Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Good Iraq News = Bad News for Democrats

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Monday that a strongly
positive report on progress on Iraq by Army Gen. David Petraeus likely
would split Democrats in the House and impede his party's efforts to
press for a timetable to end the war.
Clyburn, in an interview with the washingtonpost.com video program
PostTalk, said Democrats might be wise to wait for the Petraeus report,
scheduled to be delivered in September, before charting next steps in
their year-long struggle with President Bush over the direction of U.S.
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.
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."


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