I was on a conference call a couple of months ago with Speaker Pelosi in which she alluded to getting the Democratic caucus out of the minority-party "mindset." The Dems had won back both chambers of Congress, a feat few expected, and it was time to start governing with some confidence, especially when it comes to Iraq.
David Espo reports
that it took a while, but the new majority party no longer seems afraid of its own shadow. Indeed, it's the GOP that's divided and unsure of itself.
Senate Republicans are growing increasingly nervous defending the war in Iraq, and Democrats more confident in their attempts to end it.
More than a year before the 2008 elections, it is a political role reversal that bodes ill for President Bush's war strategy, not to mention his recent statement that Congress' role should merely be "funding the troops."
Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, made that clear Friday when he dismissed any suggestion that it could be November before a verdict is possible on the effects of the administration's current troop increase.
"September is the month we're looking at," he said unequivocally.
Espo notes that cheap slogans like "cut and run" have "largely come and gone" because Republicans find the alternative -- stay the course -- increasingly untenable. At the same time, Dems are stepping up with conviction. "Time and the American people are ... on our side," Harry Reid said.
It's perhaps easy to forget how far the party has come since last year. Espo notes that it was just 13 months ago that Reid "was the one hoping to avoid a vote on a troop withdrawal." When the Feingold-Kerry measure, which included a withdrawal deadline of July 2007, came to the floor, it garnered 13 votes. "Now," Kerry said last week, "it's the unified Democratic position.... In May, Republicans were dismissing even tough questions about the escalation. Now, they're falling all over themselves to distance themselves from the president."
Better late than never.