The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental

I have grown truly exhausted, and so I am going to take my first weekend "off" in a while to go to North Carolina and speak at the young Democrats convention in Greensboro, North Carolina. I do not intend to make any posts tomorrow, Saturday, or Sunday.

Looking around the `sphere today, I have noticed that a lot of other people seem to be tired as well. It is always easy--and dangerous--to project the way you feel onto others, so perhaps I should not assume that others in the political and activist world are simply feeling like me when it comes to the supplemental fight, but the anecdotal evidence is strong. In the blogosphere, when it comes to the Iraq supplemental debate in the House, discussion seems to be dying off. No diaries, whether for or against the bill, are reaching the recommended list at Dailykos. Dairies on this subject are not even generating much discussion anymore, which certainly was not the case over the last weekend (see here and here). Much the same is happening at BooMan Tribune. In other areas of the netroots,'s vote on the bill had a fairly small 4% click-thru rate. While that actually isn't that bad for a large email list, and while it certainly does not invalidate the bill (statistically speaking, 85% for one position, even at a 4% response rate, makes it perfectly clear that a very sizable majority of members are in favor of supporting the bill, at least in the way that the bill was described in the email), it does show a generally lower amount of passion on both sides than one might have expected. In the news, both established and independent, other stories, including the Edwards announcement and the ongoing U.S. Attorney's scandal, are clearly taking precedence for both most people and most outlets. We seem to have arrived a rather odd moment where the number one issue in the country, and the number of issue in the 2006 election, is undergoing its first legislative fight of the new Congress, and yet somehow is not the center of either national or activist attention.

Before I head off, and before tomorrow's vote, I wanted to offer one final perspective on the Iraq supplemental fight. Right now, with few remaining progressives willing to vote against the supplemental bill, and with the House leadership probably having enough votes to pass it (for more on this, see here), the remaining progressive opposition is being cast as "principled," in contrast to the "pragmatic" progressives who have decided to vote in support. This is certainly the dichotomy proposed by McJoan in her latest piece on the supplemental over at Dailykos. This is a binary opposition with which I disagree, primarily because I have always looked at ethics from an applied perspective, where the ethical value of a given action can only be judged in the context of the consequences of that action. In this circumstance, I am, not arguing that voting against the supplemental from the a progressive stance is unethical, just that it is not any more ethical than voting in favor.

Consider a crude summary of both sides of the debate right now:
  1. Those opposed to the bill tend to argue either that all funding measures should be defeated, or that this specific funding measure should be defeated because it does not go far enough. This bill should be scrapped, and a better bill / no bill should be put forward.
  2. Those in favor of voting yes argue that this is the best we can do at the current time, that it has provisions that will force Bush to either drawn-down / end the war or conduct it illegally, and that if this bill is defeated an even weaker bill will be put forward in its place.
Let's assume for the moment that part of both claims are true: the current bill will not result in the war being either ended or de-escalated, and that if it is defeated a weaker bill we not only be put forward, but it will also pass. Personally, I think that both of these claims are probably correct. Whether or not the language in this bill is binding, Bush won't follow the language, will issue a signing statement, or will simply veto it. Also, whether or not people want to believe it, and whether or not the Democratic House leadership gets behind it, if this bill is defeated in the House a new coalition will emerge in the House that will pass an even weaker bill. So, in reality, neither plan will probably stop, or even slow down, the war.

Now, from an applied ethical perspective that views the war as immoral and unethical, if neither plan will actually bring an end, or even result a in de-escalation, then I don't think either plan has the clear moral high ground as the "ethical" position. Both will probably result in the same consequence, and thus the two positions have equal ethical values. Even if we look at this from an intentions perspective, both sides can also claim that at least they are trying to end the war, either by trying to defeat all funding for the continued occupation, or by trying to incrementally move toward a point where opponents of the war have enough clout in D.C. to bring the war to and end once and for all. In fact, both sides will probably argue that they are simultaneously engaging in both short-term and long-term actions, and both are probably right.

