From the Washington Post:
War opponents dismissed the bill as a capitulation to Bush and said they would seek to hold supporters in both parties accountable. But backers said the bill’s provisions — including benchmarks for progress that the Iraqi government must meet to continue receiving reconstruction aid — represented an assertion of congressional authority over the war that was unthinkable a few months ago.
Bush, who had vowed to veto any legislation with restrictions on troop deployments, announced he would sign the $120 billion package, which was approved 80 to 14 last night in the Senate, after a 280 to 142 House vote.
Surrendering to a president who manages 30/70 approval ratings is amazing to me. Amazingly stupid.
The message Democrats sent is…
- The are afraid of Mr “28 Percent”
- They don’t know that the majority of Americans actually support the Democrats on the war funding issue.
- That since Democrats won’t fight for the important “life and death” stuff, why trust them with leadership on anything?
It frustrates me that Democrats buy into the idea that they’ll be blamed, somehow, for not giving the President exactly what he wants. It is absolute bullshit, and political malpractice, to chicken out in such a obvious way. Democrats had real momentum, and they gave it away when they blinked.
Democrats initially showed real toughness by sending Bush a bill that funded the troops and ended the war. Predictably, Bush vetoed that bill (and vetoed funding for his own war!). Instead of realizing the vast storage of political capital they have on hand, Democrats folded quickly, and sent Bush a “clean” bill, which funded the troops without any real accountability.
And you know what? Maybe, at some point this summer, the coalition of Democrats standing up to Bush was going to break down.
But it didn’t have to happen this soon, this early, and in such a gutless manner.
A fellow liberal blogger asked me at last weeks’ Drinking Liberally if I too was quitting the Democratic Party… I had to smile, as I knew he was joking. I told him, “what the fuck else am I going to do?”
Some Democrats constantly throw in the towel in a way conservative activists don’t. First it was Bankruptcy Reform legislation, then it was John Roberts, then Sam Alito, then this. Certain lefties always threaten to ditch the party, to “work down ticket”, to stop doing whatever it was they were doing to support the candidates who have let them down. This goes on until the pain goes away, but is soon reignited by the next great “letdown.”
If I’ve managed to glean a difference between blogger activists and regular activists, it’s that the blogger activists are way too quick to throw in the towel. These so-called reality-based freedom fighters of the blogosphere are nothing more than fair-weather friends. It’s an odd thing to say, considering I’m a “blog-guy,” but the lack of resolve shown by liberals on the web illustrates why blogs are only good for so much.
The Democrats who know nothing of blogs are often the toughest. These Democrats know that the road is long, and it is hard, and that you can’t explode in outrage at every opportunity. Even if Democrats keep voting for more funding for Bush’s war, I’ll still be around. Somebody has to be, if only to tell them that they’re wrong.
You can thank the gutless, spineless, cowardly John Barelli wing of the Democratic party for this shit. This is exactly WHY we need to tell punk-ass cum-drunk bitches like Johnboy to shut the fuck up. We OWN the fucking Congress and traitors like Johnboy want us to “work with the other side,” which means give in.
It’s not too late to stop this. Get in touch with your Democratic representatives and tell them you will vote for REAL Dems next time around if they can’t carry their own mud.
RES- actually, we do not own the Senate. With Johnson still not voting due to his stroke and Lieberman voting for the war, the D’s do not have a majority to oppose the war. Unfortunate fact, but true
John Barelli spews:
I was pretty disappointed myself at the way the whole war funding bill seemed to just implode on itself.
Even if the Congress didn’t choose to simply send the President the same bill again and again and again until he finally had to either sign it or let DOD’s checks bounce, there were other things they could have done.
What I expected that we’d finally get was something where there were timetables that the President could override only by certifying to Congress that additional time was needed and identifying areas of progress.
Yes, they would have been almost meaningless, but at least it would have been something. Instead, we just caved in completely.
