Feet to Fire

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Congress, Democratic Party, Iraq War

Margaret Talev, Renee Schoof and Steven Thomma write for McClatchy Newspapers:

In Washington, Democrats are blaming Republicans for the Senate’s failure so far to vote on a resolution opposing a troop increase in Iraq.

But in the heartland, some voters say such excuses no longer are good enough.

Having banked on the promise that Democrats would force a change of course in Iraq if they won control of Congress, some of the people who helped the Democrats get there are growing impatient.

They’re frustrated that Democrats sank so much energy into a nonbinding resolution then dropped the bipartisan plan of Sens. John Warner, R-Va., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., like a hot potato when Republican leaders who support President Bush maneuvered them into a corner.

All the finagling has gotten in the way of a formal debate or vote in the Senate on Bush’s plans for Iraq.

Sometime last week Senator John Tester was on Hardball last week saying that if the Dems couldn’t get a majority for a nonbinding resolution, something more forceful would be even more unlikely. And that makes sense, but …

National polling shows that a majority of Americans support a resolution opposing the troop increase. National independent polling organizations haven’t assessed reaction to the stalled Senate debate.

It’s only about a month into the 110th Congress, and the appropriations bills – where Democrats have the real power to attach strings to military spending if they can muster the will and support – are weeks away from consideration. Still, there’s mounting pressure on Democrats from their base across the country.

At least 22 state legislatures are considering resolutions urging Congress to stop the deployment of more U.S. troops to Iraq, said David Sirota, the Montana-based co-chairman of the Progressive States Network.

Harr Reid says the Senate Dems will “redouble their efforts” when the Senate reconvenes after a recess at the end of this month. Sometime in March, in other words.

The House Dems are vowing to fight harder.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the House couldn’t let members go home Feb. 17 for a weeklong recess empty-handed. So the House plans to begin a three-day debate Tuesday and vote on its own resolution opposing the troop buildup.

The Senate Dems seem to think they were outmanevered by the Republicans.

Many Republicans say the Warner-Levin resolution is pointless and that without the force of law it could demoralize the troops. They say the president’s troop increase in Iraq should be given a chance.

So they said they’d block consideration of the resolution unless Democrats also debated a resolution by Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., that would support the troops and take no position on a troop increase.

Democrats saw a trap: If they backed Gregg’s resolution, then didn’t get 60 votes on Warner-Levin, the only formal statement out of the Senate would voice no opposition to the troop increase. If they rejected Gregg’s, opponents would run ads accusing them of hurting the troops.

Their decision: Hold off on a formal debate.

But ya know what, folks? With the war as unpopular as it is, and Bush as unpopular as he is, what the hell are the Dems afraid of? This just plain makes no sense.

I think they should make an announcement that they tried to compromise with the Republicans, but the Republicans are ducking the issue of Iraq, so they should go back to Senator Feingold’s resolution and vote on that, and let the GOP be damned if they don’t allow it to pass.

It’s time to hold Dem feet to fire. Call, write, fax, email every Dem on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (remember to be nice to Russ Feingold). Call, write, fax, email Harry Reid and your own senators, whoever they are, if they’re Dems. Tell ’em to crank it up and fight.

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16 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Howie Klein  •  Feb 10, 2007 @12:09 pm

    Holding the Democratic leadership’s feet to the fire is the first step. Remember, many of these politicians supported Bush’s attack on Iraq and many– like Hoyer and Emanuel– have supported him every step of the way. Emanuel’s and Hoyer’s records on Iraq are deplorable. And these are the two that are insisting that the symbolic, nonbinding GOP resolution be debated instead of any of the real antiwar legislation being proposed by Woolsey, Meehan, Murtha, Sestak, Kucinich, etc.

  2. biggerbox  •  Feb 10, 2007 @12:58 pm

    I’m with you on this. The message the Republicans should be sent is “We tried to be nice, and offer you a compromise, bipartisan face-saving piece of puff in Warner-Levin, and you fought it. There is no point in playing nice. We’re done with you. Done with limiting the future damage, we’re out to fix the underlying problem. The troops are coming home.”

  3. erinyes  •  Feb 10, 2007 @1:04 pm

    Maha,
    It appears that things might be heating up regarding the false info put forth by the OSP; Doug Feith, Wolfowitz, Perle, Rumsfeld, and Cheney who fingered Iraq over 9/11 , the anthrax attacks, and remote controlled drones that did not exsist.False information intentionally put forth to panic and manipulate the general public is a form of terrorism.
    Feith and Cheney in particular were the subject of discussion on last night’s Hardball.
    It’s about time this stuff is finally being presented on the MSM.(it was available on the internet years ago!)
    Feith’s connections with JINSA and AIPAC are out of the closet.
    It will be VERY interesting to see where this will lead given the fact that so many of our elected officials in both parties have “ties” and “links” to both those powerful lobbies.
    There needs to be a serious investigation regarding the power JINSA and AIPAC project in Washington over our elected officials.Scooter Libby’s trial may be the first wave, I hope so.
    If the situation is as bad as I suspect, both lobbies should be banned and the people doing their bidding removed from office.They are guilty of conducting business for the benefit of a foreign government and quite possibly espionage.
    As to your question “what the hell are the Dems afraid of?”, look at the obvious first, look at the lobbies , big oil, and the weapons manufacturers. These are the groups that profit from war.
    I agree it is time to hold some feet to the fire. If they don’t respond, fire them. The last election was about Iraq. If they don’t “get it”, they need to get on down the road.
    Last but not least, I came across an article that claimed Rumsfeild STILL has an office and staff in the Pentagon!Have you heard anything about this?

