What Rosenfeld said, with emphasis added:
If you don’t have the votes for a withdrawal timeline you don’t have the votes, but the lipstick-on-a-pig rationalizations we’re hearing from some Democrats (see the excerpts from Stoller) are truly crazy. To be blunt, even if the political calculations offered in defense of voting for the bill were correct (and that’s dubious), it’s not even an election year. Democrats are discussing all the mean things Republicans might say about them “during the upcoming recess week” as if voters go to the polls on Memorial Day — and as if the GOP and the president were in the shape they were in, say, five years ago. The instinctiveness of the crouched, defensive posture you see from some of these folks is just sorry (and a contrast with the real sense of momentum that had been notable this year up until now).
This, to me, has been one of the most baffling things about the Democratic Party’s tactical posture on Iraq ever since early 2003. You see politicians talking and acting as if the crucial thing is whether or not what they’re doing will look popular over the next 36 hours. The important thing, of course, is how things look on election day. As Sam says, if the votes aren’t there, the votes aren’t there, but the important point is that liberals who take the position today that there should be a withdrawal timeline will be fully vindicated by November 2008 just as people who avoided the temptation to pander when Saddam Hussen was captured back in late ’03 looked pretty smart by November ’04.
If the way the nose-counting works out is that a supplemental passes with GOP votes plus a tiny rump of conservative Democrats, then so be it. But if you favor withdrawal on the merits, then you’ve got to believe that taking the stand now will look prescient in twelve months. Meanwhile, all the polls indicate that the voters agree with liberals about the issue at hand.