Either our Congresspeople are getting some really poor advice or there is more to this than we are being told. I’m not sure which of those alternatives bothers me more.
John Barelli spews:
Oh, and Mr. Minion. Yes, I know you’ve been told to be as obnoxious as possible so as to keep anyone from taking us seriously, and you’re doing your very best to get moderates to believe that the Democratic party wants us all to leave and vote Republican, but it is getting a bit old.
I’m sure you’ve heard from the various Republican strategists that if you can just get a quarter of the moderates to just stay home instead of voting Democratic, that you Republicans have a good chance of winning.
Sorry, Mr. Minion. Not going to happen.
John Barelli spews:
Karl Rove Playbook 101 for liberal blogs:
Let’s see. Who around here seems to fit this description?
The bottom line is that the statesman in the Democratic part are doing what is wise. They are putting pressure on Bush to do as little harm as possible while not allowing him to fuck up a precipitous withdrawal.
Only an ideologue, sorry Will, would want to require GWB to manage a rapid end of this war. Retreats are strategic exercises that require a commitment by the leader to sense. Anhone here stupid enough to to think Bush could pull that off needs to stop drinking Kool-Aid.. More likely, Bush would REALLY make a mess and President Hillary Edward Obama will inherit both a mess and the blame.
I have a longer post on this at my BLOG.
Kevster in NC spews:
Lefty bloggers and commenters at many sites this week have expressed their outrage at the Dems capitulation to Bush. Now that they have vented it is time to get back to the real work of changing W’s misbegotten, poorly-executed policy. We will not go away and we will stand up to the thuggish cabal that has hijacked our Democracy.
We will keep up the pressure and we will prevail.
John Barelli spews:
It is difficult to conceive that the President would do any better job of coordinating a withdrawl than he has of managing the war. Yes, if it was left up to him he’d probably turn the withdrawl into a debacle and then blame the Democrats for making him do it.
Unfortunately, the alternatives are probably even worse. I really doubt that the uniformed leaders would allow the President to deliberately orchestrate a bloodbath of our troops on the way out just to embarass the Democrats. (You’ll note that I’m not saying that he wouldn’t consider it, just that he couldn’t get away with it.)
Actually, the only possible justification I can find for our Congresspeople not requiring some sort of timetable for withdrawl is that they may believe just as you apparently do, that the President cannot be trusted to withdraw from an ATM without messing it up, but if that’s the case, I wish that they would have had a bit more faith in the uniformed leadership of the military.
There are no good answers to any of this. Just decisions to be made as to which of the bad answers we’re going to have to live with.
John Barelli spews:
After reading the comments from your blog, I note a couple of additional arguments that do hold some water, but I still find myself thinking that our Congresscritters could have done more.
Please correct me if I’ve misunderstood any of your points.
1. Withdrawing now puts Iraq into the Iranian sphere of influence.
Probably correct, but I’m not sure that there is an answer to that problem, unless we’re willing to remain in Iraq indefinitely.
2. The Kurds in the north and the Sunnis in various areas around the country will likely find themselves subjugated.
Also probably true, especially for the Kurds that allied themselves with us, and are disliked by all of the other parties involved.
3. An Iranian controlled Iraq would put additional pressure on Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. At the very least this would add more fuel to the Arab/Israeli conflict and require those nations to further distance themselves from Israel, making it just that much harder to come to any peaceful solution there.
Yes again, but I still see no long-term alternative. We’re buying time with the lives of our troops here. It has been said that this is one of the things that the military does. We buy time to let the diplomats sort things out. (I’m something of a Jerry Pournelle fan, and suggest the Falkenberg stories as excellent reading.)
Unfortunately, we keep buying the time with lives and blood, but the diplomats aren’t stepping up to make use of it. They seem to be using that time to allow the whole mess to fall apart on the next guy’s watch.
In two years, the diplomatic situation may well have deteriorated to the point where the best President Clinton / Edwards/ Obama / Richardson / Whoever can do is just get out and let the chips fall as the may.
