Suppose the Democratic leadership had taken Bush’s war vote demand and said, “It is inappropriate to bring this to use immediately before the election. We’ll be glad to take this up after the election, but we are not going to bring this to the Senate floor now.”
1) It places a focus on Bush’s motives for bringing this to the Congress just before the election. One lesson we learned from VietNam is that the country must be united behind any military action we undertake. Nothing could be more divisive than introducing this war vote into the election campaign. Sensible leadership would do everything they could to AVOID the divisiveness of having the war debate occur during campaign season. But this was planned to occur DURING campaign season. Bush is a divider,not a uniter.
2) It changes the Iraq debate to a question of the immediacy of the threat, which then changes the debate to a question of the necessity of the action. If it isn’t immediate – he’s a month from getting a nuke, or something like that – then why not have inspectors in there instead of invading?
3) It places the Democrats on the side of “dealing with Iraq,” but at an appropriate time.
But this didn’t happen. The country is divided about 50/50 on whether to go to war, with most of those in favor erroneously believing that Iraq was behind 9/11 AND that they have nukes now, and many of those opposed convinced that the President has lied to the public and manipulated the election.