My point is this: don't tell me that I am less principled, moral or ethical than you because I am supporting this measure even though I don't think it goes far enough. I am certainly not going to do the same thing to you, because I don't really see how either of our positions will result in a more ethically acceptable outcome. I arrived at my position because, in my final analysis, I believed the politics of the situation demanded it. You could respond that I should appreciate the ethical values of actions in and of themselves, rather than in the context of their consequences, but if that is your position than ultimately it represents an ideological difference between the two of us that will not be settled either in the discussion of this post, or before the House vote tomorrow. I do not see an ethical high ground in the progressive debate on this vote, and thus political considerations take precedence. Now, I don't think we handled the politics of this vote as well as we could have, but a progressive engineered defeat of this bill would make the political situation even worse. Republicans have to be the ones who hold this bill up, and / or fail to implement it, not Democrats and not progs. If the war will continue either way, then it must be clear that it was their decision to continue it, not ours.

I have placed the progressive caucus's statement on the vote in the extended entry. They have struck a deal that now gives the leadership enough votes to pass the bill. Progressives were, as the release states, decisive in this debate.
Progressives Decisive in Supplemental Debate

(Washington, DC) - After two grueling weeks of meetings, Progressive members of Congress brought forth an agreement that provided the momentum to pass a supplemental spending bill that, for the first time, establishes a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Congresswomen Barbara Lee (D-CA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Diane Watson (D-CA) have led Congressional opposition to the war in Iraq since before it started and have consistently voted against funding for the war as a matter of conscience. Still, they decided that they could not stand in the way of the passage of a bill that would establish a clear timeline for ending the war, especially if the failure of that bill would mean the passage of a supplemental without any restrictions.

After a painstaking series of meetings with members of the Progressive Caucus and Out of Iraq Caucus and other members of Congress, the group agreed that, while they could not vote for the bill themselves, they would not block its passage.

"As someone who opposed this war from the beginning, I have voted against every single penny for this war as a matter of conscience, but now I find myself in the excruciating position of being asked to choose between voting for funding for the war or establishing timelines to end it," said Lee. "I have struggled with this decision, but I finally decided that, while I cannot betray my conscience, I cannot stand in the way of passing a measure that puts a concrete end date on this unnecessary war."

"Although the debate on this supplemental appropriation has been heart wrenching, I have always been clear on my position. While we respect the decision of our colleagues who will support this legislation, those of us who believe that this is a vote of conscience will remain steadfast in our opposition," said Waters.

"The American public knows a simple truth: you can't be against this war, and vote for $100 billion dollars to continue it. Let me make myself very clear - I will not stop, I will not rest, and I will not back down in my fight until every last American soldier is home safely to their families," said Woolsey.

Tags: Ideology, Iraq (all tags)



Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental

Good post. Chris,

Somewhat off topic, but;

I would really like to hear Democratic leaders saying the following things regularly in order to ensure we get the right message across (especially to Right wingers who don't hear very well):

On Iraq: "We're willing to negotiate, but the President is stubborn, arrogant, and partisan and refuses to work with us." Most people already think Bush is stubborn but those who still think he is strong and principled need to be encouraged to think otherwise.

On prosecutor purge: "We need to find out if the Whitehouse and Attorney General broke the law by interfering in and obstructing corruption investigations." Bush supporters are law and order freaks. They need to hear that the Bushies might have broken the law as a counter to Bush's assertion that it is all politics.

by RandomNonviolence 2007-03-22 02:07PM | 0 recs
why democrats are stonewalling us

For the democrats to end the war now has two major problems.

1) They will be accused of stabbing our army in the back and preventing victory.  (We will pay the price here sometime later, in the short term we will be thanked for ending the war, but that thankfulness will be short lived).

2)  If the war is still an issue in 2008 and if the democrats are perceived as having tried to stop it then the electorate will reward them with more victories.  Opportunistic perhaps, but that is the way politicians think.  If this means another 1000 or so dead US soldiers, well, it is all Bush's fault in the final analysis.

The important thing for the democratic leadership to accomplish is to appear to be trying but being thwarted yet again by the Blue Dogs.  I do believe this is being choreographed by the top leadership.  Can't say that I approve but then it this is not going to cause me to switch parties either.

by syvanen 2007-03-22 02:21PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental

when it comes to the iraq supplemental debate in the house, discussion seems to be dying off

you haven't been reading skippy, chris!

by skippy 2007-03-22 02:27PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental

Thank you for doing the heavy lifting on subjects like this. The ramifications of these political choices are very hard to discern without the depth of knowledge and the time that you commit at MyDD.

I for one think this kind of pragmatic assessment, based on rigorous analysis, IS the more moral position. I have seen enough moral posturing and I want results. There is obviously no less commitment against the war in your position just a much more realistic understanding about what it takes to get there.

by anothergreenbus 2007-03-22 02:28PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental
Maybe it is, but maybe it isn't, too. Really, it's not like I feel great about this. I'm not going to say that the progressives opposing it are less ethical than me. But I'm also not going to stand for being called DLC / sell-out / akin to Dems who voted for the war / morally bankrupt.
by Chris Bowers 2007-03-22 02:33PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental

This was a good post by Chris...kind of in line with David Sirota's blog on this subject, which should be read by all of us: ex.cfm?mode=entry&entry=766AAA99-E0C 3-F090-A4DEC36B3BF5B8C4

I don't like the compromise either but David and
Chris are right.  David makes a point about the noise machine and this is something I feel quite

Keep the noise machine revved up by supporting  the anti war movement,   the Code Pink ladies, ANSWER, every single group that has the courage to demand ending funding and ending the war.

You really CAN do both at the same time.  You can compromise and make noise about having to compromise, occupy congressional offices whatever it takes to keep them on their toes.  

There is no easy solution to this and its no time for simplistic platitudes from us or from our elected representatives on both sides of the aisle.

by jd2 2007-03-23 08:46AM | 0 recs
The moral postering

and the heat of the rhetoric at dailykos (uid 932) has made do something I thought I would never do:

Leave dailykos.  It's only temporary - but for the time being the I can't take the for us or against logic that has taken over there.

There is only one way to end the war before January 2009:  build a bipartisan consensus against the war. Right now I think the progressive caucus is actually making that consensus harder to reach.

by fladem 2007-03-22 06:42PM | 0 recs
Absolutely right, Chris

On the (relative) lack of interest shown by the sphere, I suspect it's the lack of black hat and white hat certainties that's partly responsible.

My sense is that there are a good many over at DKos and elsewhere who find political calculation immoral per se and hate being confused with the facts - which are usually uncertain, difficult to understand and indelibly tainted with bias.

Quite why such people should be interested in politics (which is chock-full of shades of grey with barely the odd fleck of black or white to be seen), I don't know...

by skeptic06 2007-03-22 02:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Absolutely right, Chris

You know, over the past few days I've read a lot of this kind of "analysis" (that DKos readers are black-and-white people, or that "older" commenters are black-and-white people, etc. etc.), always said with a somewhat "holier-than-thou", patronizing attitude about how politically savvy and nuanced the commenters on MyDD are.  I think that's totally off the mark - if you read the comments at DKos to Marcos' supplemental bill post and the comments on this one, they are remarkably similar.  Lots of people accept that this bill is better than nothing; some oppose it for moral reasons, others support it for moral reasons.  The comments here are don't reflect any more understanding of the "gray" nature of politics than those on DKos.

by CarolSoprano 2007-03-22 06:33PM | 0 recs
I have to say

I don't see much gray over there right now.

I would be glad to be proven wrong.

by fladem 2007-03-22 06:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Absolutely right, Chris

Well - I said My sense! No pretensions to objectivity or statistical validity.

