November 16, 2006

No further Murtha.

Steny Hoyer wins the vote for House Majority Leader by a wide 149-86 margin.

UPDATE: Kathryn Jean Lopez sez:
I was floating around the Capitol this morning as the voting was happening and the Republican staff response was just a wee bit bummed that Hoyer won. Murtha would obviously make for, well, a lot of colorful crap, to use his lingo. Hoyer's obviously the better choice for the Dems and will be more effective (and better for the country than Murtha, even if he's all wrong).
Mickey Kaus quips:
For some reason House Democrats decided they didn't want an old-school influence jockey who couldn't string five coherent sentences together without embarrassing himself to be their #2 national spokesman.

78 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

the wonders of a secret ballot. I bet Murtha had 170 public votes, but in secret ballot half that. They shouldn't have gone forward unless he had the votes and they should have known the votes would not hold up. duh!!

MadisonMan said...

Good. This makes me think that at least some Democrats were listening to the voters.

RogerA said...

Good for the dems! Glad at least some of them got the message about corruption. Looks like there will be two democratic factions in the house: Pelosi/Murtha wing and Hoyer wing--and Hoyer had some big numbers behind him. Would love to see how the caucus voted :)

DBrooks said...

I think a lot of people are missing the idea that this was about placating the Far Left. Murtha was never going to win. Now, Pelosi can say, "I supported him, but we just didn't get the votes," and every other Democrat can say they voted for him if they want to. Expect a number of other actions like this designed to show Kos, et.al. that the Democratic Leadership is trying to do "what they promised," but are being blocked by Republicans and DINOS.

Meade said...

Perhaps if Hoyer learns to refer to Pelosi as "Grandmadama Speaker of the House," the two of them will be able to work together.

Bruce Hayden said...

I am a Republican and relatively conservative, but I do believe that this was good for the Democratic Party and the U.S. I was just surprised at the vote margin.

As someone noted earlier, this doesn't bode well for Pelosi's term as Speaker - having her hand-picked candidate for Majority Leader so roundly defeated. But again, that may be good for the country.

Her next big challenge is with the charimanship of the Intelligence Committee, and whether she bows to the CBC and jumps impeached former judge Hastings over Harman for the slot. My guess is that she will, because the Majority Leader vote against her would seem to give the CBC more power over her.

Bruce Hayden said...

What is disenhartening to me is that the Democrats here seem to have gotten the message better than the Republicans about corruption.

Simon said...

This was lose-lose for Pelosi, and she lost about as completely as one can. Between Hastings and Murtha, one really has to wonder if there are blue dogs today who are asking if they could do better for Speaker.

Internet Ronin said...

Good for them. And him, I think.

cokaygne said...

The Democrats come out better than the Senate Republicans who just put Trent Lott back into the leadership. Besides being nostalgic for segregation, Lott has the same opinions as Murtha when it comes to pork. This gives the House Democrats a lot of credibility.

Drew W said...

Let's see here . . . Lots of congress people said they were solidly behind him, but when it came down to the secret ballot, they voted for the other guy.

I had no idea John Murtha was black.

MadisonMan said...

This was lose-lose for Pelosi, and she lost about as completely as one can.

Well, yes, according to Bob Novak. Probably according to Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter too.

Pelosi can now tell her anti-war constituents that she tried to support Murtha, but it didn't work out. That's good for her re-election chances, I'd think. I'm grateful that their are saner democrats than those that live in Pelosi's congressional district, and that sanity is at least temporarily in the majority.

Mark the Pundit said...

So Hoyer won the Battle of the Grandpas!

At least I am assuming they both are grandfathers...

Goesh said...

Congrats to the Dems! That is good news, now we won't have to concentrate all of our military might on some remote island 7,000 miles from the homeland. Murtha can still wear his tinfoil hat and barter for bribes at his leisure.

Doyle said...

dbrooks has it right.

MadisonMan - If Democrats listened to the voters, they would have been calling for withdrawal for months now. Murtha's is not the extremist position, Bush's is.

I'm fine with him not being majority leader, but Murtha was owed some airtime for helping win the election. Pelosi knows what she's doing.

Balfegor said...

Re: Dbrooks:

I think a lot of people are missing the idea that this was about placating the Far Left. Murtha was never going to win. Now, Pelosi can say, "I supported him, but we just didn't get the votes," and every other Democrat can say they voted for him if they want to. Expect a number of other actions like this designed to show Kos, et.al. that the Democratic Leadership is trying to do "what they promised," but are being blocked by Republicans and DINOS.

Excellent! If the new Democratic leadership can be depended upon to screw over the wackos at DKos in this fashion every time, I will be very happy. Possibly they have learned from Clinton's experiences -- political success comes from stabbing the Democratic base in the back!

Doyle said...

I wish there were a greater appreciation for the fact that the only one with the constitutional authority to get us the hell out of Iraq is George Bush.

