Feingold bill puts Hillary, Obama on the Spot

Despite Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-N.Y.) increasingly shrill rhetoric about the war in Iraq and her promise that she would "end it" as president and Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) legislation to set a timetable to pull out all troops by March 2008, the real stakes were set forth by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), who has proposed the Iraq Redeployment Act of 2007 to end all funds for the war after six months (excluding a small number of troops to train Iraqi forces).

The Feingold Bill will be the ultimate litmus test for all aspiring  Democratic candidates and no amount of anti-war speechmaking will take the place of a vote in favor of it. While the bill will almost certainly fail to pass — and would be vetoed if it did — Hillary and Obama will be hard-pressed to enlist the left in their campaigns if they vote against the Feingold Bill. John Edwards, who does not have to vote, has excoriated the "meaningless" advisory resolution, now making its way through Congress, asking Bush to please, please not send in more troops. Edwards, who will likely loudly back the Feingold Bill, will have the left to himself if Hillary and Obama cop out.

With her eye on the general election, Hillary does not want to put herself into the position of explaining why she voted to defund our troops while they were in the field fighting. But if she hews to that principle, she may not get to the general election.