As for DKos, there's just so much of it - so it's a natural reference or comparator for lefty blog opinion.

Plus - there a problem with form: in the thread you mention, we have 244 comments so far.

The vast majority of them run to fewer than a hundred words - a rough calculation makes the average around 200. Individual comments are too short to develop an argument in; and so many comments, all in a jumble, are hard to read, let alone extract their goodness.

And when - as (at the risk of sounding patronizing, I think I ought to mention) they often do - comments pose interesting points worthy of teasing out and developing - the format makes that impracticable.

(Some ideas, for instance, may seem at first sight to depend on Congressional rules being different from what they are. However, a bit of collaborative thinking may well mold the idea into a workable tactic. And, of course, it may turn out that the rules aren't quite as clear as first thought!)

This blog is certainly far from a paragon in comparison - but there's just so much less stuff, and the rate of accretion is normally so much slower on the fastest-moving threads, that the scope for developing arguments is greater - even if the opportunity is not always taken!

Floor action on the Iraq supplemental bill is by far the biggest thing in Congressional Dem politics in a long while. It deserves careful analysis in an atmosphere of calm, thoughtful give-and-take.

And the closer we can get to that ideal, the better.

by skeptic06 2007-03-22 07:21PM | 0 recs

moveon's "poll" was a push poll. (see this analysis from John Stauber of PRwatch). what moveon did was wrong - they could have included an additional view, or have done a more straight up poll.

chris - i have no doubt you are doing what you think is right.  i just happen to very strongly disagree... i think this bill is both stupid and immoral (i hope i'm wrong).  but, that doesn't mean i think you are those things... on the contrary - i don't. but i am so disheartened by your position (and moveon's - which unlike you, i think did something really wrong)...

i spent days canvassing and phone banking for dems last year... it is really hard to think that i've been supporting people who i thought were political allies... only to realize we're not.

sigh. disheartening, depressing...

this is what causes people to disengage in electoral politics (i haven't - but i know people who have).

by selise 2007-03-22 02:51PM | 0 recs
Re: moveon
Stauber is blatantly wrong about a couple of things in his analysis. First, the idea that because only 4% voted in the poll means that 96% oppose it is willfully wrong. He doesn't know what the other 96% were thinking, but he presumes too. Further, even at a 4% response rate, if 85% of the those surveys agree with one position, statistically speaking, there can be no doubt that the overwhelming majority of the universe from which the sample was drawn also agreed. Yet further, a 4% action rate on an email is not low in the slightest, especially for a list as large as's. Even yet further, everyone had a chance to vote--its not like they were turning people away. Besides, if in order to be elected, someone needed 50% of the eligible vote in his or her district, no one would have ever been elected to federal office in this country, ever.

Complaints about the wording of the poll are more legitimate. But even to argue that the poll should have offered more than a "yes or no" option is wrong, because that would have slanted the poll. If you have several possible "no" options, and only one "yes" option, then you have stacked things in favor of "no."

Stauber is a good guy, but that article was really off target.
by Chris Bowers 2007-03-22 03:28PM | 0 recs
Re: moveon

chris, you've don't a lot of polling. are you telling me this isn't a push poll?

We've got a big decision coming up this week, and we need to make it together, as a community.

As early as Wednesday, the House may vote on a Democratic proposal on Iraq. The proposal was put together by Speaker Pelosi and Congressmen Obey and Murtha. It is going to be a close vote--the Republicans are against it and some conservative Democrats are uncomfortable with the bill.

Most, but not all, of the progressives in Congress are planning on voting for the bill. These progressives, like many of us, don't think the bill goes far enough, but see it as the first concrete step to ending the war. And President Bush is threatening to veto it for the same reason.

I've told Rep. Murtha that this was a decision for MoveOn's members to make. Now I'm asking you to help make it. Should we support or oppose the Democrats' plan? Just click here to register your view:

Support the Plan.

