Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Success in Iraq "A Big Problem"

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D, S.C.) said that a positive report by General David Petraeus in September before Congress "would be a real problem for us."

Clyburn noted that Petraeus carries significant weight among the 47 members of the Blue Dog caucus in the House, a group of moderate to conservative Democrats. Without their support, he said, Democratic leaders would find it virtually impossible to pass legislation setting a timetable for withdrawal.

"I think there would be enough support in that group to want to stay the course and if the Republicans were to stay united as they have been, then it would be a problem for us," Clyburn said. "We, by and large, would be wise to wait on the report."

Many Democrats have anticipated that, at best, Petraeus and U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker would present a mixed analysis of the success of the current troop surge strategy, given continued violence in Baghdad. But of late there have been signs that the commander of U.S. forces might be preparing something more generally positive. Clyburn said that would be "a real big problem for us."

[You can watch the video here. You need to get through a commercial, a 7 minute spot and then about 3 minutes into the second spot is when they get into it.]

One of the interviewers asks a hypothetical "What if General Petraeus comes in and says this is going very, very well?

Clyburn responds that "it would be a real problem for us - no question about that." He does go on to say later that "...none of us want a bad result in Iraq."

Clyburn, who comes across as measured and reasonable, may not. But here's the problem: the Democratic Party has staked their electoral fortunes in 2008 and potentially far beyond, on the failure of our effort in Iraq. It is a deeply irresponsible and indefensible position by the Party of Benedict Arnold.

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