Democratic Congress being timid instead of tough

This blog originally appeared on Shakesville:

Harry Reid has decided that he is going to permit the Senate to vote on the Feingold-Reid amendment. The Feingold-Reid amendment, if passed, would cut off all funding for the Iraq war after March 31, 2008. Greg Sargent calls this "a big deal for war opponents --
it's the first vote in the Senate on a measure of this kind. "This is a vote that folks have been clamoring for for some time now," enthuses a staffer who works for a Senator favoring the approach. […]
The staffer added that while the measure faces an uphill struggle, a vote on it will move the parameters of the debate and force Senators into a straight up-or-down vote on the war -- just as last week's House vote on Dem Rep. James McGovern's proposal to end the war did. The staffer claims that the Senate leadership was going back and forth all weekend on whether to allow this vote. "I think there are probably some people who would prefer not to see a vote on this," the staffer says. "It forces people to take a stand."
Here's the problem with that: If it took such a Herculean effort to "allow" the full Senate to vote on a bill that would fund the war for almost an entire additional year; and if committing to a vote on that bill is considered to be such an unimaginably enorrrrrmous act of courage -- when public opinion polls going back for at least a year consistently show large majorities of Americans oppose Bush's handling of the war, think the war was a mistake, think it has nothing to do with the war on terror, and want Congress to set a deadline for withdrawal -- then why is it party time when the Senate leadership finally is able to muster the fortitude, after months and months and months of dickering, to allow the Senate to vote on a bill that is exactly what the American people want? Why are we celebrating tentativeness when the American people want boldness? Why does Congress set such low standards for itself, and why do we let them?

Cross-posted at Liberty Street.

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