AIPAC Started Lobbying Today
by Matt Stoller, Mon Mar 12, 2007 at 04:58:54 PM EDT
Top House Democrats retreated Monday from an attempt to limit President Bush's authority for taking military action against Iran as the leadership concentrated on a looming confrontation with the White House over the Iraq war.
Officials said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) and other members of the leadership had decided to strip from a major military spending bill a requirement for Bush to gain approval from Congress before moving against Iran.
Conservative Democrats as well as lawmakers concerned about the possible impact on Israel had argued for the change in strategy....
The Iran-related proposal stemmed from a desire to make sure Bush did not launch an attack without going to Congress for approval, but drew opposition from numerous members of the rank and file in a series of closed-door sessions last week.
Rep. Shelley Berkley (news, bio, voting record), D-Nev., said in an interview there is widespread fear in Israel about Iran, which is believed to be seeking nuclear weapons and has expressed unremitting hostility about the Jewish state.
"It would take away perhaps the most important negotiating tool that the U.S. has when it comes to Iran," she said of the now-abandoned provision.
"I didn't think it was a very wise idea to take things off the table if you're trying to get people to modify their behavior and normalize it in a civilized way," said Rep. Gary Ackerman (news, bio, voting record) of New York.
Several officials said there was widespread opposition to the proposal at a closed-door meeting last week of conservative and moderate Democrats, who said they feared tying the hands of the administration when dealing with an unpredictable and potentially hostile regime in Tehran.
This, plus the Cheney comments, are a clear sign that AIPAC is flexing its muscles on Iran. It's disappointing to see political leaders buckling so quickly to such a powerful lobby in the service of such an immoral cause. But the legislation on Iraq can still present obstacles to Bush and the Republicans.
And nothing will scare the Republicans more than putting up legislation that funds the troops, scales down the war, and restricts Bush's authority. In related news, the web site for the Ditch Mitch movement in Kentucky launched, and the DSCC is softening up McConnell.
Americans hate this war, and they hate George Bush.