As an author of numerous articles about Democratic division on Iraq, I have a confession to make. My ears and eyes can only take so much.
Over and over for the past two weeks, as the House and Senate debated the war, we've heard that "Democrats are divided."
Obviously it would be better politically and substantively if Democrats could unite behind one policy--and that policy specified that we should leave, preferably within a year. But I'd prefer a party that openly struggles to find the right policy over one that blindly follows the President over a cliff.
Take one example: Senator Rick Santorum. In August, Senate challenger Bob Casey accused Santorum of failing to ask "tough questions" about the war. Santorum responded that he had raised concerns, "public and privately." When asked to find an example, Santorum's office admitted "that it cannot locate public statements of the senator questioning the Iraq war." Now Santorum is saying we found WMD's in Iraq!
Such situations are all-too frequent. Only three Republicans in the House voted against their party's rigged resolution expressing the sense that "it is not in the national security interest of the United States to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq."
When the Senate votes today on an amendment by Carl Levin and Jack Reed calling on the President to submit a plan for redeployment, expect few, if any, Republicans to jump ship.
So maybe the story should be why so many Republicans continue to mindlessly follow this President and his never-ending war?
The Levin-Reed amendment for the first time unites most Democrats around a call for the phased redeployment of US forces, to begin by the end of the year. Senators John Kerry, Barbara Boxer and Russ Feingold believe the US should leave sooner, with a timetable. It's healthy debate.
A lot healthier than what is happening on the other side.