Breathing Room

Sure, House passage of a time line for withdrawal from Iraq is a huge victory for Democrats with their angry, anti-war base. But a new direction in our war in Iraq it is not. What happens next in the Senate is anyone's guess — the place is the original Mickey Mouse Club where "anything can happen and it usually does." Even if the time line somehow passes there it still faces the promised veto from President Bush.

Republicans say they too are accomplishing their short term goals, buying time as they join Bush in waiting out the surge. Months from now, new pressure will build on both parties. Some Republicans will likely have to retreat from their steadfast support of the war if the surge is not successful. Democrats will be asked for bolder action still by their base, and along the way there will be political tricks up GOP sleeves. One possible example is a Republican amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill when it hits the floor this summer to cuts all funds for the war.

But Democrats can feel good this week. Finally they have bought themselves some breathing room with their supporters, and House Speaker Nancy avoided what would have been an embarrassing defeat.