I sure do wish that I had a better answer.
I think you are forgetting that Congress’s approval ratings are lower than the President’s.
YOS LIB BRO spews:
NO WAY ANYONE IS GOING TO GET SOMETHING LIKE THIS PAST THE CHIMPANZEE’S DESK WITHOUT A VETO-PROOF MAJORITY.
SO IF PEOPLE REALLY WANT THIS WAR TO END SOONER RATHER THAN LATER, THEY HAVE TO THREATEN TO PUT THE CHIMP FAN CLUB OUT OF A JOB COME NOV 2008.
EVERYONE SHOULD SEND THEIR CHIMP-CHEERLEADING REP AND SENATOR A NOTE TELLING THEM WHAT THEY THINK.
USE THE WEB, USE SNAIL-MAIL. JUST GET ‘ER DONE.
WHO KNOWS? MAYBE THEY’LL CHANGE THEIR TUNE COME SEPTEMBER.
Facts Support My Positions spews:
You want to continuously complain about McKay, why don’t you explain to your readers what happened to the four lawyers Robert Fitrakis, Susan Truitt, Cliff Arnebeck and Peter Peckarsky in Ohio. They sued Bush-Cheney since no one was going to look into the flawed election there in 2004.
Just for bringing a lawsuit, backed by a pile of evidence piled on a pallet 10 feet high (since I know you love voter fraud/suppression evidence) these lawyers were reprimanded.
All the people committing crimes in the 2004 election process are all Republicons, and they have yet to be indicted.
The evidence is overwhelming, and there is not a single federal investigation?
That is the “Loyal Bushie” effect right?
Since I am banned at Sound Politics, I was not able to post the following comment about Democrats wanting to surrender to terrorists:
So Jimmy, if the Iraqis refuse to work things out, as they have for the last few years, then what do we do?
How many trillion dollars, and thousand American Soldier’s lives shall we waste waiting for them to divide up the spoils?
Since it is up the the Iraqis, since it is “their” country, how long should we wait? How is forcing the Iraqis to take responsibility for their country retreat?
They have had their chance.
Just think about it. Why do the people that shoot at our soldiers not consider themselves terrorists, but just Iraqis trying to drive a non muslim, ally of Israel, invader from their land?
Got an answer?
Stefan has to ban people that are not Con Robots.
How sad. How very sad.
Speak the truth, and get banned.
Conservatives hate people that tell the truth. It makes them look bad.
Don’t believe for a minute that Publican plant Johnboy cares about you voting. As a wannabe Publican, he hopes that you stay home. Me, I hope you vote for REAL Democrats and that you do everything within the bounds of the law to make life Hell for the traitors like Johnboy so he’ll either become a real Dem or quit the charade of being a Dem.
Capitulation *is* the first word that came to my mind when I watched the Dem leadership throw in the towel after making a token resistance.
IMO, one possibility for the capitulation of the Dem leadership is that they are more in agreement with at least parts of the neo-Con philosophy than they want to admit. Another reason would be that the current geo-political landscape, with the tremendous damage done by Bush and his cronies, can be attributed entirely to the Republicans, and the Dems want to use that sense of dissatisfaction in next years’ presidential race. Now they can say they showed the president that they would no longer be a blank check, which is complete BS.
If the Dem leadership does indeed want things to stay the way they are now in order to reap political hay in the future, then I hold them in just as much contempt as I do Bush: they are willing to let our guys die in order to win political points, and I think that’s despicable.
The Dems had all the momentum and they caved, a lot of people are going to remember that.
harry poon spews:
How bright do you think the average American is?
Not very, I’m afraid.
If Democrats had stuck to their guns, at this point, you’d have heard nothing but a relentless din from Fox and the MSN ALL SUMMER LONG about how every thing was going wrong BECAUSE DEMOCRATS REFUSED TO SUPPORT THE TROOPS.
