From the “Our elected representatives don’t give a damn what we the people want done as long as they’re not incurring His Majesty George’s displeasure” desk:
This just in – George W. Bush has found his missing WMD’s – they were down at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue at Capitol Hill. They have been positively identified as Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV).
Oh…you thought I meant Weapons of Mass Destruction? No, no, don’t be silly. There never were any of those. That was just some crap the Bush camp made up as an excuse to invade Iraq.
I meant War Mongering Democrats….
Pelosi and Reid say that this is a “first step” toward ending the war.
So. Let me see if I’ve got this straight:
The House and Senate have both approved giving this incompetent, lying, petulant little bully ONE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS to continue pouring down the death ridden rat hole that is the Iraq War and in return he has promised to remove the troops…when? Oh that’s right. HE DOESN’T HAVE TO WTHDRAW THE TROOPS AT ALL IF HE DOESN’T WANT TO.
From the “Now that I have the bucks to pay those overdue Halliburton invoices”desk:
This just in – President Bush expects this summer in Iraq to be a bloodbath:
“What they’re going to try to do is kill as many innocent people as they can to try to influence the debate here at home.”
That George – always willing to reduce the deaths of our troops and of innocent Iraqis into mere political fodder.
Perhaps the reason is this:
The predictions of more bloodshed came at a time when Americans’ assessment of the war has never been worse, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll that said 76 percent of Americans believed the war was going somewhat or very badly for the United States.
Only 20 percent said the recent troop increase was making a positive difference, and just 23 percent approved Bush’s handling of the war. His overall job approval was 30 percent.
This, of course brings us back to Bush’s newly discovered WMD’s….
And, finally, from the “Osama? What’s an Osama?” desk:
Dubya reports that the US is still searching for Osama Bin Laden (remember him – he was the guy actually reponsible for the Al Qaeda attacks of 9/11/01):
“He’s not out there traipsing around. He’s not leading many parades. He’s not out feeding the hungry. He’s isolated, trying to kill people to achieve his objective.”
This differs some from his view of Osama of 2002, as he was doing the con job that led us into the Iraq quagmire:
“I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority.”
So. Bush still doesn’t know where Bin Laden is, but at least Osama has something to occupy his time….
Feel safer yet? Or freer?
Pelosi’s home district is where? San Francisco? Hmmm. Does anybody know how folks out that way feel about the war?
Hunh. Oh well. Couldn’t possibly have any implications for next year’s Congressional elections, I don’t reckon. Never mind. Back to the talking monkey show…..
I would like nothing better than to see every American out of Iraq in the next 24 hours. I would also like to see about 700 of the current 735 American military bases on foreign soil abandoned and closed, to make the US a republic again instead of the militaristic empire it has become. And sure, I’d like to have all 435 representatives just as righteously radical as my own wonderful congresswoman Barbara Lee.
But I have to say that I think you guys have lost sight of the reality of power in Washington and therefore of what may actually be the quickest way to get the troops out of Iraq. It may not be the straight line we would all wish for. After the great triumphs of last year’s congressional elections, and given the strong desire most Americans have expressed to depart Iraq posthaste, I think that we all began to indulge in wishful thoughts about what would happen next.
But in fact Bush still holds some 75 percent of the power, because almost all congressional Republicans have stuck with him on Iraq (and most other issues). Therefore, what we can realistically hope for in the short term is that the Democrats will be able to keep Bush from doing anything even worse, like attacking Iran or Syria, and that over the next few months a few more Republicans will defect (especially after the expected report by Petraeus in September). This may make it possible, when the FY08 appropriations come up in the fall, for Pelosi and Reid to push through an Iraq bill with teeth.
Politics is the art of the possible, and I think they are being very artful under the circumstances. Let’s not attack our friends when they’re in the trenches.
The Democrats, you, me, and everyone we know are going to have to get one hard, hard fact through our heads – Bush is a renegade. He’s about power and nothing else. Politics per se mean nothing to him. Look at how his adherents are developing a private army with Blackwater. Look at how he’s still maneuvering to start a war with Iran – why do you think we’re seeing a naval buildup off the coast of that country? This is a guy who sees the “art of the possible” as how much he can get away with until he’s in a position to crush opposition.
Bush should be made to feel like he claims Osama feels. Like Johnson did in ’68 when he declined to run again. Hell, he should have been made to feel that way in ’04.
If the rest of the Republicans want to stand with Bush on Iraq, then the Dems should beat them over the head with that at every turn – every turn. No quarter and no mercy. When have they shown any? Name one time for me when the Republicans haven’t run roughshod over the Democrats when it suited their purposes?
