When the Left Hand Doesn’t Know What the Left Hand is Doing

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Dissension within the Democratic Party?

Gasp!

I know, I’m glad I’m sitting down too!

Just when the Democrats we’re appearing to row in the same direction, a divide occurs.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s embrace Wednesday of a rapid withdrawal from Iraq highlighted the Democratic Party’s fissures on war policy, putting the House’s top Democrat at odds with her second in command while upsetting a consensus developing in the Senate.

For months now, Democratic leaders have grown increasingly aggressive in their critiques of President Bush’s policies in Iraq but have been largely content to keep their own war strategies vague or under wraps. That ended Wednesday when Pelosi (D-Calif.) aggressively endorsed a proposal by Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq as soon as possible, leaving only a much smaller rapid-reaction force in the region.

The move caught some in the party by surprise. It threw a wrench into a carefully calibrated Democratic theme emerging in the Senate that called for 2006 to be a “significant year of progress” in Iraq, with Iraqi security forces making measurable progress toward relieving U.S. troops of combat duties. Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said last month that “it’s time to take the training wheels off the Iraqi government.”

So, among the Democratic constituency, who do you think is the real voice of the party?

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