- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Democrats benefit from public shift on war
As the war in Iraq and the broader battle against terror were being fought abroad, the political calculus at home changed, with public opinion shifting to favor the Democrats on an issue that long had been a Republican winner.
Republicans won the 2002 and 2004 elections in part because voters were convinced that Democrats were weak on defense and lacked the political will to protect the U.S. from terrorists. That changed as the war in Iraq grew more unpopular — a major factor in the sweeping Democratic gains last fall, allowing the party to regain congressional power.
Anti-war sentiment has been bolstered lately, with polls showing the majority of Americans disapproving of President Bush’s plan to send a “surge” of 21,500 more troops to Iraq. Most surveyed instead want to see troops withdrawn from Iraq with varying degrees of dispatch.
Rep. Jim McGovern, Massachusetts Democrat, said oversight hearings and the House’s nonbinding resolution showing disapproval with the surge plan were “long overdue,” and helped the public to realize their calls for action on Iraq have been heard.
“The American people are way ahead of the politicians in Washington,” he said. “In many cases, we’re playing catch-up, but Democrats have been able to give some meaning to public dissatisfaction with the war.
“Now the challenge is how the war comes to an end,” he said.
Despite assertions the Democrats are all on the same page when it comes to war strategy, party leaders have spent weeks trying to craft a unified position. They will give details today for a plan that would link funding to troop readiness and put more responsibility on the Iraqi government to meet benchmarks.
Rep. John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, who is chairman of the defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, yesterday acknowledged the Democrats “don’t have the votes” to cut off troop funding.
“The public doesn’t want, they don’t want that to happen. They want the troops to be entirely funded,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
But that hasn’t stopped Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio, a Democratic presidential hopeful, from pushing a bill to use existing funding to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq and seek to replace them with an international peacekeeping force.
“I don’t look at polls,” the outspoken war critic said. “I look at casualty counts. [The American people] are not interested in polls, either. They want the troops home.”
Two national polls taken last week each showed 46 percent of respondents want Congress to use the power of the purse.
In a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll, 46 percent said they would personally “vote against funding the war altogether to try to force a withdrawal.” In the survey of 900 registered voters taken Tuesday and Wednesday, 45 percent wanted to keep funding the current level of troops and 9 percent were unsure.
In the other poll, an ABC News/Washington Post survey of 1,082 adults conducted Feb. 22-25, 46 percent said they would support “Congress trying to block Bush’s [surge] plan” by “restricting funding for the war,” versus 51 percent opposed and 3 percent undecided.
That same survey also showed more support — 58 percent — for Mr. Murtha’s approach of putting onerous readiness rules that U.S. forces could not meet, thus choking off the war. And 56 percent said U.S. troops should be withdrawn even if Iraq is left unstable.
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Tech companies call for an end to NSA online snooping
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Mike Shanahan says he'd like to return; RG3 might be benched
- HARRIS: Redskins left in limbo over $7 million question
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow