Democrats Should Move to the Center

While Steny Hoyer is preparing for pre-emptive surrender on the Iraq timeline issue, Chris Cilizza who has no real ideological stake in the matter has some polling numbers:

Roughly six-in-ten people in the Pew sample (59 percent) said they want their member of Congress to back an Iraq funding bill that includes a timeline for American troops to begin withdrawing. Of that 59 percent, more than half (54 percent) said Democrats should "insist" on a timeline's inclusion in the legislation while 42 percent backed the party working with Republicans and the Bush Administration on a solution.

By contrast, only 33 percent of the overall sample said they preferred that their lawmaker oppose a timeline as part of the Iraq funding bill.

There's no real tactical justification for indicating that Democrats are ready, willing, and eager to back down. The public's on their side. Maybe Hoyer wants to capitulate because he opposes the timeline on the merits (he's one of the few "Hard Power Democrats" Michael O'Hanlon praises by name, after all) but if that's the case he shouldn't have backed the bill Bush just vetoed.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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