Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Defund

If you have somehow gotten the impression that I’d be giving up on defunding, you’ve obviously been reading the wrong newspaper. Today I suggest you take a look at the  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s editorial page:

What the Congress must do now, if Mr. Bush continues to refuse the $50 billion with conditions, is simply to *pass no bill*, leaving the Pentagon to finance its activities with the $482 billion it has already been authorized. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and the contractors behind the scenes will undoubtedly squawk, and the Republicans will posture politically, but the Democrats in the Congress, whom the electorate has counted on since November 2006 to bring the war to an end, will just have to take the heat. [Emphasis mine]


Actually, the editorial is from Sunday, but I’m not a regular reader of the Pittsburgh press. Now it seems like I will have to become one.

Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Obey have promised that they will not fund the war this year unless the President accepts a timeline for withdrawal. They must now make that requirement indefinite. If they do not, they will most likely have to fund the war in early spring. If they do that, they will have absolutely no excuse not to do so again in the fall. You will not have to be reminded of the very important event happening next fall.

We cannot allow Congress to submit another blank check. If that happens, Congress will have funded the war several times with no meaningful concessions. Democrats will have done so.

The 2004 election was about Iraq, so was 2006; there is every reason to believe that 2008 will be again. And that’s the pragmatic reason for doing this: Pittsburgh is very Democratic, yes, but it is not, to my knowledge, a hotbed of antiwar activism. In fact, it is very much like Ohio, one of the two swing states in the northeast that’s a must win for us next year (the other is, of course, Pennsylvania). Democrats should be able to go back to the voters having fulfilled their mandate to end the war. If they do not, all bets about massive electoral gains in the House and the Senate will be off. Thus we have the nexus of good politics and good policy. Defund the war because it’s right to end it; defund the war because it’s politically smart; defund the war because it’s playing on swing state main street.  


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  1. This issue is, of course, my passion.

  2. Decline to fund, not “defund,” which implies withdrawing already authorised spending.

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