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Sounding as if he’s been reading the comments section here at Show Me Progress, Bill Maher recently challenged Rahm Emanuel to lead the Democrats in defunding the war.  (The similarity of opinion is, of course, just great–or anyway, not stupid–minds thinking alike.)

[S]ome Democrats will fear that Republicans will be able to successfully blame us for “losing Iraq,” as happened with Vietnam. We will, it will likely be argued, have to suffer another generation as being branded the “weak party.” But just as with the FISA capitulation [. . .], there is no strength to be had in admitting that your political opponents have a better argument. That is especially true when they do NOT have a better argument.

So Congress must make a choice, and, I would argue, take a risk. Speak now on Iraq, or forever hand the issue over to Republicans.

Emanuel took a shot at defending spinelessness, and the audience was not patient with him.  You can see part of the conversation here:

Emanuel argues that some of those soldiers are his constituents and they’ve been over there without Kevlar vests and their parents were buying the vests for them.  We can’t defund the war, in other words, because we’d be cutting off the funds for armored Humvees.  Emanuel insists he wants a date certain for withdrawal, but every time Congress sends Bush that proposal, he vetoes it.

But Maher cuts to the chase:

I’m saying instead of sending them the best armor so that they can go out and get killed with the best armor, somebody’s got to starve the beast.

Democrats are afraid of losing a seat here or there by taking too strong a stand.  Look.  If I thought I could save hundreds of lives by losing my seat and I took the chance of that happening, I’d figure I’d done good.  And by the way, taking a stand is what would almost certainly preserve my seat.  As one commenter pointed out of Rahm’s tepid stand on the war, the Dems have “wandered in the desert for so long they continue to mistake every oasis for a mirage.”

Michael Eric Dyson summed up Maher’s side of the argument:

The problem is the Democratic leadership itself has not made up in its own mind to be willing to go to the max for the purposes of defending theose kids over there.  That’s the ultimate victory, and when we have that kind of courage, then we can do something