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It’s only a compromise if both sides give up something

I’m as big a fan of Rep. Nick Lampson as you’ll find. Which just makes it that much harder for me to read stories like this in the paper.

Concerned by the troop withdrawal timelines in a huge war funding bill, U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson is among a cluster of House Democrats urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi to back away from a showdown with President Bush.

Look, it’s very simple. George Bush is not going to do anything different in Iraq. His plan is to keep the troops there until he’s out of office. The one thing he will never do on his own is begin a withdrawal of any kind. The only way to make that happen is to pass a law mandating troops withdrawals. There is no compromise here because he isn’t going to budge. The only option to a “showdown” is to acquiesce to what he wants. I can’t think of any good reason to do that, and as every national poll indicates, neither can a solid majority of Americans.

It would be nice if there were some middle-ground position, one that gave everyone something that they wanted, which could be reached after negotiation and compromise. But there isn’t – not today, not tomorrow, and not any time before January 21, 2009. George Bush has very clearly set the terms of this debate. This is one of the very few times that I would counsel taking him at his word. Once you do that, the proper course of action is obvious. I sympathize with Rep. Lampson and the position he feels he’s in. But this is how it is.

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One Comment

  1. Hamilton says:

    That is a very good point. If lawmakers start from the sure knowledge that Bush will never begin troop withdrawal during his term… they would be better suited in knowing how to act. Basically, ‘Bush will never budge – what are our options?’

    I think the biggest factor is political timidity of the Democrats. They fear being labeled as ‘traitors’ and ‘cowards’ and ‘undermining the troops’ when they should realize that the majority of Americans no longer support the war. They also don’t want to inherit the blame for whatever happens after US troops leave.