  4. erinyes  •  Feb 10, 2007 @1:08 pm
  5. Bonnie  •  Feb 10, 2007 @1:34 pm

    The Democrats are fiddling while America and Baghdad burn.

    Time and tide wait for no man or woman.

    There may be no America by the time the 2008 presidential campaign rolls around.

  6. sachem515  •  Feb 10, 2007 @2:00 pm

    The first half of this Shields & Brooks podcast from last night’s Newshour gives some additional insight to all the behind the scenes wrangling in the Senate. There are many opinions and few seeking solutions.

    http://www-tc.pbs.org/newshour/rss/media/2007/02/09/20070209_sb28.mp3

    So the Senate will take the matter up again at the end of the month. In the interim, we will have the opportunity to listen to the wide variety of sentiments in the House.

    So what will go on between now and then? Will the OVP be further implicated in a conspiracy to defraud the Congress and the American people? How much more senseless violence will be committed in the name of victory?

    Certainly we are diminished as a people by the behavior of the criminals that run the executive branch. We are, for the time being, a government of men not laws.

    Today my venom is directed at my fellow citizens from the red states that somehow think that bozos like McConnell Inhofe Enzi, Roberts, Chambliss, etc. represent the national interest. May the blood on their hands stain their soles.

  7. justme  •  Feb 10, 2007 @2:47 pm

    I agree with your point that we should hound our dem reps,by phone ,fax…hell send them a sky writing plane if you can afford it but the real obstructionists here are the reps .They are obstructing the will of the people..I think all of hells fury should be unleashed on them.The public needs this framed for them.Someone should explain to the masses that a few GOP critters are hijacking the will of the public …the left is doing a rotten job of explaining that .Sure, you and I know what the right is doing but the general public is too busy with their own self centered lives to see it.
    Yell at the left till the cows come home but without some repubicans(when bush says democratic correctly I will return their “L”) who are willing to stop being obstructionist we are yelling for nothing.The hold outs that remain on the right are the problem, they are the ones who need the hounding and it must be relentless.The reps LOST in nov on this issue..isn’t it time they stop being big fat baby’s asses and cope with their loss?Or have they decided they can just ignore the voice of the people?The left should portray them as the temper tantrum throwing little brats they are, with their fingers in their ears going”la la la la,I can’t hear you American voter!”
    And I will say it again, if you really want this ended,IF you really don’t want to expand this dog and pony show to Iran fight 24/7 to rescind the AUMF….it is THE ONLY way to stop this nightmare once and for all.

  8. Bonnie  •  Feb 10, 2007 @3:37 pm

    From John Dean:

    In sum, as I read both the general statements of these experts, and their specific answers to Senator Kennedy’s question about Iran, everyone agrees that Congress has the power to prevent a president from going to war.

    The only question that is doubtful, then, is whether the members of Congress actually have the will to do so. This, I suspect, is what James Fallows concluded, when he said that, at best, they might draw a line.

    Of course, George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney know this too, so they will do whatever they wish to do – and Congress may or may not catch up. But there is no real question as to whether Congress could legally stop Bush and Cheney from going to war in Iran without coming to Congress to fully explain what they are doing and why. Congress has that power; the only question is whether it will dare to use it.

    John W. Dean, a FindLaw columnist, is a former counsel to the president.

    So far, everything is too little too late and Congress seems to be continuing this pattern. I’m going to watch some HGTV and see if I can feel better.

  9. joanr16  •  Feb 10, 2007 @3:48 pm

    The Repugs are still marching lockstep (Chuckie, I hardly knew ye), while the Dems squabble over the wording of resolutions and What To Do About Joe.

    Actions on the state level look promising, but as one after another helicopter is shot down, pretty soon I think the matter is going to end up in the streets. We’d reach the boiling point a lot sooner if the MSM would stop distracting the populace with Anna Nicole and astronauts-gone-bad. I didn’t even think I could get this disgusted.

  10. Kewalo  •  Feb 10, 2007 @6:11 pm

    Senator Kennedy was on the Charley Rose show last night. He seemed to be pretty positive about getting a binding resolution through the senate against the surge.

  11. Swami  •  Feb 10, 2007 @11:06 pm

    It really irks me how the Republicans use concern for the exsisting troops to buttress their argument for escalating in Iraq. Like they really care about the troops?…If they cared, they’d get them all out. Bush’s love for our troops is on par with Joseph Stalin’s loving concern for the Soviet troops used to repel the Germans. Just a commodity.

  12. Chief  •  Feb 11, 2007 @6:09 am

    If BushCo has the stupidity to engage in war with Iran, the USA that we know, will cease to exist.

  13. Kevin Hayden  •  Feb 12, 2007 @1:24 am

    I’m pulling back from my support of every candidate for 2008. Just because of the partisan Senate split, I have zero hope for any way forward from that effort.

    I wrote Saturday that all efforts should be directed to insist that the House lead the nation now, as it’s the only place where the Dems possess real power.

    If they act quickly so the pollsters can guage the public response, it can break the logjam in the Senate. If they fail to act quickly, the effort will get sidelined by the invasion of Iran.

  14. erinyes  •  Feb 12, 2007 @5:16 am

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