We Deserve a War Debate


For the life of me, I can't figure out how it's advantageous for Republicans to postpone a vote on the war. I understand the cute politics that is being played here: The Republicans (led by the White House) are essentially trying to call the Democrats' bluff. If you're really against the war and the troop surge, they taunt, then vote to cut off funds. And the Democrats won't do that–and they know that any measure that says "we won't cut off funds" for the troops is bound get unanimous approval. And the president could claim the largest victory.

So the Senate is stuck in a procedural morass, because Republicans can block anything unless the Democrats get 60 votes to support it. But the public is in no mood for games. Even though what the Senate is about to debate is a nonbinding resolution, it's very important: The voters spoke against the war in the last election, and they at least deserve a debate about it. If the Democrats get their act together and make it clear that most Republicans are trying to protect the president from an antiwar vote, this could backfire–big time–on the White House.

It's a little strange, I must say, for Republicans to bellyache about "fairness" in the Senate chamber because they are being denied everything they want. It seems they have taken a page from now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's minority playbook, and they're now doing exactly what he did as minority leader: obstruct. It's the way of the Senate, after all.

But the American people deserve to hear a real debate. So just do it.