Not Sure

Oppose the Plan

by selise 2007-03-22 04:52PM | 0 recs
Re: moveon
As I indicated, if you have a problem with the poll, focus on the language with which it was asekd. The other criticism just don't hold up.
by Chris Bowers 2007-03-22 07:15PM | 0 recs
Re: moveon

that is why i quoted the language - all of it.

by selise 2007-03-22 08:25PM | 0 recs
Re: moveon
Well, the language is obviously slanted toward people voting in favor, but at the same time I don't think this is the first members had heard of this fight. I think they are pretty well-informed people, generally, and I don't think the slanted language altered the results as much as some people do. It just seems hard for me to believe that they were so easily persuaded by the language in one email. It must be a position they generally agreed with beforehand.
by Chris Bowers 2007-03-22 08:38PM | 0 recs

have a nice break - you deserve it.

by selise 2007-03-22 08:26PM | 0 recs
Re: p.s.
Thank you.
by Chris Bowers 2007-03-22 08:38PM | 0 recs
blues' Opinion

You got to know when to hold 'em.

Know when to fold 'em.

Know when to walk away.

Know when to run.


This is no time to be making deals. It's way past get-the-hell out time.

It's draw-the-line-in-the-sand-time.

This is not any ordinary debate.




by blues 2007-03-22 04:07PM | 0 recs
Re: blues' Opinion

I had no idea that the secret to solving difficult political problems could be found in the lyrics of a Country Western song. Could this technique be applied to all the difficult issues we face? Oh wait Bush already tried that.

by anothergreenbus 2007-03-22 04:45PM | 0 recs
Re: blues' Opinion

Maybe he did. But Bush can't read between lines for shit. When I compose a comment, I try to lay 10 thoughts beneath each word. Apt simplicity is at times the only effective technique.

by blues 2007-03-22 05:32PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental

Remember when they told us that the Baker/Hamilton report was the pragmatic, responsible thing to support? It wasn't ideal but at least most everyone was willing to support it, however reluctantly. Then Bush rejected it outright and decided to escalate.

Now we are told this new deal, the conditions of which are almost totally optional, is supposedly the pragmatic and responsible thing to support. Those who don't are known as idiot liberals in Obey's words.

If anything is clear it is that the meaning of pragmatism is now as consistent as the shifting sands. It stands for whatever anyone says it does, at any one time. Nevertheless, it is always the responsible and grown-up thing to do, until they redefine it once again.

It is pretty clear that the Democrats, who have now folded up like Bush's country chair, have about as much spine, as they have new ideas. They have run out of both.

The people of this country are probably going to have to stop paying their taxes before either Party figures out they are serious about a change, and that the status quo is no longer acceptable.

by Derek G 2007-03-22 04:42PM | 0 recs
You Are Right, Derek

You are right on this one, Derek.

There comes a time when there is no alternative but to make a stand. Then you will win or loose, but either way, you will accrue respect. Compromise is a fine and necessary tool, but sometimes you just cannot do it, and then you simply must make a stand.


Maybe Ted Kennedy or Robert Byrd could just filibuster the damn thing.

by blues 2007-03-22 05:50PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental

Remember when they told us that the Baker/Hamilton report was the pragmatic, responsible thing to support? ... Now we are told this new deal, the conditions of which are almost totally optional, is supposedly the pragmatic and responsible thing to support. ... If anything is clear it is that the meaning of pragmatism is now as consistent as the shifting sands.

The Baker/Hamilton report recommended a phased pullout. This supplemental mandates such a phased pullout. This was pragmatic and reasonable then, and pragmatic and reasonable now, and there is nothing but consistency here. The supplemental here is the natural implementation of the Baker/Hamilton recommendations.

Bush refused to accept the Baker/Hamilton report, and Bush is indeed unlikely to accept the mandate of this bill. It is probably unfortunate the bill has no provisions for forcing him to accept them. Once the bill has passed, we'll just have to figure out what the next step will be toward forcing Bush to accept this mandate. But this has to happen one step at a time. We can't suddenly and magically jump to "WAR OVER!"

