I find myself dispirited by The Washington Post's account of what Michael Cohen rightly derides as the Democrats' "Rodney King strategy" on Iraq legislation. Simply put, acknowledging that they don't have the votes to overcome a GOP filibuster, Democrats are looking to get pragmatic and forge compromise language that might pass the Senate.

Getting pragmatic and trying to forge compromise language that might pass the Senate is, in general, something I'm inclined to support.

But in this instance, the sticking point is that Republicans won't support anything that makes Bush do anything to end the war. They want bills that somehow suggest troop withdrawals without making anything happen. But there's nothing "pragmatic" about compromising on those terms. Ideally, Democrats could secure Republican support for a bill to tie the president's hands, and thus start ending the war. But if Democrats can't do that, what they need to do is make their Republican opponents pay a price in 2008. The worst thing imaginable would be for Democrats and vulnerable Republicans alike to join hands in passing a meaningless bill that does nothing but give political cover to members of congress who, when the rubber was hitting the road, did nothing but insist on a blank check for the president.

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