Well, maybe. They are on our side, if we don't stick our foot in our mouth. Or let the other side frame the debate. Is this a slam dunk? Hardly.
Follow me and you'll get my take on how to play the next inning.
We have got to come out of the gate saying:
The President just refused the money needed to get our troops home safely from Iraq. He is now playing politics with the troops lives by refusing to take this money and refusing to plan a safe redeployment.
The numbers seem to be on our side. 71% of Americans disapprove of Bush's handling of Iraq. 64% believe we should set a timetable for withdrawal. 57% believe Congress should have the final say on Iraq troop levels. Sounds pretty good, huh? Well, not so fast, Skippy. Take a look at this:
"The Democrats in Congress have proposed to fund the Iraq war only if the U.S. sets a timetable for troop withdrawal, too. George W. Bush has stated he will veto that proposal. If George W. Bush does veto it, what should the Democrats in Congress do next: should they try to withhold funding for the war until George W. Bush accepts a timetable for troop withdrawal, or should they allow funding for the war, even if there is no timetable?"
56% say Congress should allow the funding after the veto.
That is why we must drive home this point:
Bush refused the money.
Congress gave him the money he asked for, along with reasonable conditions for its use. Bush did not want to be bound by those conditions, so he refused the money. We must not allow the debate to be framed as Congress withholding the money. Congress voted for the money. George Bush refused the money. He is putting our troops lives at risk by refusing the money and refusing to plan a safe redeployment of our troops.
Just say yes, Georgie.