A big new poll is out from USAToday/Gallup on Iraq. Some of the results are fascinating. Asked which of these options they most preferred: “Withdraw all troops from Iraq immediately. Withdraw all troops by September 2007, that is, in 12 months’ time. Withdraw troops, but take as many years to do this as are needed to turn control over to the Iraqis. OR, Send more troops to Iraq,” 48% preferred to leave within the next year (17% immediately, 31% in a year), while only 9% backed the administrations plan to send in more and more troops.
For the last 9 months, about 2/3 of the public thinks George Bush does not have a clear plan for handling the situation in Iraq (a situation that 75% think is a civil war). Unfortunately, only a quarter of the public thinks Democrats have a plan. Over half think Congress is not doing enough oversight of Iraq policy.
And here’s the thing: over the last year or so, the major push that Congressional and grassroots Democrats have been making is that a Democratic Congress would step up oversight on Iraq and push for a withdrawal as soon as is practical. Some are looking for hard deadlines, others seem to prefer something closer to guidelines, but that troop levels should start decreasing fairly soon is a consensus. The status quo isn’t acceptable, and without serious oversight, it won’t be possible to know how soon it’ll be possible to start drawing down troop levels.
Congressional Democrats are just a bit gunshy about standing up for that message. I don’t know why, but I know that whining about not having a message isn’t what they should be doing. In other words, what Mike said.