I know it’s probably a delusion but if I didn’t know better I’d almost swear, after viewing the talk shows this weekend, that the Democrats are developing a backbone. Yes, I know I must be dreaming.
Still, let’s go to the videotape. First up, LATE EDITION CNN with Senator Patrick Leahy (Democrat, Vermont) and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
WOLF BLITZER: Are you ready, Senator Leahy, to give the president’s plan a chance to succeed?
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: No, and the reason I’m not is because all his other plans have failed. There’s no reason why this one is suddenly going to succeed. We’ve heard everything from the shock and awe, Vice President Cheney saying we’d be welcomed as liberators.
That was years ago, and we’ve yet to be so welcomed. We saw the president fly onto the aircraft carrier, which they had to hold out to sea for an extra day so they could do a great photo op with the — you remember the sign, “Mission Accomplished.”
We keep hearing more. There’s tens of thousands Iraqis died last year alone. We’ve had over 3,000 brave American men and women who have died, thousands more who have been crippled for life, many blinded, many lost limbs or paralyzed, and…
BLITZER: So you’re basically saying you don’t trust the president anymore.
LEAHY: No, I don’t. I mean, they have all failed. Every one of these things have failed. We’re in the middle of a civil war in Iraq, and we’re kind of sitting there getting potshots at us from both sides. I don’t know what more does.
Then there was this little gem on FOX NEWS SUNDAY , where Chris Wallace was talking with Senator Joe Biden (Democrat, Delaware), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and Senator Carl Levin (Democrat, Michigan), chairman of the Armed Services Committee.
Senator Levin, aren’t you rushing to write off a policy that in fact at least has a chance of succeeding?
LEVIN: Well, this policy has been a failure right from the beginning. It was poorly thought out. It was poorly implemented. And deepening military involvement now is not the answer. Perhaps these recent events may prove it’s not deepening military involvement that is needed. It is a political solution which is needed in Iraq. There is no way to end this violence without it. These recent events, it seems to me, prove that you can make some political progress, perhaps, without deepening military involvement by the United States.
WALLACE: Last week, Vice President Cheney was here on “Fox News Sunday,” and he said a resolution like the one the two of you are introducing sends exactly the wrong message. Let’s watch.
VICE PRES. DICK CHENEY: (From videotape.) We simply go back and revalidate the strategy that Osama bin Laden has been following from day one. That if you kill enough Americans, you can force them to quit. That we don’t have the stomach for the fight.
WALLACE: Senator Biden, I know that this is not your intent, but in fact, wouldn’t your resolution send a message that would emboldened our enemy and discourage our troops in the field?
BIDEN: Absolutely not.. And not only does Carl Levin and Joe Biden and Senator Hagel and Senator Snowe, the joint chiefs of staff, the Iraqi Study Group, every single person out there that is of any consequence thinks, knows the vice president doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I can’t be more blunt than that. He has yet to be right one single time on Iraq. Name me one single time he’s been correct. It’s about time we stop listening to that ideological rhetoric, and that bin Laden and the rest. Bin Laden isn’t the issue here. Bin Laden will become the issue. The issue is, there is a civil war, Chris.
I said way back in November, last year speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations, I said, does anyone support using American troops to fight a civil war. I don’t, and I don’t think the American people do. But if we fail to force a political consensus, that’s exactly what we will have. That’s what we have. That’s what the president has to deal with. And he’s doing it the exact wrong way. And he’s not listening to his military. He’s not listening to his old secretaries of State. He’s not listening to his old friends. He’s not listening to anybody but Cheney. And Cheney is dead wrong.
Meanwhile, over On Meet The Press, Senator Edward Kennedy (Democrat, Massachusetts) said this:
RUSSERT: You just heard John McCain say that a Senate resolution against President Bush increasing troops in Iraq, or your legislation to cap the number of troops in Iraq is, in effect, a vote of no confidence in the American troops.
KENNEDY: I suggest that the president has the responsibility to demonstrate and prove to the American people that the surge will work. This is — because the surges in the past, when we were in Najab in 2004 were not successful; in Fallujah, they weren’t successful; in Baghdad, this last year, they haven’t been successful, 2005, not successful.
The burden is on the president to prove to the American people that it will work, because this is an administration that has had failure after failure after failure, and, generally, in baseball, when you have three strikes, and you’re out. What is it with regards to this policy?
And, I must say, if we have a president that is going to effectively defy the American people, are going to defy the generals, defy the majority of a Congress of the United States in Republicans and Democrats, then we, I think, have a responsibility to end the funding for the war.