Is A Democratic President The Only Way To End the War?
by Chris Bowers, Wed Feb 28, 2007 at 07:50:09 AM EST
House Democratic leaders are developing an anti-war proposal that wouldn't cut off money for U.S. troops in Iraq but would require President Bush to acknowledge problems with an overburdened military.Of course, she is absolutely right, and that Bush will never make the signing statements, considering that only a few days ago Condoleezza Rice said the following:
The plan could draw bipartisan support but is expected to be a tough sell to members who say they don't think it goes far enough to assuage voters angered by the four-year conflict.
Bush "hasn't to date done anything we've asked him to do, so why we would think he would do anything in the future is beyond me," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., one of a group of liberal Democrats pushing for an immediate end to the war.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged the Democratic-controlled Congress not to interfere in the conduct of the Iraq war today and suggested President George W. Bush would defy troop withdrawal legislation.If he would defy troop withdrawal legislation, defying a requirement to make signing statements on the lack of troop readiness isn't hard to believe. Not to mention that Republicans in the Senate will probably filibuster even these flimsy pieces of legislation. In the end, whether these bills pass or not, Democrats will have failed to do anything substantial to end the war whatsoever.
It is hard for me to decide what pisses me off about this the most. It angers me to no end that Democrats are crushing aside a strategy, the Murtha plan, which has overwhelming popular support. The Democratic majority in congress, when considered as a whole, is clearly far behind the public on Iraq.
It also angers me that one of the main reasons Democrats are backing away, if not the main reason, is that Democrats are too scared of Republican talking points to do anything that might anger the Republican Noise Machine. Even though the public never did, Democrats on the hill bought so thoroughly into the "cutting off funding" for troops in the field line that they were too scared to do anything. Clearly, Democrats are far more scared of the Republican media machine than they are of the people who put them in power.
It further angers me that we won't even get a roll call vote on Murtha's plan, or on binding legislation to rewrite the AUMF. If they are not going to push for a roll call vote, I can only assume that there is no majority for Murtha's plan in the House. We need to know which Democrats are in opposition to it, but we are not going to. Instead of pushing members to support Murtha's plan, the leadership is dumping the plan altogether, and not even forcing the Democrats who oppose it to stand up and be counted. The leadership is covering for these cowardly Democrats, rather than leading them.
It is now difficult to see another opportunity for Democrats in Congress to restrict and / or end the war in Iraq for another year. I don't know who is behind this, but I strongly suspect Steny Hoyer. No matter who is behind it, it is clear that many Democrats in Washington, D.C., do not view their position as derived from the electorate, but rather than conditional upon their favor within beltway circles. As long as that attitude persists, you will never see a populist, much less a progressive, majority in Washington, D.C.
The opposition to this plan now comes from the progressive wing of the party, rather than the Blue Dogs. Even though the progressive caucus is much larger than the Blue Dogs, 71 to 44, I don't imagine that the leadership will hold up the bill because of their concerns. In the end, liberals and progressives are taken for granted on the Hill just as much as they are taken for granted within the base. The progressive caucus needs to step up, get organized, and start showing some more teeth. I would be happy to help with any such effort.
It seems to me now that the only way to end the war will be by electing a new Democratic president in two years time. Not only is that nowhere close to a guarantee, considering Giulinai's strength, but if Clinton ends up as President I don't particularly trust her to actually end the war. Remember that she is one of only four Democratic Senators who do not regret their Iraq war vote (Schumer and the Nelsons were the others). She can introduce whatever legislation she wants that supposedly will start troop withdrawal and that has no chance of passing, but the trust factor is lacking. Actually, I think that would be a far more useful line of attack against Clinton than her refusal to apologize: how can we trust her to end the war?
At this point, about the only presidential candidates who we can trust to end the war if they take office would be the candidates who attack this backslide by the Democratic majorities on the grounds that it does not go far enough. On this front, Biden has no credibility, since he is one of the primary backsliders. We have to wait and see what the other candidates do, because right now we need a leader or leaders we can trust to end the war. Unfortunately, right now, such leaders are few and far between in Congress.