With floor debate heating up over two bills introduced by Russ Feingold, Congress is back debating Iraq. Republicans are confident they can argue the surge is working (cf. here for an alternative assessment), and Democrats are rolling out a new war critique in order to frame the issue for the 2006 2008 election. The new tack will highlight the costs of the war--a smart idea that allows Dems to:
a) Transition seamlessly into discussion of voters' economic woes;
b) Neutralize McCain's reputation as a staunch opponent of wasteful federal spending;
c) Appeal to hardheaded, fiscally conservative independents--hopefully vacuuming up voters that are one of McCain's core constituencies.
On Thursday, Chuck Schumer will hold hearings on the economic costs of the war, featuring Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz.
If you want an idea of what Stiglitz's testimony will sound like, check out his conveniently-timed upcoming book The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict. (Were that we could all kick off our upcoming book tours in a nationally-televised Senate hearing!) Presumably, Stiglitz's arguments will play a role in the Dems' Iraq line as the general election approaches.