May 24, 2007

How Bush won the confrontation over Iraq....

Carl Hulse writes:
Democrats said they did not relish the prospect of leaving Washington for a Memorial Day break — the second recess since the financing fight began — and leaving themselves vulnerable to White House attacks that they were again on vacation while the troops were wanting. That criticism seemed more politically threatening to them than the anger Democrats knew they would draw from the left by bowing to Mr. Bush.

Some lawmakers favored sending Mr. Bush another bill with a timetable for withdrawal and risking a second veto, the senior Democrats said. But they said they had questioned whether such a measure could pass the Senate a second time, raising the possibility that Congress would be left sitting on the bill and carrying the blame....

In allowing the war money measure to reach the floor with indifferent backing from her own party, Ms. Pelosi is breaking one of the cardinal rules of her predecessor, J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, whose mantra was to legislate with the majority of the majority party.

38 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Is it a bad thing that Ms. Pelosi breaks a cardinal rule of Hastert's?

Michael said...

Some lawmakers favored sending Mr. Bush another bill with a timetable for withdrawal and risking a second veto....


risking a second veto: I like how some people still think Bush might not veto a spending bill with deadlines. He has been pretty clear on that one.

Tim said...

They had to all go to Michael Moore's new movie opening.

Health security is integral to winning the war on terror - you know, defeating the rapacious health insurers and such.

Otherwise, yes, the Democrats are smart and courageous. They cannot figure out how to box in a president with some of the lowest ratings in quite some time, so they capitulate.

Good thing we can all rely upon the Democrats to protect us from real enemies that are armed and want to kill all of us, blue state or red.

Oh, wait, that's not quite true, is it?

Knock-kneed, limp-wristed, bed-wetting weenies. If this were a movie script, no one would buy it.

B said...

"Bush won the confrontation"

followed by your next post,

"Good News . . . from Iraq. from Afghanistan."

Yes, there is a correlation.

Thank God.

B said...

What Tim said.

AJ Lynch said...

Call me stupid and unsophisticated and naive. But will our guvmint ever fix a firgging single thing?

All this "inside baseball" stuff and reporting about Congressional and party maneuvering is not why we vote for these schmucks. And they will continue to pay a price. Bigtime IMHO.

Too many jims said...

Wake me up, when September ends.

PatCA said...

I think the bill was never intended to become law; it was intended to attack Republicans and keep the anti-war 'movement' happy while giving the Dems a "principled stand" to fall back on.

AJ Lynch said...

Pat:

I agree 100% with you. And that was my point. The American public has to demand both parties stop playing games on every frigging issue.

Hold them accountable to fix at least one thing!

The Drill SGT said...


MadisonMan said...
Is it a bad thing that Ms. Pelosi breaks a cardinal rule of Hastert's?


Hastert sure was not a genius, but I bet Tip O'Neil and LBJ who were masters of the art would have the same lesson learned.

Don't try to pass bills that your party base won't support. It leaves you vulnerable to opposition tricks, it makes you look stupid in the press, and weak on the floor. All bad things :)

The Drill SGT said...

PatCA said...
I think the bill was never intended to become law; it was intended to attack Republicans and keep the anti-war 'movement' happy while giving the Dems a "principled stand" to fall back on.


Pat, while I agree with the attack intent, how does proposing a failed bill that your base is split on attack the GOP? By putting them on record wanted victory rather than retreat?

Tim said...

"By putting them on record wanted victory rather than retreat?"

Drill,

Undoubtedly by now it is abundantly clear the Dem base does not believe victory achievable let alone desirable. So, going on record in support of defeat is fine - it keeps up the contributions - and if their bet pays off, Iraq won't be any closer to resolution in November of '08 than it is today, and general weariness and disgust will propel them to victory at the polls.

Which is all that really matters to them. This whole war on terror thing is a complete distraction to the important issues of socializing medicine, impoverishing the economy in the name of stopping global warming, protecting abortion rights, etc.

PatCA said...

What Tim said...

They don't want responsibility. The Dems want to weaken the Reps every day because of the war and blame the failure of the bill on Bush-Hitler. So if we win, it's because the Dems held Bush's feet to the fire. If we lose, they blame Bush, who would not accept surrender (or timetable, if you're a Dem).

Revenant said...

Ms. Pelosi is breaking one of the cardinal rules of her predecessor, J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, whose mantra was to legislate with the majority of the majority party

I've no opinion on whether Pelosi is being politically smart or politically foolish -- but the fact that she's not following Hastert's tactics doesn't mean much. It isn't like the man was some kind of political genius. He fell into a leadership position and didn't do a very good job of keeping it.

Roger said...

I am certainly not Pelosi fan, but I do agree that Denny Hastert was in large part responsible for the GOP's losses--I sure hope he was a better wrestling coach, because he was a prime political hack.

