As more up-for-reelection Republicans announce their new-found desire to change course inIraq -- welcome to the party, Rep. Doolittle! -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid issued a statement Thursday saying that it's time to put up or shut up. "We will not see a much-needed change of course in Iraq until Republicans like Sens. Domenici, Lugar and Voinovich are willing to stand up to President Bush and his stubborn clinging to a failed policy -- and more importantly, back up their words with action," Reid said.
Funny, we could have sworn we were just saying the same thing about . . . Harry Reid. Oh, right, we were: When George W. Bush demanded more funding to continue the Iraq war without a timeline for ending it, the Democrats could have denied him without a single vote from a single Republican. They didn't. Reid, like the majority of Senate Democrats he leads, gave Bush pretty much exactly what he wanted, declaring all the while that "great progress" had been made.
So yes, Mr. Leader, as the Defense authorization bill comes up next week, "Republicans will have the opportunity to not just say the right things on Iraq, but vote the right way too so that we can bring the responsible end to this war that the American people demand and deserve." But Democrats will have that opportunity as well. And having watched them pass one up just six weeks ago, why should we believe that they'll have the courage to seize the opportunity this time?