Rahm Emanuel calls for Democrats to hang tough
This is a piece of very welcome news. Here is a memo from Rahm Emanuel urging all Democrats to hand tough and continue to pressure Bush on the war funding resolution. Now Rahm Emanuel has not been one of the most progressive and anti-war members of the Democratic caucus. Indeed he has come under considerable fire from the left side of the party for being too centrist, too DLC. So, if Rahm Emanuel has adopted this position then the Democratic leadership is united and we are in an excellent position to keep the rank and file similarly united. In other words, even the Blue Dogs should be willing to go with what he is saying. Here are a few choice quotes from the memo
We find ourselves in a strong position because the American people support our policy objectives and our plan for Iraq, especially as they measure up against the failures of the administration’s policies. As we continue through the process of sending an Iraq spending bill to the President for his approval, we need to go beyond the debate about the funding for the war, and remind the American people of the policies we are recommending -- benchmarks for the Iraqis, support for our troops through training and equipment, and a plan for a responsible and strategic redeployment of our troops. It is also important that we remind the country of the policy position of Congressional Republicans on Iraq – their rubberstamping of the President’s Iraq policies, and their refusal to conduct responsible oversight.
President Bush has continued to demand Congress provide him with a blank check for an open-ended commitment of American troops in Iraq. Democrats and the American people agree that we must change direction in Iraq by providing our troops with the resources and protection they need, while planning for a strategic and responsible redeployment of US troops.
As we move forward, we should not lose sight of the fact that nearly 70% of the country supports our plan for Iraq. The country is more engaged in this issue than any other, and has paid close attention to the plans offered by Democrats and the President. The country has made a conscious decision to support our approach.
Read the whole thing but these are exactly the kinds of things I want to hear from the Democratic leadership. Given the position Bush is in over this funding bill, I am absolutely convinced that the Democrats can win this fight if they do just hang tough. With members of the Democratic caucus such as Rahm Emanuel articulating these ideas, we should be in good shape.
Given the Republicans' unwillingness to offer their own alternative or plan for funding our troops and changing direction in Iraq, Democrats must remain resolute while publicly urging the President to join us for meaningful negotiations on the supplemental. While we will never reject out of hand any offer from the President to meet and discuss the supplemental, we must insist on meaningful negotiations with the White House.