The Brewing Democratic Civil War

Nov 23, 2009 12:02pm

ABC News’ David Chalian Reports:  You think keeping 60 Democrats together on health care is rough?  Just wait for the debate over President Obama’s eagerly anticipated Afghanistan strategy comes to a full boil. Take a look at the recent tea leaves being distributed by three powerhouse Democrats for some White House Thanksgiving holiday reading. House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI) tells ABC News’ Jon Karl that "there ain't going to be no money for nothing if we pour it all into Afghanistan." Rep. Obey’s shot across the bow came on the heels of Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) telling Bloomberg News’ Al Hunt that a war tax on the high earners might be necessary to fund a surge of troops into Afghanistan. The cost of human life and limb is, no doubt, the one that weighs most heavily on President Obama as he prepares his final touches on his Afghanistan strategy, but the estimated cost of $1 million per solider per year in the current economic context and its impact on other Obama priorities is one the White House is taking into very serious consideration. Add that to Speaker Pelosi’s skepticism about achieving the United States’ goals in Afghanistan while Hamid Karzai, whom Pelosi calls an “unworthy partner,” remains at the helm of the war torn country. Yes, getting 60 Democratic votes to hold through the Senate health care debate and then again through conference is a monumental task for Democratic leaders on the Hill.  But the vast majority of Democrats are united behind passing health care reform. On Afghanistan, Democrats are mixing a much more dangerous political brew for President Obama.  The White House takes pains to say that domestic political calculations are not a part of the president’s strategy review process, but the political reality of a revolt by his fellow Democrats due to his surging troops into Afghanistan is not easily ignored.

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