In this case, you have no right to accuse anyone else of "folding". In this case, many of the "moderate" dems have finally come to the right side, toward ending the war. You, on the other hand, are the one standing on Bush's side here. Standing by and letting the supplemental die because it's insufficiently perfect means nothing but the war's continuance. A defeat for this bill means a step away from any possible goal the anti-war progressives could possibly have.

by Silent sound 2007-03-22 05:54PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental

If you insist on calling us idiots then I see nothing wrong with accusing your side of folding like a chair.

How is it that the defeat of this bill means a victory for Bush? Bush has already said very clearly that he will not accept this bill. The only thing this bill will and has accomplished is to create a civil war within the Democratic Party. He rejected the bi-partisan Baker/Hamilton report. He will reject this bill. The future will be what we will it to be. It is not predetermined. Bullies like Bush only understand one thing, strength. They interpret your willingness to compromise as weakness, and he is right. I can understand being adverse to risk but  when 70% of the people say they are behind you, the rejection of risk is really just another form of cowardice.

by Derek G 2007-03-22 06:06PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental

How is it that the defeat of this bill means a victory for Bush?

Because the defeat of funding with conditions means the passage of funding without conditions.


This isn't about "the future". I'm not saying things are "predetermined" to be this way. I'm saying this is the way things are now. Changing the future is one thing, but you can't make the situation of the present just go away. This is the Congress we have now; we can either work with it, or we can do no work at all. And if you choose the latter, this time, it means the war continues.

The future will be what we will it to be.

The future does not become what you want it by wishing. You have to actually act to change it. Right now, you are acting against changing it.

You oppose funding the war with conditions.

And by doing so, you support funding it without conditions.

by Silent sound 2007-03-22 06:22PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental

>How is it that the defeat of this bill means a victory for Bush?

>Because the defeat of funding with conditions means the passage of funding without conditions.


Says who?

>You oppose funding the war with conditions.

>And by doing so, you support funding it without conditions.

I was willing to accept pragmatism v.735 and go along with Baker/Hamilton. You stated that we are somehow still following that plan.

The introduction to the Study said whatever plan we followed had to be agreed to by both sides. A President who has seldom used his veto is about to vetoe this one.

The Baker plan was a smart exit, not an escalation. The Baker plan said political and economic solutions were needed, ought to be the highest priority. It said we needed to bring the Iranians and the Syrians on side. It called for an international conference, especially with all the countries bordering Iraq. It had timelines.

The new plan seems to be the funding of an escalation, with optional deadlines.

by Derek G 2007-03-22 07:05PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental
Unbelievable. Silent sounds did nothing to impugn your intelligence. But you do seem happy to take one slight sent your way by one congressman as a way of characterizing anyone who opposes you, and taking your matyrdom up several notches.
by Chris Bowers 2007-03-22 06:31PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental

"matyrdom "

I'd grab some if it wasn't already used up.

by Derek G 2007-03-22 07:35PM | 0 recs
This Is Not A Test

The real reality is that the USA is now bankrupt. Bush or his surrogates plan to nuke the hot Iran reactors, and Turkey plan to attack northern Iraq. Russia and China may make pre-emptive nuclear strikes.

If bush gets any kind of supplemental, he will borrow that amount of money and he will use it to nuke Iran. He will laugh at any stipulations, 'mandatory' or not. World War III is now on the table. This is not a test.

by blues 2007-03-23 02:58AM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental

So what do we DO folks? I'm sitting here in Vermont with my blood boiling now that our supposedly anti-war Congressman voted to keep funding this occupation (stop calling it a WAR, by the way, people. Call it what it is.) Looks like the great state of VT has its own spineless Democrat on the Hill who talks the talk, then folds like a cheap lawnchair when it's time to his money where his mouth is. For one thing, he's gotta go in '08. Literally, we need to clean House and Senate and rid ourselves of political opportunists and hypocrites. Can we honestly call this "Bush's War" anymore? Please!

by trout 2007-03-22 05:06PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental

Apparently winning the House and the Senate with a clear mandate is not enough. The people who tell you they intend to implement the mandate also have to be telling the truth. How we get over that last hurdle is difficult because once they are elected we can't get rid of them for a few years.