Murtha couldn't really do anything about it even as Majority Leader, and he sounds kind of dotty, even if he's right.

As a DKos whacko, my back feels fine.

reader_iam said...

Balfegor:

Oh, I'll bet Kos will take all this in stride, busy as he is with developing "the rise of a professional netroots activist class."

Professional. Netroots. Activist. Class.

Just let those words drip across your mind, folks.

Simon said...

Doyle said...
"I wish there were a greater appreciation for the fact that the only one with the constitutional authority to get us the hell out of Iraq is George Bush."

I call bullshit. Assuming that she will be Speaker, Nancy Pelosi could personally end the war in one budget cycle if she wanted, and could certainly do so with a majority of the House of Representatives behind her.

Doyle said...

Assuming that she will be Speaker...

Safe assumption.

Nancy Pelosi could personally end the war in one budget cycle if she wanted

Well, sure Congress has the power to cut off funding for the war, but the armed forces go (or in this case stay) where the president tells them to. Maybe they'd have to start doing their own laundry instead of KBR (at $25k/lb), but they would still have to follow orders.

Wickedpinto said...

Pelosi lost horribly.

She came forward like a ruler on high and said "I support Murtha" knowing she was the only person that would be speaker, that in itself is tactless, and demonstrates a fury like aggression towards here excercise of power.

She lost. So now, she will look like a harpy making demands, no matter the authority of her demands.

It wasn't a referendum on the war or corruption within the democratic caucus. It was a referendum on loudmouths who can't avoid a camera, and will say anything to be the one in front of that camera. Murtha and Pelosi didn't even have to sign Boratesque releases before making jackasses of themselves.

It wasn't a referendum on corruption, since the arguments about rep. Jefferson are still about bush, not about the corruption. The New Speaker supported somebody who thinks that one of her first pieces of legislation is total crap.

There is no way to spin this for pelosi. I rambled, but basicaly Pelosi-tron was defeated by roverus prime with her overstepping idiocy.

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that Murtha has a HIGHER American Conservative Union rating (low 30s) than Hoyle (single digits.) Murtha is anti war, but a moderate Democratic party voter otherwise.

Trey

Doyle said...

and will say anything to be the one in front of that camera.

I don't know... this seems pretty cynical. I think Murtha really believes we should get the hell out of there, and has for some time even though Sensible Centrists think it's a bad idea.

He may be a pro-life pork-lover, but at least he knows a strategic disaster when he sees one.

Mark said...

The idea that this was some clever play by Pelosi to be able to say to her left-wing constituents "see, I supported him, but we didn't have the votes," is a laugh.

As if the first female Speaker of the House, in her first public situation, would be OK with losing by a big margin. Yeah, that sets just the kind of tone a leader wants to set - her recommendation being soundly rejected by her own party.

There is no spinning this as a win for Pelosi. She blew it, and as a conservative Republican I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to much more of the same from her. I am delighted that she is the face of the Democrats for the next two years.

Doyle said...

Boy conservative Republicans are so starved for wins, they'll try to wring some drops of sweet vindication out of a contest between two Democrats (in which the logical successor won).

What are you going to do if this isn't the body blow to Pelosi's career that you so desperately want it to be?

Revenant said...

Maybe the people in Pelosi's rah-rah corner are right, and she *really* wanted Hoyer instead of Murtha. There's no evidence for that at all, but let's suppose it is true.

Well, publically she backed Murtha and opposed Hoyer. She let it be known that Murtha was the one she wanted. She got publically shot down by her own party. Even if this was just some stunt to appease the San Franciscans, it still looks like a humiliating defeat for Pelosi. Politics is all about perception.

Simon said...

Doyle, if the House refused to pass a military appropriations bill, the war would rapidly come to an end. The question isn't whether the balance of powers is efffective, the question is whether Pelosi wants to give the GOP such an obvious propaganda gift. The President is the Commander-in-Chief, but he is commander of such forces as Congress provides to him.

What are the Democrats going to do now that hollow rhetoric will no longer suffice? In two years, when the war is still ongoing and DADT is still on the books, what are the Democrats going to use as an excuse?

Doyle said...

I have a good excuse: They were out of power when the war began.

I wish they'd taken stand against Bush at the time (like me, Russ Feingold), but they chose to believe the preposterous "evidence" of a "grave and gathering threat" (except for Howard Dean, who correctly said that it was "sketchy").

In any case, this is Commander Codpiece's glorious war through and through, and it's his job to end it.

Internet Ronin said...

Boy conservative Republicans are so starved for wins, they'll try to wring some drops of sweet vindication out of a contest between two Democrats

Any port in a storm, I guess ;-)

Murtha couldn't really do anything about it even as Majority Leader, and he sounds kind of dotty, even if he's right.

100% agreement with the first part, but, for my money the second part is a bit understated. ;-)

As a DKos whacko, my back feels fine.