You know it’s true. Too bad some soldiers will die because of it. But, that’s reality.
FricknFrack, Seattle spews:
Hey Will, yes, nicely put!
Glad you opened the dialog on this subject because it has left me totally bamboozled! The Dems have been sending me more emails than a drunken spammer on speed lately. Telling how hard they are committed to following the voters’ direction from last Nov blue-wave election – that they hear LOUD & CLEAR what the voters have mandated. I’ve been sending emails and signing petitions accordingly.
Then, suddenly THWAAAWP, like some wet rag dropping and flopping. Without warning. Helpful here to get more insights from you all to boost up the spirits!
Give ’em hell Goldy!
Umm – This is Will’s posting…
All caps is hard to read and on the internet it is considered the equivalent of shouting. A little contrast can make a point better than ALL CAPS, ALL THE TIME. So please stop.
In general, Congress _had_ to fund the war effort. It was just a matter of getting what they could. Which, apparently, wasn’t much given they have the same approval rating as the President.
Nobody WANTS a war, but if you’re in one, you either win it or you lose it. I’d prefer to win it.
A number of folks have suggested achievable outcomes from Iraq that would be better than where we are headed now:
1. Quietly beg forgiveness from France and Russia for George II’s behavior, inclding them let them recover their loans (cheap at the price) in return for supporting a stable post-Sadaam Iraq.
Involve China. They need the oil more than we do! If necessary scare thenm with the possibility that we would close the straits of Tamuz.
2. Invite Syria onto a post Saddam role on control of the central part of Iraq. They have lots to gain and nithng to lose by this esp. if they can get cut of the oil/ A trans Syrian pipeline already (I believe) exists. I suspect The Saudi would buy in as well as a counter to Iran.
3. Work with Arab Shiites to develop a government in the South that takes advantage of Shiite concepts of democracy while rejecting Iranian suzereignty and the authority of the Iranian Mullahs ovr Arab shiites. Alternatively, and radically, encourage a Hamas like effort alongside a Hezbollah like Shiite effort and then stand back as they slaughter each other,
4. Work with SA, Egyot and Europe to enforce peace in Israel. This would not be as hard to do as it seems if we could get the Yahoos of Europe to chip in $$ to build a functional economy in Jordan and Palestine. We might also threaten to turn gaze back over to Egypt if Hams can not learn to govern.
All this can happen if we can reincarnate Bizmark/Kissinger to work out a balance of power between regional powers, Ideally this wold include finding a way for Egypt to help stabilize SA.
This is adult stuff, not doable with the toy mentality of George II.
Dave Gibney spews:
Don’t you folks realize that no one was going to go home for MEMORIAL fucking DAY with the “abandoning troops in the field” albatross hanging even close to their neck! They got the best they could for this cycle of the process!
Jenna Bush spews:
Everything is unfolding just as the universe intends. Come September Daddy can’t get drunk enough to figure out how to con another chunk of change from Congress.
Dave, the albatross is around the President’s neck, not Congress’. The Democrats had a strong hand, and they folded like a cheap patio set.
Roger Rabbit spews:
@4 To tell you the truth, John, I don’t buy your theory that RES is a troll. There really are progressive Democrats who get this mad at centrist Democrats. I’m not one of ’em; I’m a big-tent bunny. Hell, it takes a big tent to hold all my relatives!!! Both of you need to understand that we not only have lots of different folks under our tent — some of ’em impatient (and impertinent) idealists, some of ’em plodding pragmatists — but we need ’em all! That’s called a coalition, and it’s why we ran this country for 75 years (until it was stolen from its citizens by rigged voting machines).
Me, I’m a Democrat to protect my carrot supply — it’s all about carrots. I LOVE CARROTS!!! I gotta eat too. My growling tummy told me to be a Democrat.
I’m a Democrat so that someday I can live like a Republican.
