Can’t defund the war? Then defund the Democrats

(@3 – promoted by buhdydharma )

(Cross-posted on DailyKos, where it has really stirred up the Kossacks.)

Enough is enough.

I spent 20 years of my life working to elect Democratic candidates.  Because that’s how I made my living, and because I believed it would make a difference, I’ve also given regularly to Democratic candidates over the years.

But the list of Dems who might get a check from me just got a lot shorter, after their latest cave-in on Iraq.

If they won’t defund the war, maybe it’s time to defund the Democrats.

There are 70 billion reasons to quit giving — one for every dollar they just appropriated for the Iraq war and occupation.  

Writing it that way makes it seem like too little.  This is better:  $70,000.000,000.00.  That’s how I’d use it in a campaign commercial against one of them in a Democratic primary.

No matter how you write it, it is a lot of money.

Did I mention that it’s with no strings attached?  No requirements to even begin to plan for troop withdrawal.  Nada.  Nothing.  Zip.  Zilch.

Seventy billion.


How did that happen, when we elected a Democratic Congress just a year ago with a mandate to end the war and bring the troops home?

It happened because the Dems are spineless.

In the Senate, three Democrats — three — voted against the appropriations bill.  Their names are Feingold, McCaskill, and Bayh.  On an earlier vote on a Feingold amendment to withdraw most US troops within nine months, Feingold got 23 other Democrats to join him. But 20 of them later caved and voted for final passage of the bill, which passed 76-17. (The pertinent roll calls are #437 and #441.)

In the House, where the bill passed 272-142, 141 Democrats voted no.  Seventy-eight others voted yes. Here’s the roll call.

Presidential candidates were too busy running for president to be bothered with a little item like this, so they weren’t recorded.

Here’s what one of the House Dems who voted no had to say:

“This is a blank check,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). “The new money in this bill represents one cave-in too many. It is an endorsement of George Bush’s policy of endless war.”

So maybe it’s not fair to tar all of the Democrats with the same brush, since McGovern and some others did the right thing. I’m willing to make some exceptions, but not too many.

It’s hard to know, of those 141 House Dems who voted no, whether they would have done the same if their votes had been needed for passage.  This was a free vote; they knew the bill was going to pass anyway, so they could get on the right side.  For now, they probably get the benefit of the doubt.

But what about those 78 who voted yes even when they had a free pass to do the right thing?  How does anyone defend them?  Is it courageous to vote to continue the war as is, when two-thirds of the people in the country want it to end?

They’ll offer plenty of tortured logic and parliamentary gobbledygook to explain why they had to vote for the pork-filled package.  But it’s all phony baloney.

It’s even more pathetic in the Senate, where all but three Dems voted for passage while the bill was passing by a 59-vote margin.  Another freebie.  A chance to do the right thing, to do what their constituents want, and put some pressure on to start bringing our troops home.

It recalls the principled stand of the late Sen. Gaylord Nelson, the Wisconsin Democrat, who cast one of only three votes against a $700-million appropriation for the Vietnam war in 1965.

“Obviously, you need my vote less than I need my conscience,” Nelson told the Senate.

Appropriately, Russ Feingold holds Nelson’s Senate seat.

So, given their latest performance, or lack thereof, the Democrats clearly need my money less than I need my conscience.  

I am through giving money to anyone who votes to fund the war with no strings. I am through giving money to the DCCC or DSCC.  And I am through giving to presidential candidates at least until there is a nominee, when we can evaluate the ticket and the platform.

I’m tired of hearing that Democrats don’t have the votes.  They have the votes not to appropriate no-strings money for the war.  

What they lack is not the votes, but the will, or, if you prefer, the guts.

It’s time to defund them.

POSTSCRIPT:  One blogger suggested that perhaps we could simply give the $70-billion directly to defense contractors and the oil industry, in exchange for being allowed to end the war.

Maybe there’s another way.  Let’s just buy enough members of Congress.  If we divide the money between the 535 members, we could give them about $131-million each. That should be enough to buy their votes to end the war. But if we only want to buy a veto-proof majority, we’d only have to pay two-thirds of them, so they could each get $195-million. They could each use it for whatever earmarked pet projects they’d like in their districts.  Maybe it would work.