Good luck with that. Time wounds all heals.

Mark T said...

1. Pelosi made a tactical mistake, or maybe she did this to placate the more fervant antiwar Dems (she certainly didn't do it for he sake of the "left", since we know Murtha is anti-choice, pro-guns, hawkish and somewhat of a House power player of the type the left usually detests . . . other than on Iraq, he could not possibly be any less "left"). Either way, it is not nearly as big a deal as right wing pundits would like us to believe (I guess defeat tends to make the defeated noisier than the circumstances might otherwise dictate), and the bottom line is that the Democratic caucus did exactly the right thing, by a wide margin. It's over . . . . next!

2. Nancy Pelosi is clearly not up (or down) to the standards for autocratic leadershipo set by Tom DeLay. And thank god for that. I was a bit surprised that she did this, but I am very happy that the caucus rebuked her and demonstrated independence from the "power elite" -- and showed in stark terms just how totally different a Democratically controlled house will be than the fascistic leadership tone of the GOP house these past 12 years.

3. What do you think the GOP caucus was saying when it chose Trent Lott over Lamar Alexander, simultaneously rebuking the President and writing off African American outreach efforts in one fell swoop. Now THAT's interesting.

mikeyes said...

I'm not sure how you can call this a loss for Speaker Pelosi. A year from now no one will be obsessing over what is internal Democratic politics and there will be many more pressing issues. It was clear to everyone, assuming the pre-vote statements of all involved were correct, that she backed Murtha as part of payback for past favors done by him (running her campaign for leadership positions, mentoring her, financial backing.) Hoyer stated that he understood why she backed Murtha and he would let the caucus sort it out without feeling angry. It was all above board and I doubt that there will be any more animus present than if the Speaker had remained "neutral."

As for Murtha's anti-war postition, he was reflecting what a lot of senior officers and retired officers had said before the war. That is no secret either. I heard the same complaints from my sources- and I am a retired reservist, about as far out of the loop as you can get and still be in the military family - about the way the war was being promoted by the White House. The professional military thought that the execution of the war was faulty, especially in the country building phase which was non-existent. Those that toed the line were rewarded with stars, those that objected were driven out or in some cases court martialed. This is the position Murtha, a decorated COL of Marines, came from, not the liberal viewpoint that happened to agree with his analysis.

What is interesting is that a pro-gun moderate Democrat and a much more liberal Democrat could come to a personal relationship such as Murtha and Pelosi. Maybe it shows that the twain can meet. Even if they are Democrats. After all, JFK and Goldwater had an amicable relationship and held each other in great personal regard. They were able to divorce personal and political attitudes with little effort, unlike many in the present day.

Wickedpinto said...

Everybody does, or SHOULD know this.

When you are new to command, first thing you do is change something, and you make sure it sticks.

The reason, is that even if you make only one change, and only a small one at that, you define yourself as in charge.

If your first act of authority is to fail, then . . .

You are a failure. You are a failure on day one, and every day after. You might be able to succeed later, but everyone will know that you failed on day one, and you will be defined by failure, rather than your successes.

Simon said...

Doyle said...
"I have a good excuse: They were out of power when the war began."

That isn't an excuse for why you didn't end it, it's an excuse for why you didn't stop it. If you people really think it's such a catastrophe, if you really think it's a meat grinder for our troops, how can you possibly justify continuing it over a domestic turf war / pissing match with Bush? You guys have spent three years yelling "stop the war"; now you have the power to stop the war. If you choose not to end it, you're basically conceding that the folks who've been saying that you're batshit crazy for wanting to stop the war have been right all long - or that at very least, the picture that you're been trying to sell is in fact a great deal more nuanced and complicated than the sales pitch you've been making.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how you can call this a loss for Speaker Pelosi. A year from now no one will be obsessing over what is internal Democratic politics and there will be many more pressing issues.

Well, yes, Mike - issues on which we all hope there's going to be a little more genuine leadership from Speaker Perlosi than we've seen so far. While I admire the esprit de corps of the Dem spin squad around here, even strongly pro-Dem, Perlosi-friendly Beltway watchers were wondering why the hell she put herself so firmly into this race - especially when, as it's now clear, she certainly didn't have the numbers in the bag.

I'm sure Democrats are hoping they're not going to see another f**k-up of this magnitude when it's contentious legislation at stake. As the Republicans have found out, caucus discipline can only be enforced so far by patronage and pork. Now and then, you actually have to stop blustering and start listening to people who aren't saying what you want to hear.

Justr a thought...

Doyle said...

Simon -

I've really lost all grasp of what you're talking about. They're not going to cut off funding. VERY few have called for immediate withdrawal.

Even if we should stay there for two more years, and I don't think we should, it doesn't vindicate the people who said this war was necessary and only "incompetence" kept it from being a smashing success.