Roger Rabbit spews:
If there’s one thing I’m sure RES and John Barelli can agree on, it’s that any Democrat is better than any Repubican! As shown by historical facts:
Jobs Records of Presidents
(as percentage of workforce)
Democrat Roosevelt 5.3%
Democrat Johnson 3.8%
Democrat Carter 3.1%
Democrat Truman 2.5%
Democrat Clinton 2.4%
Democrat Kennedy 2.3%
Republican Nixon 2.2%
Republican Reagan 2.1%
Republican Coolidge 1.1%
Republican Ford 1.1%
Republican Eisenhower 0.9%
Republican Bush Sr. 0.6%
Republican Bush Jr. (0.7%)*
Republican Hoover (9.0%)
* As of Dec. 2003
Roger Rabbit spews:
Hey all, I want you to think about this:
In the last Congress, the Democrats were completely spineless.
In this Congress, the Democrats have 1 veterbra. That’s not much, but it’s 1 more vertebra than they had before.
That’s progress. You can’t expect them to grow a whole spine overnight. These things happen one baby step at a time. If you’re patient, before you know it our Democratic congresspeople and senators will be walking upright without the training wheels.
Deluded Congress spews:
I’ve heard non-sense reasons. One is that the issue is over the senate and who controls it. Irrelevant.
Indulge me, and follow my reasoning:
1. The House — regardless what the Senate or President does — cannot be made to put money into the budget.
2. If the President vetoes a bill, he gets no money.
3. If the President vetoes a bill, not only does he get no money; his veto doesn’t put the burden the the House or the Senate to put money in. Rather, the House — outside the President and Senate — can zero-out the budget.
4. If there is no money, then the Presidential “veto” of nothing is meaningless.
5. Thee House is more powerful than the Senate and President: It can zero out a budget, refuse to act, go on extended debate, and there is nothing the President can do to make the House do anything.
6. This House does not realize it is more powerful than the Senate and President; and is acting like an elephant who, since it was a baby elephant, has been tied to a stake with a chain. The House does not realize the chain is weaker than the power of the House.
This President has deluded America to believe they have no option but to continue with what the CIA said could cause more problems, blow back, and a breakup of Iraq, hardly something a President could [paraphrasing] “plan a democracy of one government” around.
America’s Congress has deluded itself to believe it has no option. America’s leaders are reckless, arrogant, and refuse to change as We the People voted. I am less inclined to support America. Ever. America’s civilian population and leadership are using non-sense to continue with folly. This is utter recklessness.
You’re on your own. Americans don’t listen to reason in court, debate, legislation, or enforcement of the law. They should not be surprised why the world chooses to use other methods to assert power — outside court, beyond legislation, outside debate, and using other methods which the President has well demonstrated he is incompetent in managing.
Prosecuting The President, VP Outside Impeachment spews:
This attitidue of hopelessness is pathetic and contagious. It needs to end. If you believe that nothing can be done, or that Congressional inaction is a show stopper, there is hope.
There is an option to prosecute a sitting President outside impeachment. Congress’ decision to not impeach has no bearing on whether the President does or does not get prosecuted. Consider this:
Jonathan Turley, “From Pillar to Post”: The Prosecution of Sitting Presidents, 37 American Criminal Law Review 1049-1106 (2000)
I appreciate the frustration with Congress. My view, in light of “The Prosecution of Sitting Presidents,” is to stop waiting for Congress, and direct the legal community to work outside impeachment and Congress to prosecute this President and Vice President.
Although not removed from office, Turley discusses how a sitting President can be jailed while in office, and his successor would take the job until the President is released from prison. Kings may have been jailed in the UK, but they remained King.
I reject the notion that Congressional inaction is a vote of absolution. No, the American legal community well knows, or should know, that a sitting President can be prosecuted. We’ve seen ample evidence that this Congress will not defend the Constitution against the domestic enemies in the White House. Time for the legal community to defend this Constitution against the domestic enemies in the White House, Executive Branch, and Congress.