Eli Blake said...

I'm not sure that criticism for leaving town on Memorial Day would be very damaging. After all, Memorial Day is a day to remember our fallen troops and they could easily enough deflect any such criticism by pointing this out and attending the local Memorial Day ceremonies in their home districts.

That said,

As a Democrat, I am very disappointed in this bill. It is no accident that Pelosi, as long as she was standing up to the President over war funding, had higher personal approval ratings than either the President or the rest of Congress. Polling data has shown over and over again that the American people want us out of Iraq (and last year's election results said the same-- by far and away, Iraq was the #1 issue, and among those who said it was, they voted overwhelmingly for Democrats, especially anti-war Democrats.)

With luck, two things can still happen-- 1. the measure won't win a 'majority of the majority,' meaning that it will still in effect be a Republican-passed bill, and 2. Next year (election year) Congress will be more cognizant of the feeling among a majority of voters that we need to get out of Iraq (and if they aren't, those who support staying there-- of either party-- will get another 'thumping' at the hands of those who want us out, as happened last year.)

Eli Blake said...

And I might add, if we are still in Iraq and there is no withdrawl deadline, let the debates be between a John McCain or a Rudy Guiliani, who promise to stay in Iraq with no withdrawl deadline, and a Democrat who promises to withdraw troops (and who therefore won't veto a bill containing deadlines), and let the voters have that kind of a clear choice.

Synova said...

Of course *everyone* wants out of Iraq... at least as much as we're "out" of Germany, Japan or Korea.

(Personally I favor the notion of Iraq as an accompanied tour, safe and stable enough for soldiers to bring the spouse and offspring on a three year PCS.)

The Congress is getting weird, or maybe they always were and I'm just noticing. Dealings seem to be more about power plays than anything else. A local NM blogger (http://www.marioburgos.com/) today is claiming that they can't get a bill brought to the floor that has bipartisan support from all NM congresspersons and had already passed the Senate *unanimously* and the reason is that the Rep. congresswoman from my district is the one who introduced it.

The c-span clip is amazing.

Power plays and spite.

But the thing is... surge or not, Iraq is looking better in some concrete ways. It's not going to be a huge issue, barring rather extreme unforseen events, by the fall of 2008. If nothing else it will fade from the public consciousness as Afghanistan has done.

*Already* these sort of manufactured dramas have to be... manufactured.

If opposing the war pushes up Pelosi's approval, what's she going to have to push her approval by the fall of '08?

The game playing, the "elections have consequences!!" grandstanding, Murtha's vote buying, the spitefulness, is going to matter.

When it matters more who introduces a bill than what in in the bill... something is wrong.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

tim wrote:

Knock-kneed, limp-wristed, bed-wetting weenies.


Tim, apparently you're running on auto-stupid today. Why don't you call up Michael Weiner at Weiner Nation and share your views there instead of here?

Eli Blake said...

synova:

I suspect that it has less to do with it being a Republican congresswoman specifically than it has to do with it being Heather Wilson (who is starting to get drawn into the whole Gonzalez mess) specifically. I bet if Steve Pierce was sponsoring it, he'd have no trouble at all. Just since January, Congress has passed several dozen votes which listed Republicans as primary or co-sponsors.

I know it has to do with the stench of scandal, because my own Congressman is Rick Renzi. Since the FBI raided his home, he's been asked to resign from committees and while he used to have no trouble getting bills passed, now he can't even sign onto anything as a co-sponsor. And it's not just Democrats to be blamed there-- John Boehner dropped Renzi from ROMP (a Republican fundraising organization) and asked him to resign from the Intelligence committee.

I think that after several high profile ethics cases last year claimed several congresspersons because the voters just refused to accept them (including Tom DeLay, Cynthia McKinney, Curt Weldon, Bob Ney and Richard Pombo) you will see that people like Wilson and Renzi won't get much of a chance to put their name on legislation. If partisan politics plays a role here, it is that 1) the other party will want to target them, especially if they think they can take them down, and 2) their own party won't be in a rush to defend them because of the fear that they could be painted as defenders of sleaze, as happened after the Mark Foley scandal last year.

Eli Blake said...

As to the rest of your post,

Afghanistan has faded (unfortunately) from public consciousness because of a specific decision by the Bush administration to focus on Iraq. Unless he does something really stupid that knocks it off the news (like invades Iran) it will continue to make news. Tomorrow I am going as an invited guest to attend the funeral of a young man who was recently killed in Iraq. That sort of news is local, and by now it's been local news over 3,000 times. So no, it won't be off the front page by 2008. Vietnam was never off the front page until we were gone-- when young people are dying in wars, people don't really care as much about other issues.

