Tag: Capitulation

Follow The Leader


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was in a determinedly good mood when she sat down to lunch with reporters yesterday. . . . But her spirits soured instantly when somebody asked about the anger of the Democratic “base” over her failure to end the war in Iraq.

“Look,” she said, the chicken breast on her plate untouched. “I had, for five months, people sitting outside my home, going into my garden in San Francisco, angering neighbors, hanging their clothes from trees, building all kinds of things — Buddhas? I don’t know what they were — couches, sofas, chairs, permanent living facilities on my front sidewalk.” Unsmilingly, she continued: “If they were poor and they were sleeping on my sidewalk, they would be arrested for loitering, but because they have ‘Impeach Bush’ across their chest, it’s the First Amendment.”

Though opposed to the war herself, Pelosi has for months been a target of an antiwar movement that believes she hasn’t done enough. Cindy Sheehan has announced a symbolic challenge to Pelosi in California’s 8th Congressional District. And the speaker is seething.

“We have to make responsible decisions in the Congress that are not driven by the dissatisfaction of anybody who wants the war to end tomorrow,” Pelosi told the gathering at the Sofitel, arranged by the Christian Science Monitor. Though crediting activists for their “passion,” Pelosi called it “a waste of time” for them to target Democrats. “They are advocates,” she said. “We are leaders.”

She hates us. She really hates us. But by all means, let’s coddle the Dem leaders in Congress. I’m sure she’ll lead us somewhere. Suuuure she will.

On Iraq: Coddling The Congress, Criticizing Clinton

The problem with liberal pundits is that they are capable of being overtaken by herd mentalities just like their conservative colleagues. On Iraq, the majority of liberal pundits have bought into the the patently false notion that the Congress has done “everything it can” to end the war while at the same time deciding Hillary Clinton is not pure on Iraq, notwithstanding the facts. Take Harold Meyerson for instance:

. . . Congressional Democrats have honorably tried and failed to scale back the war; the Senate's requirement of a 60-vote supermajority to alter policy requires supermajority support from the public for an altered Senate.

This is simply false. Meyerson can not be ignorant of the fact that no bill need be passed to end the war. That in fact, FUNDING the war requires passage of a bill and not funding does not. Meyerson gives the Congress a free pass while taking shots at Hillary Clinton:

FISA: Deja Vu All Over Again

As I wrote, I am not at all optimistic about the FISA bill coming out of Congress. Pontificator thinks some of us are too negative:

The House FISA bill, introduced today, . . . is a strong bill that protects civil liberties and provides for oversight.  What the NYT article suggests is that certain Democrats believe that they will ultimately have to give up on that bill because Bush will demand capitulation.  This is worrisome, but we are not there yet.

Interestingly, pontificator wrote the same type of comments to me last March when I railed about the Iraq Supplemental. Unlike pontificator,  Chris Bowers has learned from the Iraq Supplemental experience in March:

This pre-legislative negotiation “compromise” is a real habit for Democrats. We have seen it on immigration reform, Iraq, FISA, the minimum wage, health care, and a whole host of other issues. Democrats present compromised legislation, and then after actual legislative negotiations occur, those compromises are watered down even further. By the end of the process, the proposed legislation typically ends up weighted far more toward the conservative end of the spectrum on the issue than the progressive side. While I don’t doubt that Clinton, Edwards and Obama would all like to see their proposed legislation enacted as it is proposed, it strikes me that in order to achieve their proposed legislation, they should start out by asking for even more than they want.

I’ll go even further. I think the House Democrats should, like Bush does, draw lines in the sand. This far and no further. Like Iraq, FISA extension requires action by the Congress. Doing nothing is very much an option. But since the Democratic leadership does not perceive it as such, come the inevitable Senate “compromise” or Bush veto, the House Dems, based on the history we have seen, will capitulate. Let them prove us wrong. The important thing is to protest, not protect the poor ears of the Democratic leadership.

