WAR FUNDING….One more comment on Bush’s additional war funding request. Here’s the official spin:

Bush included no war funding in his fiscal 2005 budget, and he had hoped to avoid such a request until after the November election, fearing a divisive, campaign-year debate over the war’s conduct and future….

You shouldn’t believe this for a second. Here’s how the voting factions will break down:

  • Republicans will support the additional funding nearly unanimously.

  • A small number of Democrats will vote with the Republicans.

  • Anti-war Democrats will vote against it. Bring the troops home!

  • Moderate Democrats will dither, not wanting to hurt the war effort but not wanting to give Bush a blank check when it’s so plainly obvious he has no credible plan for moving forward in Iraq. Result: public indecision, amendments asking for this and that, and demands for tax increases to pay for the whole thing.

Bush and his advisors know perfectly well how this script plays out: in the short term Bush has to put up with a public debate about how things are going in Iraq, but once the dust settles the impression left in everyone’s mind is that Bush and the Republicans are resolute while Democrats are squabbly and indecisive when it comes to national security. Far from “fearing a divisive, campaign-year debate,” this is exactly what Bush wants. Keeping the war front and center is pretty much his entire campaign strategy.

We’ve seen this Kabuki show before. Don’t fall for it.

POSTSCRIPT: Of course, there’s another question lurking here too: which group of Democrats will John Kerry find himself in? Or will he be able to turn this to his advantage somehow?