Jim Bennett’s new column is the first one I have ever seen by him that I don’t agree with at all. He argues that Bush should now go to Congress and get a declaration of war, before going into Iraq. He does not take the declaration passed by Congress last Fall to be sufficient. I disagree. I do not think that the Iraq war is going to require a massive mobilizing of the economy for war, for example. We will win it with what is in place. We could win it with half of what is in place.
More importantly, Bush cannot win a Congressional vote at this point. The Democrats, like any political party, have to satisfy their core constituencies. That core is violently anti-war. The core anti-war group is a community of activists that have worked and organized together for 35 years. They are planning civil disobedience in the event of war. Opposition to the war is becoming a litmus test for Democrat Presidential contenders. (See this piece, cited by Instapundit.) In other words the anti-war community is fired up and fully mobilized.
The pro-war group is not organized, not nearly as fiery in their views, and is growing demoralized by the President’s endless foray into the United Nations, and the President’s own seeming qualms about going to war.
The Democrats smell the possibility of a major victory against Bush. They smell weakness and hesitation on the part of Bush. They see that his supporters are hardening in their views but not increasing their numbers. And so they are on the attack. This is Politics 101: attack where your opponent is weak. If they can somehow cause Bush to back down they can declare victory and they can repudiate everything Bush has done in foreign policy since day one as a failure, a joke, a disaster. If Bush were insane enough to seek a new vote in Congress, the Democrats would see this as a gift from the Gods. It would be a concession of fear, of weakness. They would now have a rallying point to oppose Bush. They’d filibuster if necessary. They’d put millions of people into the street. They’d do anything to beat Bush. There would be euphoria on their side.
There is no way whatever that Bush could get a declaration. And there is no way he could be reelected if he asked for one.