by Jerome Armstrong, Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 05:45:46 AM EST
This will be interesting to read. Apparently, Obama called up Rep. Conyers to complain that Conyers was "demeaning" Obama by being critical of him. Conyers replied:
Sitting in the Judiciary Committee's conference room two days after Obama delivered his speech on Afghanistan, the 23-term lawmaker said he wasn't in the mood to "chat."
Obama's move to send in 30,000 troops to Afghanistan by the summer of 2010 has clearly disappointed Conyers.
He said he intends to press his case in writing soon.
"I want something so serious that he has to respond in writing, like I am responding in writing to him," he said.
"Calling in generals and admirals to discuss troop strength is like me taking my youngest to McDonald's to ask if he likes french fries," Conyers said.
Many on the left have argued that military leaders routinely respond to crises by calling for more troops.
"I've been saying I don't agree with him on Afghanistan, I think he screwed up on healthcare reform, on Guantánamo and kicking Greg off," Conyers said, referring to the departure of former White House counsel Greg Craig.
Craig was a leading proponent in the White House of closing the terrorist detention center at Guantánamo Bay and releasing photos of detainees undergoing torture. Closing the military prison has proven to be politically difficult, and Obama reversed field on the photos, opting not to make them publicly available.
The White House did not respond to requests for comment for this article.
The liberal Conyers has been an outspoken proponent of a single-payer healthcare system and a critic of U.S. involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He has also been at odds with White House policy on extending expiring provisions of the Patriot Act, crafting legislation that is to the left of the Senate's version.
There might be another division coming too, over what to do with borrowed TARP funds that are being returned to pay off the dept. The banks and firms like GS are in much better shape now, having amassed funds from the Gov't at low rates and profitably trading securities. The Republicans want to return the dept to deal with the over 12 trillion deficit, and Democrats want to use the money for a jobs program.
It would seem likely that Obama will try and cut it down the middle, spending while saving, figuring out some proposal along the lines with what he usually proposes, like escalating troops in Afghanistan while simultaneously talking about a pullout date.
On that latter point, you had to be in awe of the political machinery in the WH that takes the research & polling pulse to figure out how to best frame the least terrible of miserable alternatives that the military handed Obama to decide upon.
And yet, "Obama's Plan for Afghanistan Finds Bipartisan Support: Overall, 51% of Americans support the new policy, while 40% are opposed"wrote Gallup:
Well less than half of Democrats agree either with the level of new troops the U.S. is sending or with the specifics of the new timetable. Similarly, less than half of Republicans agree with either of these two components, and almost three out of four Republicans disagree with the concept of setting a timetable at this point.
Thus, partisan reactions to the specific components of the new plan do not explain the majority support for the plan among both Republicans and Democrats.
It may be that while Democrats disagree with the specifics of the timetable as announced, they approve of the idea of having any timetable included. And it may be that while Republicans strongly disagree with the having any timetable included, they approve of the general idea of an increase of troop levels.
"How much longer would you be willing to have large numbers of U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan - less than a year, one to two years, two to five years, five to ten years, or as long as it takes?"
27% Less than 1 year
22% 1 to 2 years
14% 2 to 5 years
1% 5 to 10 years
31% As long as it takes
It's amazing that 31% would be willing to stay in Afghanistan for decades to come, no matter what the cost. The vast majority want this over asap.