Time for Congress to wake up. If they want to block lawyers from asserting their oath to defend the Constitution, then let Congress go on the record showing that it puts its loyalty to the President’s rebellion against the rule of law before their legal duty to defend this Constitution from this President.
The legal Community must answer: Why have they not prosecuted this President and Vice President outside Congress and the impeachment process. They have a job to do. Do it. Congress refuses. After the President and VP are prosecuted, the legal community can turn their focus to the Members of Congress for their refusal to defend this Constitution.
Well, at least we’re not like the Republican kool-aid drinkers who blindly follow their leadership wherever they go – even if it means throwing out all of their own principles. Just look at the current crop of GOP losers who are running for President, they’ll say anything to get elected. And when was the last time any Republican’t in Congress stood up to their leadership?
Well spoken. That is my general view as well, and I *am* an American. What are you left with when the government betrays its own founding principles and the people are so clueless and/or apathetic as to allow it to continue unchecked?
Ironically, our government has become very like the thing against which we originally rebelled a couple of centuries ago.
@20 Give ’em hell Will!
Great post. I think this is what is driving many in the blogosphere and many without voices who perhaps haven’t discovered, or haven’t found the blogosphere or whatever, crazy…it’s one thing to concede something to a President who was super-popular. But the circumstances could not be further from that right now. It just puts paid to the whole notion of a democracy. It’s a disgrace. I’m sure Sen. Feinstein’s staffers are loving all the outraged calls they are receiving from many constituents such as myself over her sell-out to The Worst President In History (trademark).
What the F else are you going to do? Do what I did, register as Republican and vote in Ron Paul.
If a “majority” supported across the board 20% tax cuts, would you be for that, too??
The Dems should have refused to send Bush another war funding bill and stayed in DC with no recess waiting for him to come up with a solution. Wouldn’t you skip your vacation if it would help end the war? In the alternative, they could have sent him “minibills”, one for body armor, one for rations, one for ammo, etc. This would rebut a charge of not supporting the troops. (I dare say that Bush would have blinked at least in the face of interrupting his vacation.) I am sorry that they didn’t show more cojones.
On the bright side, I hear a lot of talk from Republican Congresspeople about September. The surge so far seems to have only increased casualities of both Americans and Iraqis. They might manufacture “good news” to maintain a stay-the-course posture, but only the Republican presidential candidates have nothing to lose by drinking Kool-aid. In other words, I think there is a de facto timetable.
Too many dems are deep into corporate pockets and will sell their country and troops down the river. Theyre no better than Bush and his family cashing in. We can beat the Rovian machines if we turn out enmasse and vote in new dems and overturn the cheat ratio set in the cheat machines. we did it getting the last dems in we can do it again. Bye bye, old dems, hope it was worth it for you. Youre out!
Fascist Nation spews:
You assume the Democrats are against the war. Quite a few voted for it. Many more vote to maintain it at enormous funding and blood letting levels. Only the blind can continue to believe there is one lick of difference between the two parties. We have been played. Get over it, and get back to work for the Washington Party.
Brought to you by your friends at the Military Industrial Complex.
Karen O spews:
Maybe we should start a movement that encompasses the following: Change your voter’s registration from Democrat to Independent if you do not agree with funding the war or the way the Dem’s are handling their power. Granted we wouldn’t be able to vote in the primaries, but who cares since our votes don’t count anyway. After all we got Kerry instead of Dean. Repubs who disagree with the war could do the same. Karen in Delray
Fuck the Democrats. I’m going Green. http://www.gp.org
Not one single Democrat is suggesting Bush’s impeachment. NOT ONE! The Greens have been demanding Bush’s impeachment for years, which is the correct position.
It’s not like we’re really worried. If you don’t vote for democrats, then republicans will win. So you have to vote for democrats. So shut up and send in your checks to MoveOn or the PDA or whatever.
Fuck the Greens, who gave us George W. Bush in 2000.