Give ’em Hell (Finally) Harry!

Well, who knew? A line in the sand!

WASHINGTON (AP) After weeks of suggesting Democrats would temper their approach to Iraq legislation in a bid to attract more Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared abruptly Tuesday that he had no plans to do so.

The Democratic leader said he will call for a vote this month on several anti-war proposals, including one by Sen. Carl Levin that would insist President Bush end U.S. combat next summer. The proposals would be mandatory and not leave Bush wiggle room, said Reid, D-Nev.

“There (are) no goals. It’s all definite timelines,” he told reporters of the planned legislation.

And, mirabile dictu, it appears the American people are having a say in this.

When asked why Democrats won’t soften the deadline, the majority leader said he doesn’t have confidence Republicans are willing to challenge Bush on the war.

“I think they’ve decided definitely they want this to be the Senate Republicans’ war, not just Bush’s. They’re jealous,” he said with a smile.

Democrats are in a box on the Iraq war debate, lacking the votes to pass legislation ordering troops home but tied to a support base that wants nothing less. Several Democrats, including Sens. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Barbara Boxer of California, have said they will not vote for anything short of a firm deadline to end the war.

These members say they are responding to polls that show Americans still oppose the war, despite Gen. David Petraeus’ report to Congress and President Bush’s nationally televised address.

A poll released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that 54 percent of Americans still favor bringing troops home as soon as possible. And despite slight improvements in peoples’ views of military progress, more said the U.S. will likely fail in Iraq than succeed by 47 percent to 42 percent, about the same margin as in July.

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