It’s time to “cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war” – politically speaking. We’re in a pointless war because of bogus intelligence and the Bush administration’s policies are killing more kids every day. It needs to stop.
If the reality is that the Dems don’t have enough to win the issue right now then the political reality play seems to be this: use your slight numbers advantage to pass a law that does the right thing, then FORCE THE PRESIDENT TO OWN IT with his veto. THAT strengthens your position later on. THIS route means that when later on rolls around you were part of those who were complicit.
I’m all about the realities of political positioning, and unless there’s something at work here that’s so shrewd that pretty much no left bloggers can see it and no candidate can explain it coherently, the Dems have now given away the moral high ground. And if you only have one weapon you can use, you need to hold on to it tightly.
Someone compared the Dems to battered wives and I tend to agree. They’re so used to the right wing noise machine constructing the framing that they feared a smack down. And it would have happened. “The Dems don’t support our troops, they’ve abandoned them in the desert with no money,” would be the non-stop mantra.
It would work, too. Because the Dems have not empowered themselves and taken over the conversation.
The NEED to pull themselves up, start pushing their own framing (also known as reality), and fighting back. They didn’t do it this time, and boy are they hearing about it. Maybe they’ll do the right thing in September. They need to give Bush the same bill over and over and let him veto it over and over. Then they force their way onto the talking head shows and overwhelm the noise with “the American people are against this war, we are trying to stop it, we want to support our troops by giving them what they need while at the same time insuring that they get to come home. It’s Bush who is being petulant and using the troops for his own political agenda and holding them hostage.”
They need to get over their fear and sense of helplessness. Sunday talk doesn’t have to be 3 conservatives and 1 weak progressive. The Dems should pound on the network doors and demand their equal time. They need to stand up to Bush and his water carriers and show that they are not going to be pushed around any longer.
Hope springs eternal, maybe this is the secret plan that Sam was mentioning. Maybe they are going to use this time to organize, strengthen, and be prepared to hit back hard next time.
Sam said he wished he could hope for it. He didn’t say he’d bet a plug nickel on it.
Face it, folks: it’s just not that complicated. We just wish it were. Jim has it right: the top Democrats SUPPORT THE WAR. They voted for it up front, they kept saying they supported it, they keep on funding it. The first supplemental was a poor attempt at ending the war, which they knew would be vetoed. It was a charade, as we now see. They meant all along to keep it going.
It’s especially obvious if you add in their free trade “deal” (read capitulation) with the Bushies – which they had to keep secret from their own members! It’s all the same thing: an imperial policy, which they support.
I just hope the people of San Francisco are paying attention to what Pelosi has done to them. This is the Greens’ big chance to get someone into Congress. Pelosi needs to be diselected, and not by a Republican.
The rumor is that progressives will target a right-wing Dem, like Emanuel or Hoyer, to take out. But the buck stops at the top, and Pelosi is the most vulnerable because her district is so liberal – nearly elected a Green mayor of S.F. She’s a traitor: take her out.
Ever since I read George Lakoff’s Don’t Think of an Elephant, I’ve been consciously reframing things, and I’ve come up with my answer to the GOP’s bullet list of talking points.
Instead of National Security, let’s support National Power.
Instead of Tax Relief, let’s talk about Public Investment.
Instead of Free Markets, let’s go with Fair Markets.
And instead of Smaller Government, we need Effective Government.
I’m still working on coming up with a good answer to “Family Values,” though. Community values isn’t bad, but it’s not right either.
The problem is something that Markos Moulitsas and Jerome Armstrong outlined in their book, “Crashing The Gate”: The old-guard Democrats are really just Republicans in sheep’s clothing. They’re held hostage to lobbyists, high-paid consultants, and moneymen who want to make sure the status quo is maintained. They’ve spent too many years being comfortable in second place and perpetuating themselves as the underdogs to actually take responsibility. Why bother, when you can just draw checks from single-issue advocacy groups and blame Bush for his failures?
Why even try?
Martin – And this would be why we need to get past Democrat and Republican, or perhaps redefine what each is. It plays to the Top/Bottom instead of Left/Right – the leadership of each party is radically different, and divorced, from the rank-and-file membership. It’s the difference between Demenocrats and Democrats, and between Repugnicans and Republicans.
And it’s a difference we need to make sure everyone understands. The big question is how to enlighten people as to the fact that their “worst enemy” is actually their best ally against their real enemies, their “party leadership”.
