In what could turn out to be a very risky political move, White House negotiators rejected the Democrats’ war funding concessions offer during a private Capitol Hill meeting. The Democrats offered to take the billions of dollars worth of domestic spending out of the bill, if President Bush would accept what amounted to a voluntary timetable to pull the troops out of Iraq. The White House negotiators immediately turned them down. “Whether waivable or not, timelines send exactly the wrong signal to our adversaries, to our allies and, most importantly, to the troops in the field,” White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was disappointed ,and seemed a bit frustrated, with the results of the meeting. “To say I was disappointed in the meeting is an understatement. I really did expect that the president would accept some accountability for what we’re trying to accomplish here,” Reid said. The political problem for the Democrats is that if they completely roll over on this, the liberal members of the House of Representatives will never vote for it, but if the Democratic leadership appeases the liberals, even a little, the bill will lose support with Republican members.

The White House is starting to play a dangerous political game here. Even though, they have the authority to keep the troops in Iraq for as long as they want, they lack popular support for doing so. If the Democrats keep offering up reasonable concessions, and the administration keeps rejecting them, it is only a matter of time until the White House begins to look like the ones holding up funding for the troops for political reasons. Bolton’s reason for rejecting a voluntary withdrawal deadline is complete bull. The signal any deadline sends is that we are not going to stay in Iraq forever. This would send a strong message to the do nothing Iraqi government, and will help troop morale, because they will at least see the potential to come home.

The Bush administration is sending a clear message to U.S. troops, the Iraqi government, and the Iraqi people. That message is we don’t care what any of you want, we are staying in Iraq. The Iraqi government knows that they don’t have to do anything while the U.S. is there, so this is fine with them. It doesn’t matter if the Iraqi people want the Americans out at some point, or that the troops might want to come home. The administration is still living under the delusion that this is a war that can be won through military force. It isn’t. That time came and went long ago. The mission now should be to aid Iraq and give the people back their country. Since the White House has no interest in this, they are going to fight tooth and nail any mention of the idea of leaving Iraq someday. The troop funding issue has become secondary to their relentless pursuit of an imaginary victory, and an ideological dream of a new Middle East that will never be.

Quotes came from here

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics
Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse
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