Reid Admits He COULD Block Iraq Funds - But He WON'T
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On Friday, Ed Schultz challenged Harry Reid's bogus excuse that Democrats need 60 votes in the Senate to end the war.
Mega-kudos to Schultz for getting Reid to admit that he could - even single-handedly - keep the Iraq funding bill off the floor and thereby end the war, even without 60 votes. So why won't he?
Schultz: But Senator don't you have the power to say you're not going to get the money even without 60 votes?
Reid: Sure we have the power on anything to stop the money, that's what it's all about, that's why we have three separate branches of government.
But the thing we have to do is make sure we do it the right way. It's not a question of all or nothing, it's a question of making sure we do the right thing.
What Feingold and I have pushed and we're going to continue to do that... get all the troops to start redeploying immediately, get all the troops out of there by June except those needed for counterterrorism, protecting our assets we have there, and a limited force for training Iraqis. That's what Fenigold and I believe should happen, we're going to continue to push that. The majority of the Democrats support it, but not all the Democrats.
Schultz: But you could say we're not bringing this to the floor, the funding's over, correct?
Reid [very slowly]: Yes, we could do that, yes.
When you listen to Reid here, it's as though he never once thought about his power to keep Iraq funding off the floor.
Schultz: Why don't you do that, the American people want you to do that?
Reid: Ed, it's a situation where we have to do what is right... I say that Feingold and Reid are right. We say there should be immediate redeployment, set a deadline that everybody should be out except a limited number. That means they're gonna have to have some money... the troops there fighting counterterrorism, which we need, that is going to be some money, we have to do that.
Of course Schultz is right to push for a funding cutoff, which has the support of 40% of America.
But if Reid truly believes in keeping some troops in Iraq for counter-terrorism, he is making a huge strategic mistake, one Bush would never do - he's negotiating with himself.
Reid could get the result he wants by using his power as Majority Leader to block all funding for Iraq. Then when Bush gets concerned, Reid can persuade Bush to agree to the compromise he describes above.
Of course Bush could refuse to compromise, in which case Bush would have to steal money from other accounts to keep the occupation going on his terms. And then Democrats would have one more reason to impeach him - and they would have the support of 73% of America.
So Harry, if you want to negotiate with Bush, start by blocking all funds - and make Bush compromise to meet your terms.
It's called Hardball - and it's what we expect of anyone who wants to call himself a Democratic Leader.