Clearly a handful of conservative Democrats have more power than 70% of the nation, and the so-called "progressives", having put on a good show, are more than happy to fold up with a little bribe.

I guess we are supposed to just keep on playing along with the charade, find an alternative, or just give up.

by Derek G 2007-03-22 05:39PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental

May I suggest reading posts on MyDD (this post by Chris Bowers) and the Daily Kos (How It Looks From The Outside and previous posts). Both explain the realities of the current political situation. They both go into much detail on the subject. They're worth a read....

I don't mean to dismiss your anger. I am as frustrated as you by the painfully slow way this democracy works at this particular time--with these particular people. But instead of the gnashing of teeth, I would like to hear equally informed detailed counter proposals that actually deal with the exigencies of the current situation.

I for one find these post very helpful because they permit a broader strategic view. As Congressman Obey pointed out we don't have the magic wand--although that would be nice.

by anothergreenbus 2007-03-22 06:56PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental

If you aren't a DLC sellout, then what exactly are you?  I guess, in the words of my congressman, I'm one of those "idiot liberals."  I, frankly, don't much care about this.  In my deep cynicism, I voiced concern that this is exactly what would happen.  We won the election, but allowed the ReThugs to name the winners - pragmatic, conservative Democrats.  I have nothing against you, but this continued preaching about not kicking the skunk because then you will smell the the skunk has to stop.  I will admit, however, that I'm really tired.

by coldH2Owi 2007-03-22 05:08PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental
You are still calling me a DLC sellout, even if you supposedly have nothing against me. It is remarkable how easily and for how long you can be offended by the words of one congressman and yet still have no problems throwing around insults yourself. Enjoy your cynicism. I'm going to keep working.
by Chris Bowers 2007-03-22 06:29PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental

What I said was "If you're not a DLC sellout,then what are you?"  Sensitive much.  & as far as your continuing to work, while I ;enjoy my cynicism, well, young man, my 6 month old granddaughters are someday going to look back on this age of the cool,hipster, young Democrats being pragmatic as one more nail in the coffin of democracy.  Oh, one congressman?  Maybe chair of the Appropriations committee, yes, small potatoes there.  OK, I'm fed up,  you are still SUPPORTING WAR, goddmamnit, SUPPORTING THE WAR.  But you are young, I'm old, you're supple, I need 25 aspiring a day to move,  you're smart, I'm a dumbass, Madison-remembering, local Housing Authority chair who just doesn't get it.  Well, smartass, my state Assembly person is a Dem., my state Senator is a Dem., my congressman,  yes, the famousyly hot-tempered Dave Obey is a Dem, my two Senators are Dems., my governor is a Dem, & my state senate is controlled by Dems.  Not bad for an old asshole who wishes compromise hasn't been redefined as capitulation.  Good luck with your "work."

by coldH2Owi 2007-03-22 07:10PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental
Well, if you are trying to define yourself as, in your own words, "an old asshole," you did a pretty good job with that comment.
by Chris Bowers 2007-03-22 07:21PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental

OK, thanks Chris.  You're such a man. I guess what little I've done over the years for the next generation down just wasn't enough.  I guess calling someone an old asshole is like not-calling someone a DLC sellout.  Thanks for supporting the war, the war my grandbabies might die in.  Sleep well, exhausted one.  I'm sorry you are so tired.

by coldH2Owi 2007-03-22 07:52PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics

Hi Chris;

Good thoughts on the closing of this chapter.

