Valley Forge II

Looking for something useful to do today? Bob Fertik at has a suggestion

Why did Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi surrender to Bush on the Iraq War Supplemental? Not because they wanted to — both Reid and Pelosi are passionately opposed to the war. Unfortunately, there are simply not enough Democrats and Republicans in Congress who are willing to join them in standing up to Bush.

What are the numbers? We know them exactly because the Senate and the House just voted on setting a deadline for bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq.

  • In the Senate, the Feingold-Reid Amendment was defeated 67-29, with all Republicans voting no along with 20 “Bush Democrats,” while 29 progressive Democrats voted yes.
  • In the House, the McGovern Amendment was defeated 255-171, with all but two Republicans voting no along with 59 “Bush Democrats,” while 169 progressive Democrats voted yes.
  • More importantly, what can we do to change those numbers? How can we get pro-war Democrats and Republicans to change and vote against the war?

    We thought we sent Congress a loud-and-clear message in 2006 when we swept pro-war Republicans out and swept anti-war Democrats in. Unfortunately a majority in Congress didn’t get the message, so we have to do it again in 2008.

    And the time to start is now. Every pro-war member of Congress knows (s)he will face an angry anti-war majority of voters next November, but the sooner they feel the heat, the greater the odds they will see the light and change their position.

    If we start now, we can recruit outstanding candidates and organize ourselves to support those candidates. We can put bumper stickers on our cars, signs on our lawns, spread the word to our neighbors and friends, and help raise the money our candidates need to run effective campaigns.

    Of course all of us at will work to defeat pro-war Republicans. But this time we will also have to challenge pro-war “Bush Democrats.” That means we have to recruit aggressive progressive Democrats to challenge these “Bush Democrats” in primaries.

    And we can test our strength right away because there are two special elections this summer, both in solid Democratic seats: CA-37, following the death of Juanita Millender MacDonald (June 26), and MA-05, following the retirement of Marty Meehan (Sept. 24).

    If you want to help us sweep anti-war [pro-war] Republicans and Democrats out of Congress, we have a simple request: sign our Iraq Vote Pledge and forward it to a couple of friends. Our strength is measured by our numbers, so it would be tremendous to get 100,000 voters to sign our pledge.

    I also endorse’s drive to ask Democrats to vote no on the new bill.

    Please remember that a majority of Democrats support tough anti-war measures. But a simple majority is not enough. We need the minority of war-supporting Democrats, and some Republicans, to see the light before Congress can lawfully take the war away from a rogue, power-usurping President.

    I know we’re all discouraged, but the simple fact is that Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and most other Democrats “surrendered” because they faced hopeless odds. Their only alternative was to sit on the appropriations bill and leave the troops at the mercy of a despotic and increasingly unglued White House.

    Before last fall’s midterm elections I wrote several posts (here’s one) arguing that electing a Democratic majority to Congress was just a tiny first step in a very long march. In fact, I had doubts electing a Democratic majority would effect much change at all. Rather, I saw it as a prerequisite for making change possible. Keeping a Republican majority in Congress would have kept us stuck where we were, at best.

    Before the midterms lots of people were saying there was no use electing Democrats because that wouldn’t solve the problem. These people were looking for a magic bullet — one solution that would quickly and easily reverse a complex situation that was years in the making. Anything short of that wasn’t worth bothering about, they said. Now many of these same people are whining that since the Dems haven’t completely crushed the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy and run the Bush Administration out of Washington (with a simple majority in Congress, and in less than six months) the Dems are worthless and sellouts and not worth supporting.

    And if that’s how you feel now, fine. Maybe someday Democracy Jesus will come down from heaven and save us. Or, if you start right now and work very hard, maybe in fifteen or twenty years you can build a viable third party that is competitive on a national level. I think it’s more likely Democracy Jesus will reveal himself in a blaze of glory, but ya never know.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Bob F. that the next step is not to lay around whining about how Nancy Pelosi sold out, but to go after the DINO Vichycrats and Republican war supporters with a vengeance. And a nice show of no votes on the new bill would be grand, too.

    Think of what we’re going through now as our Valley Forge. It’s rough out there, and we’ve got a lot of fighting ahead of us, but that doesn’t mean we’ve already lost.

    Update: We have a concentration of whiney babies here. I’m not quarreling with the blogger, Mike Stark, who is a good guy. But many of the commenters are set on self-destruct, as in “eating our own.”

    16 thoughts on “Valley Forge II

    1. I sent the following to Pelosi, Reid & Hoyer:

      “The English language is insufficient for me to use to describe my disappointment over the Democratic leadership’s decision to not hold the Bush administration to a strict timetable re: Iraq Supplemental Appropriation.