I just don't take Iraq War apologists seriously enough to respond to their whining about Democrats' lacking a cohesive plan.

The reason is because no obviously good options exist. That's how fucked we are on account of the Chimp.

Balfegor said...

If your first act of authority is to fail, then . . .

You are a failure. You are a failure on day one, and every day after.

Not really. Clinton started out his 8 years in office with a series of failures (Hillarycare, retreat in Somalia, gays in the military) culminating in his party's loss of 54 seats in the House of Representatives in the 1994 midterm elections. But by conventional indicia of success -- e.g. getting re-elected, which is something Bush I didn't manage -- he did pretty well, actually. He is not generally seen as a miserable failure, at least on political grounds.

Al Maviva said...

Doyle, you guys are missing the gist of defunding. Congress doesn't say "okay, we're cutting this line item" and then forget to police the problem. They actually check up on how money is spent. Moreover, when Congress de-funds some project like the war, it takes the shape of a prohibition on expenditures. Not only would the budget line item get zeroed out, but the Defense Appropriations Act for that year would also contain a section stating "no funds shall be expended for the Iraq War." That means that an enterprising executive branch may not funnel money from the general fund into the war effort, and may not go into a for-profit line of work (like arms sales to Iran) in order to pay for the de-funded item.

On the Hoyer point... I'm no liberal and no fan of either party, much less the DP, but good for them that Hoyer won. He's got a good reputation in D.C. as a fairly straight guy, and as a serious person who can be trusted on major issues. He's definitely very liberal on social issues, but he's also a defense hawk and strong on supporting federal law enforcement and intelligence. I disagree with him, but I trust him to generally do the right thing by the country. Murtha on the other hand... he votes more conservatively on social policy issues, but he is a crackpot in some respects.

knoxgirl said...

What are you going to do if this isn't the body blow to Pelosi's career that you so desperately want it to be?

You're the one who's desperate on this thread:

Pelosi knows what she's doing.

It was an obvious miscalculation on Pelosi's--and Murtha's-- part. It wouldn't be so embarassing if she hadn't set herself up with such a dumb choice... immediately after crowing about how she was going to clean things up!

I for one am very glad that there are more sensible democrats who decisively repudiated Pelosi's stupidity and her attempt to interfere and bully Murtha through. Whoever said "good for them" upthread, I agree.

knoxgirl said...

That's how fucked we are on account of the Chimp.

You refer to Bush as "the Chimp" after bragging about not taking people seriously? Not the best way to convince others of your sophistication...

Internet Ronin said...

your sophistication

Now that was funny!

Doyle said...

Al -

As far as Congress "actually check[ing] up on how the money is spent", that would certainly be a welcome change of pace from the current Congress.

But as for defunding the war, I just think it’s a political impossibility. I know some Democrats have made noises about using the power of the purse but I think that’s just crazy. Who doesn’t Support the Troops?

What needs to happen is for Bush to realize that we’re going to leave Iraq a mess, not a stable democracy, and that we need to do it before January 2009.

mikeyes said...

Craig,

I made the remark about the internal politics not as an apologia for Speaker Pelosi, but because I think it is a family matter that does not predict how well she will do. It may be consistent with poor management of the Democratic majority, but how many accomplished cat herders are there out there? Time will tell.

I suspect that the Democrats will not be able to hold to party discipline as well as the Republicans did, after all it took them almost 30 years to reach the depths of corruption that the Republicans achieved in less than 8, but that is not always a bad thing if you think, as I do, that coalition governments are a boon to our society as they tend to bring the business of government to the center. If the Democrats are merely incompetent but not too corrupt nor too liberal (other than meaningless gestures), they may even keep the majority - which I doubt will occur in 2008, by the way.

If you really want to see what will happen, don't rush to judgment, the real work of the Democratic majority has not even begun. Then they have a lot of time and opportunity to screw up and Speaker Pelosi has a chance to see if she is up to the job.

I am not a Democrat (I voted for Petri but then no one ran against him, but, still, I voted for him) but I was not thrilled with the corruption and scandals in the present congress. I think that the next two years will be amusing but relatively harmless since no one is going to be able to pass draconian measures the way they were able to do in this congress.

If you truly believe that the Murtha affair is a harbinger of worse things to come (and are not just being partisan) then give it a chance to develop. We are living in interesting times.

Anonymous said...

Doyle wrote:
I just don't take Iraq War apologists seriously enough to respond to their whining about Democrats' lacking a cohesive plan.

Well, you better start getting fraking serious because THE DEMOCRATS went out and campaigned on the issue, and THE DEMOCRATS no longer have the out of saying "it's all the nasty GOP majority's fault". As I've said here time and time again, we know what the Democrats are against (sorta) it's time to start telling the American people - and the world - what you stand for. Why don't you want to do that, Doyle?

Anonymous said...