[UPDATE] ACLU unhappy with House proposal.

False Hope On FISA?

Glenn Greenwald has hope on FISA:

But at least thus far, from everything I can tell, the picture is more complicated and less depressing than this NYT article suggests, and the defeat is not yet a fait accompli. To begin with, the bill to be proposed today by the House Democratic leadership actually contains some surprisingly good and important provisions. . .

But that bill will never see the President's desk. As Glenn himself notes:

It is definitely possible that this is all just deceit, that House leaders introduced this bill strictly to placate their Progressive Caucus and their base and that they have no real intention of fighting for these provisions, but instead will give Bush what he wants once Mike McConnell starts accusing them of Helping the Terrorists and they begin negotiating in secret again.

Yes, that is exactly what will happen. We know the cast of characters already. This is a repeat of the Iraq Supplemental fight in March. The House bill will be eviscerated. More.

Thank Gawd The Dems Control Congress, Who Else Can Execute Such a Craven Capitulation?

Yea Dems!:

Two months after insisting that they would roll back broad eavesdropping powers won by the Bush administration, Democrats in Congress appear ready to make concessions that could extend some crucial powers given to the National Security Agency. . . . Although willing to oppose the White House on the Iraq war, they remain nervous that they will be called soft on terrorism if they insist on strict curbs on gathering intelligence.

A Democratic bill to be proposed on Tuesday in the House would maintain for several years the type of broad, blanket authority for N.S.A. eavesdropping that the administration secured in August for six months.

Aren’t you glad now the Dems won in 2006? Aren’t they inspiring you to work hard for them in 2008? Caroline Frederickson nicley calls them out:

“The Democratic leadership, philosophically, is with us,” Ms. Frederickson said. “But we need to help them realize the political case, which is that Democrats will not be in danger if they don’t reauthorize this Protect America Act. They’re nervous.

“There’s a ‘keep the majority’ mentality, which is understandable,” she said, “But we think they’re putting themselves in more danger by not standing on principle.”

These craven idiots would not know a principle if it hit them in the head.

Standing Up Against The New McCarthyism And Ending The Iraq War

Paul Waldman writes a good piece about Rush Limbaugh saga. I especially like his connecting Rush' New McCarthyism techniques to the Republican Party New McCarthyism on Iraq:

Think about how much time and effort they expend on convincing Americans that progressives and Democrats are “anti-military,” “hate the troops,” and even “hate America.” So any progressive veteran who criticizes Bush administration policies represents a profound threat to all the arguments they have made. It becomes particularly thorny when nearly the entire current leadership of the conservative movement — not only media figures like Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly, but also political figures including President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and many others — were of draft age during the Vietnam war but managed to stay out of harm's way.

But Democrats and their allies like Move On do not win this battle by aping this strategy, as Move On wrongly did; this battle is won by Democrats standing up against these McCarthyite tactics and, more importantly, standing up to Bush on Iraq. That means not funding the Iraq debacle after a date certain. More.

Iraq: Not The President

Ezra Klein wrote a great piece taking apart the very silly Roger Cohen's lament that “liberal hawks” like himself are misunderstood. They are NOT neocons Cohen insists. Ezra responded:

This shouldn't be necessary to say, but increasingly, it seems like the only point worth making to the commentariat. American politics isn't about you. It's not about your ideas, or your personal vision of the world, or your purity. . . . It is the impact of your ideas, and your commentary, that matters. . . . Here's why: Roger Cohen is not president. George W. Bush is. And until Roger Cohen's foreign policy vision integrates itself with an understanding of American power, and how ideas interact with the current administration, he is, effectively, a neoconservative, or, worse, an enabler of the neoconservatives who's able to advocate for their policy agenda without needing to answer for their failures.