      I voted to end the illegal U.S. activity in Iraq. I do not care if the President repeatedly vetoes the bills Congress sends him. Keep sending the bills that represent the will of the American people.

      In that same vein, please explain why impeachment is “off the table.” Both Al Gore and Glenn Greenwald have written cogent books re: President Bush, the FISA court and the NSA wiretapping.”

      After digesting the numbers, perhaps I was premature. But how best to vent the frustration ? ? ?

    2. I don’t buy it. Yes, all the steps you recommend now are worthwhile, and I recommend them, but I think you (perhaps unintentionally) belittle and pooh-pooh the legitimate anger that we all feel that our own party is putting its fingerprints on this failed war. Maybe we’re naive, maybe we’re “whining,” but I think a little anger at not defending our beliefs with the volume pushed to 11 is appropriate, especially when you consider the hundreds of thousands of lives already lost and those that will be. You’re defending them, and calling us losers? Jesus. I respect your site, but honestly I expected better than being called names just because I (and a lot of others like me) are sick about the cave-in.

    3. D’oh, my bad! I just read a couple of earlier posts of yours where you seemed to have the same reaction I did. I guess you’re just better at processing anger/disgust and moving on to mature action than I am. Apologies.

    4. I guess you’re just better at processing anger/disgust and moving on to mature action than I am. Apologies.

      No problem. At my age I can’t maintain anger the way I used to. I don’t have the stamina for it any more. 🙂

    5. Maha,

      I am a lot older than you and I can easily maintain a strong, vigorous and healthy anger. Perhaps, I am not as mature as you.

    6. BTW, Maha, the anger is certainly not directed at you. It is directed to the incompetents that are trampling our Constitution.

    7. Is this what was meant in the Fertik article: “If you want to help us sweep anti-war Republicans and Democrats out of Congress” ? I want to sweep pro-war Repugs and Dems out.

    8. From ThinkProgress:

      One in eight: Number of Iraqis who die before their fifth birthday. The “mortality rate among Iraqi children younger than 5 rose 150 percent between 1990 and 2005.”

    9. maha, you have some company. kos just posted a STFU to the take-my-ball-and-go-home folks.

      And good news: City councilor Martin Heinrich just announced that he’s running for the House in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional district, hoping to defeat the loathsome Heather Wilson.

      Heinrich is young, smart, engaged, good-looking, and like the rest of us, wants out of Iraq NOW.

    10. I’m extremely disappointed this morning.

      Not in the spending bill itself, that was expected and inevitable … but rather in the democratic “base” (or rather, that portion of the “base” that posts/comments on blogs and calls in to radio shows).

      Congressional dems were never going to actually WIN this thing, I thought that was understood by all. Maha has explained it well in the past couple of weeks.

      The point was never to ACTUALLY defund the military via this bill, the point was to build support towards a time when they just MIGHT have the votes to force an end to the war.

      They accomplished that, I think. The only thing that could destroy that now is, well, exactly today’s reaction.

      Bah. Why are progressives so consistently enthusiastic about shooting themselves in the head?


    11. So I’m a whiner, well then I’ll whine a bit. Looks to me like the “war” on humanity will be double the size by this fall. Nice work dems. Looks like lord pissypants gets all his toys lined up in row for him. Nice work.
      Double the troops, full funding. Yeah, they are listening to us the people just fine. Lots a luck with the next election, since there is a better than even chance it will never happen.
      Will no one look to the right and wrong here? Are we really okay with a felon in the presidents chair? Do we really think it’s okay to torture and ignore congress? sure looks like it all is true.
      Dems own this war, right along with their buddies the repukes. I’ll vote none of them in again. None. Assuming I get the chance.

    12. These are the times that try men’s souls?… 🙂

      I’m disappointed…but life goes on. My consolation is that Bush’s page in history has already be written, and the shit stain on America’s decency will belong to him alone.

    13. Will no one look to the right and wrong here? Are we really okay with a felon in the presidents chair? Do we really think it’s okay to torture and ignore congress? sure looks like it all is true.

      Dear whiner: I left gainful employment in 2003 and have dedicated my life to getting the felon out of the presidents’ chair, and to ending torture, and restoring constitutional balance. It’s cheap and easy for to accuse everyone else of being less moral than you. Some of us walk the walk. Get lost.

    14. Oh, the irony.
      This Bush beast is like an oil well fire.Impossible to extinguish, making quite a mess, but bound to burn out….Eventually.

      But it continues to kill, right to the end.
      And the bill will be terrible to behold.
      And all will wonder why no one stopped it.
      And another evil man will come in 20 more years and do the same.
      But the next victim will be Africa.
      Perhaps his name will be Bush also.

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