Thursday, May 24, 2007

Why do they still fear Dubya?

By Edward Copeland

The capitulation of Congress to Bush on the Iraq funding bill boggles my mind. I was going to link to Keith Olbermann's great special comment on it last night, but Creature beat me to it. I did want to quote a specific part of his words, though:

Few men or women elected in our history — whether executive or legislative, state or national—have been sent into office with a mandate more obvious, nor instructions more clear: Get us out of Iraq.

Yet after six months of preparation and execution — half a year gathering the strands of public support; translating into action, the collective will of the nearly 70 percent of Americans who reject this War of Lies, the Democrats have managed only this:

* The Democratic leadership has surrendered to a president — if not the worst president, then easily the most selfish, in our history — who happily blackmails his own people, and uses his own military personnel as hostages to his asinine demand, that the Democrats "give the troops their money".

* The Democratic leadership has agreed to finance the deaths of Americans in a war that has only reduced the security of Americans.

* The Democratic leadership has given Mr. Bush all that he wanted, with the only caveat being, not merely meaningless symbolism about benchmarks for the Iraqi government, but optional meaningless symbolism about benchmarks for the Iraqi government.

* The Democratic leadership has, in sum, claimed a compromise with the Administration, in which the only things truly compromised, are the trust of the voters, the ethics of the Democrats, and the lives of our brave, and doomed, friends, and family, in Iraq.

The caving to a man whose popularity hovers between 28% and 34%, depending which poll you believe, over a war that a majority of Americans want over and with has done little more than spark the internecine fighting among Democrats that always seems to damage them in the end. In fact, the latest CBS News/New York Times poll shows opposition to the war at its highest level yet with 61% of Americans saying we should have never gone in and 76% saying the war is going badly. (Dubya has 30% approval/63% disapproval in this poll). The presidential contenders, such as Obama and Hillary, are silent. Biden already says he'll vote yes. Only Dodd and Kucinich have challenged the deal among sitting officeholders, along with Edwards.

Half-measures and equivocations are not going to change our course in Iraq. If we are serious about ending the war, Congress must stand up to this president's failed policy now — with clarity and conviction.

Those words came from Chris Dodd, but they seem to fall on deaf ears. Why are the Democrats still so afraid of the lamest of lame ducks whom the American people have largely tuned out in a vain attempt to pretend he's not president?

Admittedly, I think congressional Democrats have taken the wrong approach all along. They saddled the war funding bill with unnecessary provisions that allowed the GOP to get an opening on "pork." What they should have done (and should still do, if it's not already too late) is send Dubya a bill solely devoted to war funding: No timetables, no funds for peanut storage, etc. The only extra thing that belongs in that bill is to require a repeal of Bush's tax cuts on his wealthy friends to pay for it. It's the GOP whose balls should be in a vise, not Dems. Then Republicans would truly face a soul-searching moment about what's important to them: If they'd tried to filibuster or if Bush threatened a veto over the tax part, then the case would be crystal clear as to how much they care about the troops, and the Dems would have the upper hand once again. Remember, this isn't the Bush of September 2001, it's the Bush of May 2007, and few presidents have been weaker than him and it's high time to take advantage of that fact.

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  • I’m not sure the bill put forward by Democrats is necessarily a “capitulation”. A stronger bill would have been swiftly vetoed by a rigid Bush. Then, he would accuse Dems of being “anti-troop.”
    Its also possible that Dems are just looking forward to 2008. Iraq is the chain pulling the GOP down. It is Bush’s war, after all. Letting him keep ownership of it might be the best thing for Democrats in the long run.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:48 PM  

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