Jim, I strongly agree that Bush is a renegade who wants only power. But I don’t see the strategic advantage to presenting Bush with another bill to veto when we can’t override it. (Sam, the Dems did use their slight advantage to pass a bill that forced Bush to veto it.) So now it’s time to plan the tactics for the next few months. Pelosi and Reid have the same goal as we do, to get the troops out of Iraq as soon as possible. I wish they had found a way to do it now, but they haven’t. And that’s not surprising, because they really don’t have a numerical advantage as long as they need to get a two-thirds majority to make anything substantive happen.
I would be the last to claim that every Democrat is a democrat, pure as the driven snow. But if the last 6 years have taught us anything, it’s that there is a real difference between the two parties
Robert, I see the wisdom of what you’re saying – but I just don’t think we can wait any longer to go after this guy. We’re already in the ’08 election cycle, and this will be a Presidential election year, so whatever hay the Dems are going to make, they’d better start sowing the seeds for the grass to grow into hay now.
I agree with Sam that forcing Bush to veto bill after bill would make him ultimately look like the bully bent on only his own way that he is. I think the more petulant, flummoxed, and ungracious we can make Dubya look, the better for America. Think about the loathing that many Bush supporters have for Dick Cheney. We should do all we can to make them have that for their boy – it’ll pay dividends.
If I were a Dem in Congress – LOL – I would get in front of every camera I could and keep pounding the same message: “The American people elected ME with this mandate – get out of Iraq. I’m trying to do the will of the American people.” That’ll play anywhere from SF to Peoria to Savannah….
What we need is somebody among the Republicans (I’m thinking historically now, Bob, cause I know you can stay with me 😉 ) – someone equivalent to say, what Mike Mansfield was to Johnson – someone who’d stand up to Bush and say, to paraphrase Mansfield, that he’s not Bush’s guy, he’s the Senate’s guy. Someone who’d see it as more important to preserve the integrity of the tri-partite government than be lapdog to the White House imperialists. McCain could’ve been that guy before he turned into Dubya’s boy toy….
I think the press might be surprised if they tried to poll to find out if the public disliked the petulance of Congress (which is how they’d phrase the questions, I’m betting). They might find that the results showed how much the public despised the petulance of Bush.
And the exposure of the emperor’s clothes would be on….
Jim, I see the wisdom (and the historical perspective) of what you’re saying too. And I applaud the 142 representatives (including Pelosi, Kucinich, Lee, and McNerney) and 14 senators (including Boxer, Dodd, Clinton, and Obama) who voted against it. I feel sure that the next such vote will be much more in our favor and will include more Republicans (there were five).
Unfortunately, I don’t see any antiwar Republicans who could have the slightest clout with Bush (even Hagel voted for the bill); the three GOP senators were opposed because the bill wasn’t sufficiently Bush-friendly. And I do think the earlier bill that Bush was forced to veto represented exactly the kind of seed-sowing you call for.
If this vote were a one-time thing that would lock in Iraq War funding for years, I would have to agree that we should have fought it as a moral necessity. It’s not. There are many other chances to disempower Bush coming up in the next few months, and I expect Pelosi and Reid to take advantage of them. In the meantime, I see no reason to disparage their efforts in a complicated card game where they still don’t hold a winning hand.
See, Robert, I see missed political opportunity. Right now Bush is the stinking albatross from hell around the neck of every single Republican who wants to be re-elected. The more you can do to put Bush in front of America in a position where he’s killing troops under a spotlight and the more you can do to force GOP legislators to stand by their man, the better your chances in 2008. However, what the Dems have done now is allow the public to see them as complicit, and worse, as hypocritical. I know the public sees it this way because the left netroots braintrust sees it this way – the people who gave their lives to electing this Dem majority are plotting a mutiny even as we speak.
You think there will be opps to win this battle in the Fall. Maybe. I think the opp will be there, but I haven’t seen anything at all to suggest that I should invest an ounce of emotional energy in the hope that it will go any differently than it did this week.
If I’m wrong, I’ll be happy to be so. Please remind me when it happens so I can apologize publicly for my lack of faith and foresight.
I certainly hope you’re wrong, Sam. It seems pretty clear to me that there was no political opportunity this week that wasn’t taken: we did get a minimum-wage bill and some appropriations for things Bush would never otherwise agree to. Small potatoes in the face of this heinous war, I agree, but not nothing. And, I would argue, all that could be gotten.
There is the public-relations battle, and I fear you may be right there. The explanations of what they’re doing have not been what they could be. But if they had sent another good bill to Bush for his quick and well-publicized veto, I fear that the PR hit would have been worse.
In any case, thinking of the many times I have had to take circuitous routes to my desired destination
What the politically obsessed Dems have failed to realize is that by passing this resolution they just “bought” Iraq. NOW it’s their problem! Good luck owning it.
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