Smiles Won't Stay on Republican Faces

As the House leadership searches for a principled yet politically practical course on funding the war in Iraq, it appears that Republicans are unified and resolved but Democrats are mired in turbulent and burgeoning disarray. Republicans in the House wear wide smiles when asked about their success thus far in staying united, while two months into power the Democrats continue to divide. If the supplemental spending bill for the Iraq war isn't "clean" and is loaded with the dates certain or Democrats' conditions, they can vote against it, they claim, because they have been consistent with the American people about protecting the troops.

The liberals are squirming and want hard deadlines. The conservatives are warning they can't sign on to anything that appears to micromanage the war or compromise the troops. This is more than a headache for Democratic leaders in the House and Senate. But a close ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)reminded me of the big picture yesterday. Sure, Democrats are scrambling now, split and struggling to get enough numbers to pass their bill. But, the ally said, the legislative sausage-making on Iraq won't be under the microscope in 2008 — the Republicans' unity and refusal to buck President Bush will be.
It may feel good for Republicans now, but if they put off joining the Democrats in a solution, they could soon find themselves in another election just like 2006.