I was just listening to Michael Medved on my way back from lunch. He gave an interesting rundown on the Pelosi-Hoyer relationship. Basically, they've been competing in politics ever since they were both interns for the same senator (? I think)40 years ago. Medved says Pelosi and Hoyer can't stand each other.

I hope he's right. Even if Hoyer just disagrees with Pelosi to annoy her, anything to stall her more whacko ideas would be a good thing.

ITA that there is no way to spin this as a positive for Pelosi. She came out big time for Murtha, and he lost. She loses face. It's obviously not a dire loss or even a serious one, but there are no upsides. And two big downsides for her are 1) having to deal with a peeved Murtha (reports are he looked like he was sucking lemons at the press conference) and 2) having to work with Hoyer, whom she detests.

Enjoy your speakership, Nance!

Simon said...

Doyle said...
"I've really lost all grasp of what you're talking about. They're not going to cut off funding. VERY few have called for immediate withdrawal."

Your party has repeatedly called for withdrawal, under a variety of coy euphemisms. Are you now suggesting that, in fact, Democrats do not believe that the war is a colossal failure that is daily bleeding America of blood and treasure? I mean, what's the purpose of all of those "iraq war clocks" on liberal blogs if you people evidently think that it's going just swimmingly?

Now you have the power to stop it, you can't have it both ways. As of January 4th, your party has the power to stop the Iraq war any time it wants. If it fails to do so, it endorses the war and its conduct. It's put up or shut up time: if the war is a mistake, wrap it up and bring the troops home. Defund it. And if Congress does defund the war, and Bush continues to prosecute it, Congress can - and, in my view, should - impeach him. But be aware that if we're still in Iraq by the next election, that's because your party thought it was worthwhile to stay.

Henry said...

The reason is because no obviously good options exist. That's how fucked we are on account of the Chimp.

Not like the old days when so many good options existed.

Actually, I think Doyle is right -- the Dems can continue to blame Bush while claiming that despite their opposition to the war, they won't defund money that supports the troops. It's the Dems, after all, that continued to use the body armor issue even in this past election. So let them check every dot and zero. Harry Truman made his reputation by relentless oversight of U.S. military procurement practices in WWII. Maybe Murtha and the bunch can follow in his footsteps.

So a do-nothing congress is fine with me. It's a two year window for doing the right thing (adapt and fight on) with an option for a 4 to 8 extension after that.

Unfortunately for the Dems, supporting the mission under protest won't endear them to anybody.

Doyle said...

How 'bout a Congress that actually does the job envisioned for it by the Constitution?

It's supposed to be adversarial. Bush clearly appreciates this, hence the (stillborn) Bolton confirmation and a fresh slate of unfrozen caveman judicial appointees.

Simon said...

Doyle said...
"How 'bout a Congress that actually does the job envisioned for it by the Constitution?"

Part of that job is checking and balancing the authority of the executive branch. You're attempting to defend an untenable position: that the war is so terrible and wrong that the President should bring it to an immediate halt, but not terrible and wrong enough that you're willing to bring a halt to it yourselves.

RogerA said...

Certainly some interesting policy choices ahead for the democrats--a review of the "facts of the case," suggests the democratic party may not have a lot of the power that people attribute to them--first, they have NO veto proof majority and cannot invoke cloture in the senate. They have Joe Lieberman to deal with in the senate as well and as far as war issues go, Joe holds the cards, I suspect, as far as the dems go.

I agree with those posters that say the house does have the power to defund the war--can be done on the next appropriate cycle, very easily as has been pointed out. Having the power to do that, and making it stick in the Senate, without ability to override a veto is going to make that power very problematic.

Certainly the anti-war folks are going to see the election results as a mandate to get out now; making that happen is going to be a big problem for the Speaker who is going to be taking flack from all sides, and her own party included.

The folks the democrats brought into congress this year are hardly radicals and look a hell of a lot more like republicans than democrats in many cases.

I suspect Ms Pelosi is going to be severely tested internal to her party and external to the electorate. (the obvious answer to her predicament is some bipartisanship, but somehow I dont see that happening.)

On top of that Speaker Pelosi (and Sen Reid) are going to have to content with the senators straying off the reservation and running for president starting next month. They will both have their hands full. I almost feel sorry for the dems.

This is going to be a great two years!

Doyle said...

Simon -

The Constitution gives control of the armed forces to the president. Article II, if I remember from the phony defenses of illegal warrantless surveillance...

Balfegor said...

The Constitution gives control of the armed forces to the president. Article II, if I remember from the phony defenses of illegal warrantless surveillance...

Yes, but, uh, he can't do a whole lot with it without any money.

MadisonMan said...

But be aware that if we're still in Iraq by the next election, that's because your party thought it was worthwhile to stay.

Oh, that's rich. Bush and his tagalong Congress take the Country deep into the quagmire. The Democrats in Congress are supposed to unscramble an egg in 2 years?

