Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Reid-y Or Not, Here I Bend Over

The AP reports:

Flinching in the face of a veto threat, Democratic congressional leaders neared agreement with the Bush administration Tuesday on legislation to pay for the Iraq war without setting a timeline for troop withdrawal.

[...]

Despite the concession, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters that the legislation would be the first war-funding bill sent to Bush since the U.S. invasion of Iraq "where he won't get a blank check."

Reid and other Democrats pointed to a provision that would set standards for the Iraqi government in developing a more democratic society. U.S. reconstruction aid would be conditioned on progress toward meeting the goals, but Bush would have authority to order the money to be spent regardless of how the government in Baghdad performed.

So how is his different than a parent telling his kid, "You don't get your allowance if you don't do your chores," but then giving the kid the bucks anyway?

Here we are with the Dems, in the majority (only somewhat in the Senate since Joe Lieberman is threatening to become a Republican in name as well as deed--how in the world did Gore pick him to be his Vice Presidential candidate?), with polls showing the American people are on their side, backing down from a fight with a president at 30% approval ratings and a scandal-per-week pace even Warren Harding couldn't have kept up. Reid even had the nerve, according to the AP to say "Democrats would look to a different defense bill later this summer to 'continue our battle — and that's what it is — to represent the American people like they want us to represent them, to change the course of the war in Iraq.'" I hope Reid and the Democratic leadership are on hand to greet and comfort the families of the 25 soliders a week who will die between now and the time the political fight continues. We surely wouldn't want an artificial timetable saying when our government actually chooses to represent us the way we ask them to.

Meanwhile, this afternoon I get an email from Howard Dean saying we need to show the Republicans the door. I wrote back, "When the Democrats show me a spine, I'll show them the money." Right now, I'm back to wondering what the differences between the two parties are, again. (Oh, yeah, one says they're against the war.)

In he meantime, I'm left wishing that Russ Feingold would reconsider his presidential bid. According to TPM, he has said:

Under the President’s Iraq policies, our military has been over-burdened, our national security has been jeopardized, and thousands of Americans have been killed or injured. Despite these realities, and the support of a majority of Americans for ending the President’s open-ended mission in Iraq, congressional leaders now propose a supplemental appropriations bill that does nothing to end this disastrous war. I cannot support a bill that contains nothing more than toothless benchmarks and that allows the President to continue what may be the greatest foreign policy blunder in our nation’s history. There has been a lot of tough talk from members of Congress about wanting to end this war, but it looks like the desire for political comfort won out over real action. Congress should have stood strong, acknowledged the will of the American people, and insisted on a bill requiring a real change of course in Iraq.

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9 Comments:

Blogger Mike said...

To repeat something a smart man said yesterday, "#@%##!&*#!"

4:03 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Dems are also caving on a whole series of issues relating to corporate control over governement, including regulation of lobbyists, campaign finance reform, regulation of industries (NRA anyone?), and run-away hedge funds and private equity firms on Wall Street.

I used to take comfort in the old joke with the punchline: "Democrats are so disappointing, but I'd rather be disappointed than scared to death." Now the line between disappointment and fear is all but erased when the stakes are as high as the Iraq war and global warming, and the Dems are as accountable to corporate money (including war profiteers) as the Republicans.

Can we still call the U.S. a democracy when it seems so clearly run as a "corporatocracy"?

8:06 AM  
Anonymous kusala said...

This may be irritating, but I do think it would be a ridiculous waste of time to keep sending bills to Bushie's desk that he would just continue to veto, without enough votes to override said veto.

I think Reid's comments about taking it up in the next budget to make some sense.

What alternative solution do you see? Seriously. Do you think several rounds of vetos would ever result in enough political pressure (from where?) to actually get our thick-skulled prez to cave and sign the funding-with-timeline bill?

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Bryan said...

About this bill, Pelosi was quoted on CNN as saying, “I think it’s a giant step to begin the end of the war.”

Seriously. She actually said that.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Pelosi also wanted the lobbyist drenched Murtha as her second in command.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Generik said...

I think Feingold is absolutely right (and I also wish he would run for president). This backing down from a legitimate fight -- one in which they had the backing of some 70% of the American people! -- is the same tired, vertebraically-challenged Democratic behavior that we've seen for far too many years now. I'm completely disgusted by this turn of events.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Ben Varkentine said...

"So how is his different than a parent telling his kid, "You don't get your allowance if you don't do your chores," but then giving the kid the bucks anyway?"

J'see where Jon Stewart used almost precisely that same analogy?

2:18 PM  
Blogger George said...

Ben--

Haven't see The Daily Show in awhile. Did Stewart rip me off again?

2:34 PM  
Blogger Ben Varkentine said...

He's a thief! A thief I tell you!

2:10 PM  

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