Hard not to get cynical, isn’t it?  


Skip to comment form

    • pfiore8 on December 22, 2007 at 04:55

    and screw the democrats who have usurped it

    unseat the republican lites with americans interested in the broad range of the middle class and stop allowing immigrants to be the new fall guys for americans not getting jobs or services. bullshit.

    it’s time to expose all this crap and if we have americans in office instead of democrats or republicans…………

    no. i’m going to enjoy this week so i’m not going to let loose, but let go of all this crap for a few days.

    so happy holidays and keep up the great activism xofferson!!!

  1. Again, good work, xofferson.  We must refuse to go along with business as usual.  Refuse to support them in anyway.

    Iraq Moratorium.  General strike.

    Like a donkey or a Buddha, refuse to move.  

  2. and FP here!  nice job xofferson & great quote!

    the Democrats clearly need my money less than I need my conscience.


    Why doesn’t that diary have a Recommended tag?  Can somone with TU please add one.

    • robodd on December 22, 2007 at 21:42

    Give to organizations trying to take the money element out.  .  Campaign finance reform, lobbying reforms are the ways to get our party and our country back.

  3. The amazing part of this is how long, how very, very long it’s taken some of us to get to this point.

    As long as we keep thinking that the Dems are progressive, that they’re somehow miraculously going to wake up and make changes to bring us peace, privacy, prosperity, as long as we keep feeding the wishful thinking that the Dems are on our side in this, we get thrown under the bus every single time.

    Cutting off $$ to them is a decent first step, but I doubt we all have enough money together to match their big donors.  But it’s a first step.  The big question is, what are the steps after the first one?  What exactly has to be done either to transform the democrats (which imo is hopeless) or to leave their sinking ship and create something else?

    I note that recently Kos wrote a fp article that the answer was to give the evil dino’s primaries.  I thought that was bs. To do that you’d have to trade dealing with the issues for a life of boiler room electoral politics and internecine struggle.  I’m not signing up for that.

    We need to get moving on finding something else.  Without a change, it’s tweedle dum and tweedle dee all over again, and we’re going to get thrown under every single bus that passes by.

    • feline on December 22, 2007 at 21:48

    against #437 if she was willing to vote against #441.

    What was she hoping for in an amendment?

    I wrote her a letter upset about her first vote, and I want to write her again thanking her for her second vote – but I still don’t understand this discrepency in her vote.

    I guess I’ll just have to ask her…

    • documel on December 22, 2007 at 21:59

    We all need to get this message out–no money for enablers.  They won’t stand up until they fear we’ll abandom them with both $ and votes.  

    As to the “busy’ wannabes, if this vote wasn’t important enough to demonstrate your position, you are a shit.  My strategy, unfortunately, is learning “O Canada.”

  4. “Stirred up the kossacks“? (rest of comments to this end redacted because they’re not very nice)

    Great diary! I don’t know if I mentioned that earlier, but I am now  🙂

  5. not another dime until Pelosi recants and we begin impeachment proceedings.

  6. Prior to 2004 I was registered as a Green, but returned to the Democrats (the party I was born into) as a gesture of solidarity against Bush.  I participated on dKos, gave money to the party, and worked the phones in GOTV.

    What was the point in any of that?

    I’ve basically stopped participating on dKos because I simply can no longer advocate for the Democratic party.  And, certainly, they will not receive any more money from me, nor any more volunteer work, until the party starts living up to its mandate.

    Pelos and Reid are worthless.  The Democratic party is worthless and I am just sick of it.

    It’s almost as if they want to alienate the base.  Well, good job, because they have done so; pretty thoroughly, too.

    Fuck ’em.

  7. regarding the current tactics of Cindy Sheehan and company as they forced a confrontation with Conyers.

    Civility, Decorum and Strategy

  8. stand people who talk out of both sides of their mouths!  Conyers and Pelosi are both guilty of this.  While they continue to give their excuses for not pursuing impeaching heartings, i.e., “there’s not enough time — we’re trying to end the war — we have important legislation to work on” — etc. ad nauseum.  You DON’T continue to fund a war if you want it to end!!!!!!!!

    Out with Pelosi!!!

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