(Emphasis supplied.) Great stuff. But it is worth asking this question – are progressive pundits, progressive blogs, and progressive activists considering  how their “ideas interact with the current administration?” I think not. There is precious little discussion from most about the fact that the only way to stop the Bush Administration's Iraq Debacle is to not fund it after a date certain. So either they are of the view that NOTHING can stop the Iraq Debacle while Bush is President (and if they think so, they should say so), or they are just as guilty of the narcissism Klein accuses Cohen of. Moreover, while George Bush will not be President after January 2009, neither will Ezra Klein or any other progressive pundit, blogger or activist. More.

On Iraq: Is Steny Hoyer The Problem?

Via mcjoan.

In a recent post, I excoriated Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for her statement on not funding the Iraq Debacle. But as mcjoan notes, one has to wonder who is calling the shots in the House. After all, Pelosi voted against the war and championed John Murtha for the #2 slot in the House leadership. The question to ask – is Steny Hoyer the actual Dem leader in the House?

Internal tensions erupted yesterday among House Dem leaders over Rep. David Obey's threat to block war funding without withdrawal timetables and his suggestion of a war tax, The Hill reports. . . .  “It’s hard to believe you could pick a worse time to do something to divide the caucus than the day Democrats and Republicans come together on both an Iraq bill and in sending the children’s health bill to the president,” a Democratic leadership aide told the paper. “The timing of this announcement made no sense.”

I'm told, however, that there's a bit more to these tensions than meet the eye. House insiders say they think that this anonymous dumping on Obey came from the office of House Dem leader Steny Hoyer. Hoyer is a big proponent of the new House Iraq bill being sponsored by Dem Rep. Neil Abercrombie that was voted on yesterday and passed overwhelmingly. Because this measure lacks a binding withdrawal timetable, others in leadership — like Pelosi — are cool to the idea, insiders point out.

. . . “The dumping on Obey likely came from Hoyer, who was much more enthusiastic about the moderate — read: toothless — Ambercrombie legislation than the rest of leadership is,” a House insider tells me.

Steny Hoyer, like Rahm Emanuel, has been awful on Iraq and obviously he seeks to torpedo the not funding without a timeline idea. It looks like he and Rahm Emanuel are the problem.

Rep. Obey Joins “Idiot Liberals”: Vows Not To Fund Iraq Debacle Without Date Certain to End War

Joining the Idiot Liberals, and separating himself from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI) promised to not forward any bill from his committee that funds the Iraq War without a date certain to end it:

“I would be more than willing to report out a supplemental meeting the President’s request if that request were made in support of a change in policy that would do three things.

— “Establish as a goal the end of U.S. involvement in combat operations by January of 2009.”

— “Ensure that troops would have adequate time at home between deployments as outlined in the Murtha and Webb amendments.”

— “Demonstrate a determination to engage in an intensive, broad scale diplomatic offensive involving other countries in the region.”

“But this policy does not do that. It simply borrows almost $200 billion to give to the Departments of State, Defense, Energy, and Justice with no change in sight.

“As Chairman of the Appropriations Committee I have absolutely no intention of reporting out of Committee anytime in this session of Congress any such request that simply serves to continue the status quo.”

Not funding after a date certain. Good idea Congressman.  Welcome to the fight. We “Idiot Liberals” have been waiting on you for the past seven months.

Looking For Allies

At Talk Left, Miss Devore wrote in response to a comment pooh poohing not funding the Iraq Debacle:

great idea

let’s just accept we have to continue a criminal pre-emptive war, whereby we are visiting unimaginable suffering upon people. let’s just say it’s an out-of-control frat party. ok, mebbe a million dead, another 2M displaced, an entire country trashed.

and you worry about Pelosi being fragged?

You don’t seem to get the arrogance.

the Senate supported partitioning Iraq.

you go and sit on some other country telling you what your bidness should be.

At pff, sabrina wrote:

. . . If ending the war is, as he claims, his primary reason for being involved, he could have joined forces with all the other blogs who really were working for the same thing, and saying the same things he was. . . . I would join forces with anyone (with the exception of a very few) and set aside all  former feelings about them temporarily, if together we could force this govenrment to stop this war. . . .