Apologies for the mixed metaphors.

RogerA said...

Doyle--this is really a pol sci 101 kind of discussion: without a financial appropriation from the congress, about all the president can do is sign a treaty or if he's lucky, host a state dinner--and all money bills originate in the house. That you are even arguing this point doesnt say a lot of good things about your knowledge of the american political system; quoting an article, paragraph and clause of the constitution, while literally accurate, doesnt describe at all how the system works.

First rule of holes: stop digging

Simon said...

Doyle said...
"The Constitution gives control of the armed forces to the president."

Yes, it does - but the Constitution also gives the Congress the power to decide whether the President has any armed forces to control or not. "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises ... To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years," Art. I §8, and moreover, "No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law," Art. I §9.

Wow - look at that! The President commands the troops, but can only command the troops with which Congress furnishes him. It's like some kind of balance or something, as if each power is, I don't know, checked by the other, so to speak. Gosh, those clever framers!

Doyle said...

I wasn't arguing the origin of "all money bills," I was arguing (successfully, I thought) that the president, in his role as commander-in-chief, controls the armed forces once military action has been authorized by Congress, as this one unfortunately was.

I liked your little joke about Bush signing treaties though.

Simon said...

MadisonMan said...
"Oh, that's rich. Bush and his tagalong Congress take the Country deep into the quagmire. The Democrats in Congress are supposed to unscramble an egg in 2 years?"

It may be rich, but it's still accurate. Democrats can force us out of Iraq within one budget cycle. But I doubt they will, because they know as well as we all do that their campaign rhetoric about withdrawal is so deeply misguided as to precipitate disaster.

When are people going to get past this idea that the Democratic Party wants us to succeed in Iraq? This is a party that has nailed the balance of their political fortunes to the proposition that Iraq is a catastrophic failure. Success in Iraq would repudiate everything that Democrats have been saying for the last two years. Hence, their political goal is to transform that criticism into a self-fulfilling prophecy, without the blame falling upon themselves. Withdrawal from Iraq will make the situation worse, which is what they want, but if they force withdrawal themselves, then they might be blamed for the mess. No, they only have one option: they have to keep pushing Bush to withdraw the troops, and hope that the average joe on the streets has no better an understanding of the Constitution's checks and balances than does Doyle, and thus will not realize that if they really wanted the war over, they could do it themselves.

Simon said...

Roger:
"Certainly the anti-war folks are going to see the election results as a mandate to get out now."

One would think so, yet apparently, they don't. Doyle is as anti-war as they come, yet he doesn't seem to want the war over. He wants Bush to end the war, yet doesn't want the Democratic-controlled Congress to end the war. Why might that be, if not the reason I suggested in my previous comment?

Democrats sure seem to have picked a funny time to get God on the Commander-in-Chief powers, but then again, liberal regard for the Constitution has always tended to ebb and flow depending on whether they think it helps them in a partciular instance or not.

Balfegor said...

I wasn't arguing the origin of "all money bills," I was arguing (successfully, I thought) that the president, in his role as commander-in-chief, controls the armed forces once military action has been authorized by Congress, as this one unfortunately was.

Not really. The difficulty is that people are pointing out an obvious and significant check on that power, and you're ignoring that check in favour of repeating that yes, the Constitution does indeed give the President that power. Well yes it does. So? The broader context we're talking about here is Congressional power to terminate the war in Iraq, if they really think we're throwing good money after bad.

In contrast, Madisonman's (implicit) point that winding down a war isn't something you can do in two years is a genuine response to this issue -- yes Democrats could cut it off immediately, right now, force the troops to come home, etc. But not if they have an ounce of responsibility in their bones. Nixon came in promising to end Vietnam and took rather longer than just two years to wind it down in catastrophic failure.

Wickedpinto said...

Balfegor,

Is Clinton remembered for his successes? And those "successes" he had, weren't democratic ones.

RogerA said...

I was an initial supporter of the war; and I still think the strategic aims are valid. Yet I do increasingly find myself in agreement with the proposition that we need to make it totally clear to the Iraqi government they need to find an internal political solution and soon, and if not we will go. I dont know what else it will take.

I think resolving Iraq involvement, and the war on terror, is going to require some genuine bipartisanship; in fact, I dont see any successful near-term or longer term outcome without such a bipartisan effort. We will be looking at continuing arguments about who lost Iraq, etc etc and the one outcome I see looming is another 30 year cycle of a "Viet Nam syndrome."

Anonymous said...

MadisonMan wrote:
Oh, that's rich. Bush and his tagalong Congress take the Country deep into the quagmire. The Democrats in Congress are supposed to unscramble an egg in 2 years?

