FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Advice for the President: how to handle the antiwar Democrats.
I read with some interest this article which describes a supposed Blue-on-Blue fight looming over the upcoming reduction of troops:
Congressional Democrats’ misgivings about President Barack Obama’s plan to reduce troop levels in Iraq has set the stage for potentially major conflicts between Capitol Hill and the White House in the months ahead.
Obama’s announcement Friday that he will leave between 35,000 and 50,000 troops in Iraq after August 2010 brought lukewarm responses from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Both leaders have publicly questioned the decision to leave that many troops there indefinitely.
Also causing consternation is the president’s decision to finish the drawdown in 18 months. As a candidate, Obama had promised a complete withdrawal within 16 months.
Being a kind and generous soul who understands that we’re all in this together, on behalf of the neoconservative movement I am here to offer the President a little advice on how to keep antiwar legislators in line. We did it for eight years, after all; two of which were years where our party was ostensibly not the one running Congress. Heck, our best work was done between 2006-2008. So you can believe that we know that we’re talking about.
I know that you’re a busy man, Mr. President – and besides, there’s a proper snowfall in DC right now, so your kids are probably being a little anxious to get some snowball fights in with their dad – so I’ll sum up the advice quickly: just steamroller over them. There’s no need to compromise on this, given that you’ll win the fight in Congress and all of these people are depending on you to help them in the 2012 elections. If this sounds quite like “I won” to you, it isn’t, quite: when you said that earlier this year it was to people who you were trying to woo. Now you’re just establishing your authority. Not really the same thing at all, now that I think of it.
So, what you do is this. You call in Pelosi, Reid, and Rep. Woolsey of the Out of Iraq caucus and have them come to your office. Once they’re all there you get them some coffee and gently tell them that you are the Commander in Chief, and it’s your decision to dictate where the troops go, not theirs. This will be an excellent place, by the way, for you to inform them that the War Powers Act is actually unconstitutional after all (a fun tradition that every President has observed since they passed the blessed thing); that should go over well with the tandem observation that you expect that the troop reduction and spending plans to be passed through Congress with all deliberate speed. When they give you a bit of snark over that, observe idly that their caucuses are not going to want to get into a fight with the President. Then you look over at Woolsey and ask her to remind you what her Congressional District is, again.
That should work. Pelosi and Reid are professionals with no skin in the antiwar game, so they’ll know when to back off rather than give Boehner and McConnell the chance to look good with the American people. Woolsey… is, well, an antiwar Democrat. That means that it’s all about the sweet, sweet kiss of the lash for her: she doesn’t actually want to win, she just wants to be smacked around a bit and feel all self-righteous about it. So I guess that you’ll have to indulge her; the extra thrill of having it be by one of her own should give the thing a certain extra frisson.
I know, I know: it’s a heck of a thing to run a government like it was a S&M club, but it’s your caucus, not mine. I’m just telling you how to get them to do the things that you want.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.