The NYT's editorial page is on a quest, along with all of us, for an effective Congress:
If you were one of the Americans waiting for Congress, under Democratic control, to show leadership on the war in Iraq, the message from the Senate is clear: "Nevermind." The same goes for those waiting for lawmakers to fix the damage done to civil liberties by six years of President Bush and a rubber-stamp Republican Congress.
The Democrats don’t have, or can’t summon, the political strength to make sure Congress does what it is supposed to do: debate profound issues like these and take a stand. The Republicans are simply not interested in a serious discussion and certainly not a vote on anything beyond Mr. Bush’s increasingly narrow agenda....
Democrats and Republicans who oppose the war have a duty to outline alternatives. Those who call for staying in Iraq have a duty to explain what victory means and how they plan to achieve it. Both sides are shirking an obligation to deal with issues that must be resolved right now, like the crisis involving asylum for Iraqis who helped the American occupation.
Congress is the first place for this kind of work. Right now, it seems like the last place it will happen.
The failure of Levin-Reed this morning isn't something to mourn. It was as flawed a piece of legislation as that disastrous supplemental bill sent to the White House last spring, the one that purported to have teeth but really only succeeded in showing the Democrats' hand to Bush--tough talk but little of substance to back it up.
The failure, however, of the Democrats to understand that a strategy of relying on moderate Republicans to do them any favors was doomed to fail, that failure should be celebrated. At least it should be if the Dems actually do realize the enormity of the mistake they made in basing any of their hopes on Republicans. It's awfully late to be learning the lesson, but better late than never.
Where does that leave us? Where Chris Dodd is:
"While a firm deadline is necessary, it is not sufficient without it also being enforceable through the power of the purse. Given this President's loyalty to his own failed policy, it is clear to me that anything short of firm, enforceable deadline that forces his hand will only serve to perpetuate our involvement in this civil war. I will only vote to fully fund the complete redeployment of our troops out of Iraq."
It's also where 80 members of the House have drawn the line. Let's make it 100, at least. Call your Representative and your Senators. Tell them to hold the line on funding. Tell them to fight back.