No, but it would be nice if they decided whether they want their eggs scrambled, poached, hard-boiled or in a shot glass wooshed up with a dash of Tabasco in a shot glass. Sorry for sounding like a stuck record, but the Democrats MUST decide what they stand FOR rather than what they're AGAINST and not only on Iraq. Extra points for saying the same thing to the Kossacks and the Blue Dogs who handed Congress to them last week.

Wickedpinto said...

In debate, the benefits of being pro, is that you get to define the argument.

The benefits of being neg, is that you can divert the argument.

I would say it takes less effort to oppose than to support.

knoxgirl said...

Oh, that's rich. Bush and his tagalong Congress take the Country deep into the quagmire. The Democrats in Congress are supposed to unscramble an egg in 2 years?

Sorry to pile on, MM, but it's the democrats who have set such high expectations. Implicit in their platform was "Iraq is a mess, elect us." They have the reigns now. That means we're all waiting for them to fix the "situation" as Pelosi calls it.

Given the complexity of the situation, we haven't been in Iraq that long. (Need I quote the statistics on how long we've had troops in Europe or occupied Japan after WWII? ) Those on the left were critical of Bush long before two years had passed... that makes it especially hard for them now. If I have little sympathy, well...

Derve said...

Those on the left were critical of Bush long before two years had passed...

Perhaps it was because there was so much admittedly gone wrong from the start? Criticism doesn't mean you're a Bush hater; it might mean you love your country and have invested enough of your life here not to want to see her slide.

You sound like someone rooting to lose now that the Dems have the numbers to provide input.

Just think of it like having competition on what previously had been a no-bid contract. :)

knoxgirl said...

Derve you are a freakshow

Derve said...

Thanks, lil girl.
Your momma's callin...

Skeedaddle and leave the grownup talk to the grownups, now.

hdhouse said...

knoxgirl said...
Oh, that's rich. Bush and his tagalong Congress take the Country deep into the quagmire. The Democrats in Congress are supposed to unscramble an egg in 2 years?

... but it's the democrats who have set such high expectations. Implicit in their platform was "Iraq is a mess, elect us." They have the reigns now. That means we're all waiting for them to fix the "situation" as Pelosi calls it.

Given the complexity of the situation, we haven't been in Iraq that long.
---------------------

yes bush and his tagalongs have kept digging the hole and they refused to stop when it was clear there was neither daylight above or a goldmine below. please list the regular set of oversight hearings on the status of war conducted on a regular basis by the congress who, incidentally, has the job of regular oversight.

did you hear that the pentagon will ask for 180 billion in NEW spending in Iraq related expenses? by every measure you can name, except for the capture of saddam, please tell me how things are better day in and day out.

second, and I do love you knoxgirl, you mention, you somehow equate our post war occupation in japan and in germany with Iraq. Honestly, that makes no sense whatsoever. Japan and German ceased to be active combat zones at the conclusion of hostilities. we had hundreds of thousands of troops "in theater" after the surrenders. they were not fighting actively and the core death rate was statistically in keeping with that large a number of people. true there were skirmishes and bad things did happen and there were casualties above the norm. BUT, unlike Iraq, they were NOT in the middle of a civil war - small or big and that civil war, small or big, isn't getting any better it is getting worse. our casualty rate is UP not down. that isn't the law of averages.

as to unscrambling the egg and implicit "i have a secret plan alla nixon"..no democrat has stated a plan. in fact, the GOP drumbeat was that the democrats can offer no new direction. who knows where this lunkhead president will take us as commander in chief during the next two years and you KNOW we will be in Iraq for 2 more years. You know it, Bush knows it, and the American people know it.

So your hero McCain stands up and talks about massive influx of new troops in Iraq (which we don't have) and/or strategic redeployment and telling the Iraq government that they need to get their act together so we can get out. (cut and run???). and this commission has already leaked out a "new troops" which the Generals just yesterday said they don't need. Talk about mixed messages.

I go back to my opinion stated often throughout this blog...Iraq may well be lost in a conventional military sense. That is the reality not the dream. When we look at it that way, then we can form a plan to make it as good as possible for all parties, albeit there may not be any "good". but to keep on keeping on is not a plan...please reread digging deeper and deeper.

there is no pony even though there is a pile of crap.

hdhouse said...

knoxgirl said...
Oh, that's rich. Bush and his tagalong Congress take the Country deep into the quagmire. The Democrats in Congress are supposed to unscramble an egg in 2 years?

... but it's the democrats who have set such high expectations. Implicit in their platform was "Iraq is a mess, elect us." They have the reigns now. That means we're all waiting for them to fix the "situation" as Pelosi calls it.

