Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A not-insignificant number of conservative and libertarian bloggers (here, here, here, and here, to cite just a few) have criticized the Democratic leadership for buying the votes needed to pass their Iraq withdrawal bill passed. Even the Washington Post jumped in, asking the question: "Are Democrats in the House voting for farm subsidies or withdrawal from Iraq?"

It does seem unseemly, throwing, for example, $25 million in assistance to spinach growers in order to, notwithstanding the denials, pick up a vote or two. And there probably were some anti-war Democrats who didn't need the bribe but jumped at the opportunity to throw some extra money towards their pet interests.

I won't defend the latter, but for an anti-war liberal who wants the troops out of Iraq as fast as possible, throwing in a few billion in pork is a small price to pay for getting the needed votes. And it certainly makes economic sense to spend a little now to reap the much larger savings that would accrue from our not having to spend $100 billion plus a year to keep our troops in Iraq.

It will be interesting when push comes to shove on the Iraq funding bill whether Bush will reach out to conservative Democrats and, if he does so, the price they'll demand for their support.

And when Bush and the GOP leadership agrees to pay the price, will those conservatives who blasted Pelosi likewise condemn Bush and McConnell for doing the same? Or will they rationalize it away by saying that a few billion here and there is a small price to pay for keeping our troops on the front lines of the war on terror?

Something tells me it will be the latter...