Enjoy your trip...the weather looks nice down there for the weekend!

by lutton 2007-03-22 05:10PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental

Look forward to having you at the YD convention in NC. I will be there. I haven't posted in forever. Been extremely busy but much going on politically in NC.

by southerndemnut 2007-03-22 05:33PM | 0 recs
Yes On The Supplemental

Good post Chris.  David Sirota had a lengthy piece on this issue yesterday which offered his thoughts about why voting Yes on the supplemental bill is the best option for progressives.  I'm pretty impressed that so many progressives have taken such a sophisticated and nuanced view of this thorny issue.  And it's great to see that Democrats in Congress actually have the horsepower to get some things done.  It may fall short of our wildest dreams, but it's a hell of a lot better than where we were at just a few months ago.

by global yokel 2007-03-22 05:43PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental

One of the major flaws to the whole supplemental strategy is the notion of supplemental appropriation.  This thing has run for over 4 years.  Supplemental budget = AdHoc strategy.

A good part of the ennui you express is more than likely from buying into two completely conficting propositions.  Yes there is language in the bill to cut things off, but everyone knows the big war Humvee just got re-upped on its prepaid fuel card.  The odds of George W running out the clock on the occupation go up with the passage of this appropriation.

Funding the occupation means funding the occupation.  Do you really believe that the 'you don't support the troops' shibboleth is going away?

News flash.  If you oppose the war and the occupation you DON'T support what the TROOPS ARE DOING.  The democrats have to come up with a frame about disengaging the troops from an inappropriate mission.  Hell if nothing else call the supplemental the "Iraq Occupation Mission Termination".  Knowing when to end the war is an act of patriotism.

This occupation (the war part was done back in 2003) needs to go 'on budget'.  The supplemental part ought to be on the revenue side.  Also by going on budget, it fits into a government fiscal year, and THAT can put a timeline on any activity.

So stop the supplementals.  Draw the line at FY2009 by allocating no funds for an Iraq occupation.  That sends the message.  It should have been done in the FY2008 budget.

by RickG 2007-03-22 05:55PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental

Here, Here! Well put Chris. Although this bill gets vetoed (or ignored) if it passes anyway, losing would have been a devastating defeat for those of us that want the war to come to an end.

by BobbyNYC 2007-03-22 06:32PM | 0 recs
"I have grown truly exhausted...."

It's amazing how sitting on your keister all day and smoking cigarettes will do that to you.

by Liberal Avenger 2007-03-22 06:39PM | 0 recs
We need a win & this is the best we'll get

Seriously, Pelosi and Co. need a victory and realistically this is the best we can hope for.  Anything else would just be a losing protest vote.

by dpANDREWS 2007-03-22 07:11PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics Of Voting Yes On The Supplemental

Well, the Walter Reed and now US Attorneys scandal have obviously been the big stories of the past couple of weeks (with good reason) and thus stolen attention from the supplemental bill and war. Plus, we've been debating what Dems will do about the war for several months now so I think people are just temporarily exhausted from that discussion.

I think that explains why the war isn't the #1 story right now and perhaps even why you're tired. We're all tired, I'd guess. Many people worked very hard getting Dems elected last fall, or at least spent a lot of time reading and writing on blogs. And there wasn't much of a lull since they won, either until the 110th took over or since then. Fatigue was bound to set in sooner or later. In fact, I think it set in last fall, but we've all be running on the post-victory euphoria and reserves. But even those were bound to wear out, and they finally have, I think.

And given the even bigger battles up ahead, I think we can all use a little time off to recharge.

by kovie 2007-03-22 08:29PM | 0 recs
Re: The Ethics

a vote for the supplemental is a vote for more war.  It's that simple.  There's no guaranteed that the troops will be out of Iraq in 08.  Plus, all the major candidates have said that they'll keep troops in Iraq.  The Democrats are playing politics with this. They won in november because the american people are tired of this horrendous war.  What on earth do we need american troops in Iraq until 08 for?

by AnthonyMason2k6 2007-03-23 07:24AM | 0 recs
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by karacune 2007-05-09 02:33AM | 0 recs


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