Given the complexity of the situation, we haven't been in Iraq that long.
---------------------

yes bush and his tagalongs have kept digging the hole and they refused to stop when it was clear there was neither daylight above or a goldmine below. please list the regular set of oversight hearings on the status of war conducted on a regular basis by the congress who, incidentally, has the job of regular oversight.

did you hear that the pentagon will ask for 180 billion in NEW spending in Iraq related expenses? by every measure you can name, except for the capture of saddam, please tell me how things are better day in and day out.

second, and I do love you knoxgirl, you mention, you somehow equate our post war occupation in japan and in germany with Iraq. Honestly, that makes no sense whatsoever. Japan and German ceased to be active combat zones at the conclusion of hostilities. we had hundreds of thousands of troops "in theater" after the surrenders. they were not fighting actively and the core death rate was statistically in keeping with that large a number of people. true there were skirmishes and bad things did happen and there were casualties above the norm. BUT, unlike Iraq, they were NOT in the middle of a civil war - small or big and that civil war, small or big, isn't getting any better it is getting worse. our casualty rate is UP not down. that isn't the law of averages.

as to unscrambling the egg and implicit "i have a secret plan alla nixon"..no democrat has stated a plan. in fact, the GOP drumbeat was that the democrats can offer no new direction. who knows where this lunkhead president will take us as commander in chief during the next two years and you KNOW we will be in Iraq for 2 more years. You know it, Bush knows it, and the American people know it.

So your hero McCain stands up and talks about massive influx of new troops in Iraq (which we don't have) and/or strategic redeployment and telling the Iraq government that they need to get their act together so we can get out. (cut and run???). and this commission has already leaked out a "new troops" which the Generals just yesterday said they don't need. Talk about mixed messages.

I go back to my opinion stated often throughout this blog...Iraq may well be lost in a conventional military sense. That is the reality not the dream. When we look at it that way, then we can form a plan to make it as good as possible for all parties, albeit there may not be any "good". but to keep on keeping on is not a plan...please reread digging deeper and deeper.

there is no pony even though there is a pile of crap.

knoxgirl said...

When Mary/derve and hdhouse get their backs up, I know I'm on the right track...

Mary, you're a freakshow.

hdhouse said...

knoxgirl..

back up...my mind reals in anticipation....

at long last a sensous republican

Revenant said...

All the whining from Democrats that two years isn't enough time to fix Iraq is beside the point. Maybe "fixing" the Iraq situation will take five years, or ten, or however many. But coming up with a *plan* for fixing Iraq sure as fuck doesn't take any two years -- especially since they've *already* had more than two years to think one up.

So at the very least, now that the Democrats are in power we're entitled to hear what their plan is. Is it, as is widely suspected, surrender and retreat? Or is it something else?

Revenant said...

at long last a sensous republican

No, this is the sensuous Republican.

Derve said...

When Mary/derve and hdhouse get their backs up, I know I'm on the right track...

You make me laugh you're so cute.
A real honest-to-goodness mystery-solvin' Detective, you are...

How'd you figure me out? Was it my freak flag flying high?

Derve said...

Syria, Rev.
A bigger Syria.
Even Pat Robertson is hip to it.
Somebody's got to provide some authority in the region. Rest easy, we'll take over the watch; you're in better hands now. Less talking, more accomplishing... once the R's get more accustomed to their diminished powers.
2008's closer than you think...
(I like to put it in mystery form so the little ones get a kick of solving something.)

hdhouse said...

Revenant said...
"All the whining from Democrats that two years isn't enough time to fix Iraq is beside the point. Maybe "fixing" the Iraq situation will take five years, or ten, or however many. But coming up with a *plan* for fixing Iraq sure as fuck doesn't take any two years"

I can say 2 things with certainty:

1. ...sure as fuck...as you say is either the least sure thing in your life or is a total description of it and

2. ...if we can get President Crayon to cease messing in Iraq and freeze frame it then we can plan for it..he has had 3+ years of idiotic blundering and there can be no plan out until he stops blundering in.

by the way, using the good ol' "f" word my make your little keyboard fingers glow in anticipation but it isn't appropriate here unless you can't think of another word.

Revenant said...

Syria, Rev. A bigger Syria.

Yeah, I can see why you didn't publicize that "plan" *before* the election. "Let's turn Iraq into the biggest terrorist-sponsoring fascist state in the world" just doesn't sound good to the average American citizen.

Even Pat Robertson is hip to it.

An intelligent person would stop to think "wait, Pat Robertson agrees with me. That means my idea is probably insane".

Derve said...

Wait and see...
wait and see...
I tend to be more forward looking than backward.

Do you suggest we leave Iran in charge?

Derve said...

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 — James A. Baker III, the former secretary of state who is now Republican co-chairman of a bipartisan group examining strategic options in Iraq, has met several times with Syrian officials to discuss how they might cooperate with the United States, the Syrian ambassador here said Friday.

“What would it take Syria to help on Iraq?” the Syrian ambassador, Imad Moustapha, recalled Mr. Baker asking Syria’s foreign minister, Walid Muallem, during a meeting in New York at the Waldorf-Astoria in September. Mr. Moustapha described the session as “very promising.”