, the Democrat one not at all.

As always when the Republicans get specific on Iraq policy, the Democrats cried foul. A few days ago, Nancy Pelosi announced that the Democrats will take no unified position on Iraq for the 2006 elections. Pelosi credited this to a diversity of opinions within her caucus, and termed the issue of Iraq a matter of individual conscience. Fine; but when the Democrats are asked to state what those individual positions might be, she howls with outrage:

“Once again the Republican majority brings to the House floor a divisive resolution to denounce those who disagree,” said Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.

Got that? It’s bad for the Republicans to pass a resolution saying that timetables are a bad idea, because some Democrats disagree with that proposition; and letting the voters know which representatives hold which opinion is “divisive.”

Most Democrats are defeatist on Iraq, but they don’t seem to be very confident of their defeatism. They still fear that the President’s Iraq policy will turn out to be a great success–which is looking ever more likely–and that their defeatism will be discredited.

For the record, the Republican-sponsored resolution passed 279-109, with 59 Democrats voting for it. 108 Democrats and a Socialist voted against the resolution, and 32 Democrats and two Republicans voted “present.” Now, that’s what I call political courage!

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