Well, for one thing, progressives across the country should plan on giving special support to Edwards, Grayson, Massa, Pingree, Polis and Speier in 2010. If we take the White House at its word, they may find themselves running for re-election while President Obama withholds his support - in retaliation for their anti-war votes.
But it's not enough to just play defense. We also need to be supporting - or initiating - grassroots campaigns to unseat pro-war members of Congress.
In the Los Angeles area, the military-crazed and ultra-corporate Congresswoman Jane Harman will face the progressive dynamo Marcy Winograd in the Democratic primary next year.
Harman's vote for the latest war funding was predictable. But dozens of Democrats with longtime anti-war reputations also voted yes. Among the most notable examples were Oregon's Peter DeFazio and Washington's Jim McDermott, who apparently found their anti-war constituencies in Eugene and Seattle to be less persuasive than the White House chief of staff.
"White House aides worked the halls during the hours before the vote, and chief of staff Rahm Emanuel called some lawmakers personally," McClatchy news service reports. "DeFazio, who was undecided and wound up voting yes, said he talked to Emanuel by phone for about five minutes as Obama's top aide explained the administration's strategy in the war on terror."
This is a crucial time for anti-war activists and other progressive advocates to get more serious about Congressional politics. It's not enough to lobby for or against specific bills - and it's not enough to just get involved at election time. Officeholders must learn that there will be campaign consequences.
When progressives challenge a Democratic incumbent in a primary race, some party loyalists claim that such an intra-party contest is too divisive. But desperately needed change won't come to this country until a lot of progressive candidates replace mainline Democrats in office.
On behalf of his war agenda, the president has signaled that he's willing to undermine the political futures of some anti-war Democrats in Congress. We should do all we can to support those Democrats - and defeat pro-war incumbents on behalf of an anti-war agenda.