(Emphasis supplied.) So would I. I ask both of them what they suggest we can do. I am prepared to work with anyone to try and end the Iraq Debacle. I’ll be reading both of them where they write for suggestions.

I hope they see this diary and respond with their best ideas.

For the Record: On Not Funding The Iraq Debacle

I had assumed everyone knew my precise position on not funding the Iraq Debacle. I find that is not the case. For my own reference purposes, I repeat what has been my position since January 2007; articulated clearly in this February 2007 post:

Many ask ‘so what is a Democratic Congress to do?’ With Mitch McConnell promising filibusters to all attempts to revoke the Iraq AUMF, cap troop levels and to cut funding for the Iraq Debacle, what is it I am asking of the Democratic Congress.

Let me explain again – I ask for three things: First, announce NOW that the Democratic Congress will NOT fund the Iraq Debacle after a date certain. You pick the date. Whatever works politically. If October 2007 is the date Dems can agree to, then let it be then. If March 2008, then let that be the date; Second, spend the year reminding the President and the American People every day that Democrats will not fund the war past the date certain; Third, do NOT fund the Iraq Debacle PAST the date certain.

Some argue we will never have the votes for this. That McConnell will filibuster, that Bush will veto. To them I say I KNOW. But that does not fund the Iraq Debacle. Let me repeat, to end the war in Iraq, the Democratic Congress does not have to pass a single bill, they need only NOT pass bills that fund the Iraq Debacle.

But but but, defund the whole government? Defund the whole military? What if Bush does not pull out the troops? First, no, not defund the government, defund the Iraq Debacle. If the Republicans choose to shut down government in order to force the continuation of the Iraq Debacle, do not give in. Fight the political fight. We’ll win. Second, defund the military? See answer to number one. Third, well, if you tell the American People what is coming for a year, and that Bush is on notice, that it will be Bush abandoning the troops in Iraq, we can win that politcal battle too.

Understand this, if you want to end the Iraq Debacle, this is the only way until Bush is not President. If you are not for this approach for ending the war, tell me what you do support. I think this is the only way. And if you shy away from the only way to end the Debacle, then you really are not for ending it are you?

The first Presidential candidate I supported was Tom Vilsack, the former chairman of the DLC. How could that be? you might ask. It is because he said this in January:

Congress has the constitutional responsibility and a moral duty to cut off funding for the status quo,” said Vilsack. “Not a cap – an end. Not eventually – immediately.

I have been accused of being obsessed. I plead guilty. I have been obsessed with ending the Iraq Debacle.

Not Funding Iraq and Discharge Petitions

Reading the comments in Buhdy’s diary at the Big Orange Satan’s place, this is what passes for rebuttal:

Discharge petition

Get all the Republicans and 18 Democrats to sign on, and it comes up for a vote. Not hard to do. And people would hold the other 210 Democrats personally responsible for 18 Bush Dogs doing it, too.

An interesting theory. Now, it so happens that those of us who argue for the not funding option are aware of the discharge petition, and the more likely avenue, a motion to recommit. We are aware that the Republicans, joined by enough Democrats, can force funding without timelines. It is why we have argued that we need 218 to embrace the not funding without timelines option. And despite saying “it would be easy” to get majority support for a motion to recommit or a discharge petition, saying it does not make it so. But let’s assume it is easy, the benefit of forcing the Republicans do that is it will prove to all of us that the Democrats in Congress have done everything they can to end the war. There is truly nothing more we can ask of Speaker Pelosi. And we do not ask for more than that. But she will not do it. So she has not done everything she can.

You want to make it a Republican war? Make the Republicans pass THEIR bill funding it. Let the Dems who want it to be their war go on the record and vote for it. Why anyone would be opposed to this strategy is beyond me.

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