As for the decision to put Afghanistan on the back burner, that really is tragic-- Afghanistan is the war we SHOULD have been fighting and carrying through on. That IS where the people responsible for 9/11 have been taking refuge. Instead we have let the situation degenerate, and lost the international support that we had by the misguided decision to invade Iraq.

Tim said...

"Polling data has shown over and over again that the American people want us out of Iraq (and last year's election results said the same-- by far and away, Iraq was the #1 issue, and among those who said it was, they voted overwhelmingly for Democrats, especially anti-war Democrats.)"

Prediction: Public outcry over Bush beating the knock-kneed, limp-wristed, bed-wetting weenies on the Iraq funding bill will be limited to those web sites populated by the likes of Kos, et al.

The majority of voters didn't vote for defeat and surrender in Iraq, no matter how many defeatist Democrats did, or wish other voters had.

Eli Blake said...

Oops, it was Renzi's business that the FBI raided. It was Congressman Doolittle whose home they raided.

Eli Blake said...

OK, tim

Then (especially since you want to ignore the exit polling data that says that voters did vote for Democrats because of Iraq) why was it?

Was it because of the economy? Because that wasn't so bad. Was it gas prices? Because they were going down by November. Was it because of ethics? Maybe (see my post to synova) but that probably only made the difference in perhaps half a dozen races. The fact is, voters chose Democrats nationally by a 54-45% margin (1% to other candidates), which is a relative landslide for a national congressional election, where much of it still boils down to local races with popular incumbents.

I think when you factor everything else out, there is plenty of numerical data suggesting that it was because of Iraq. And if Republicans keep sticking to Iraq like glue, then it will be again in 2008 (plus maybe some primary upsets of Democrats who caved on Iraq.)

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Tim,

Do you want to tell us why "bed-wetting" is occupying your thoughts today?

Synova said...

You can't blame the fading of Afghanistan on Bush.

He doesn't control the media and is worse than piss poor at controlling the national dialog.

Synova said...

I should mention, related to ethics and Wilson and the US Attorney "thing" that Wilson's opponent (Madrid) was the state AG and is considered hopelessly corrupt or at least too hopeless to do anything about it. (Said, explicitly, in a debate that money was just to buy access to congresspersons, not to buy their votes.) After not investigating or charging anyone on a particular state corruption issue the US attorneys took them to court at which point Madrid indicted the witnessess for the Federal case. So not only did she ignore the corruption, she tried to spike the federal case. The election this last time, vote counting, etc., was a fiasco. And the US attorney who lost his job (the scandal!) was not making any appearance of taking charges of election problems seriously, not even to assure people that the election *was* fair.

There is stinky stuff in this state and it *ain't* Heather Wilson.

Now, if she's getting in trouble I'm not surprised but refusing to even hear a bill because she sponsored it is INFANTILE.

I thought we were voting for adults. Or at least that's the goal.

AJ Lynch said...

Eli:

Let's say it is about Heather Wilson as you suggested. Does that make it right or less petty or less mean-spirited or less of an spiteful obsturction of what Synova says is a well-supported bill?

Come on- you have made Synova's case that is is pure pettiness- plain and simple.

Revenant said...

Vietnam was never off the front page until we were gone-- when young people are dying in wars, people don't really care as much about other issues.

Vietnam was fought with a conscript army. That meant that everyone in America knew a whole lot of people -- specifically, any man under 25 or so -- who were at some risk of dying in Vietnam. Overall, 2.7 million Americans served in Vietnam -- approximately ten percent of that generation. That's why it made news daily. It had a major impact on everyone.

The impact of the Iraq war is trivial. The death rate is a tiny fraction what it was in Vietnam (and an even tinier fraction of Americans in general) and nobody, aside from those of us who volunteer to fight there, is at risk of getting killed.

blake said...

Actually, if Gateway Pundit's figures are correct, Iraq war casualties are not only a fraction of Vietnam, they're a fraction of the peacetime casualties under Clinton. (1/2 is a fraction. Of course so is 144/12ths. But I digress.)

I've been thinking about polls though. If the exit polls are correct--and that's highly debatable--what does it or should it mean? Should we govern by polls? Don't we hate it when people who are supposed to be leaders do that?

Do we suppose that if a vote were held today, popular opinion would vote us out of Iraq? Would it pass the amnesty bill? Would it end pork?

When voting, I've always voted for those who most closely represented my beliefs and philosophies(*). They've never won. Which, I suppose, is okay, because they don't represent my beliefs and philosophies very closely at all. I think that's common, even if most people bite the bullet and vote for someone with a chance to win.

When people are voting against rather than for, hasn't the concept of representative government been denigrated beyond recognition?

I don't think the Democrats were issued much of a "mandate" at this past election. Many who won ran on more conservative platforms than their Republican rivals.

Rivals, who I think, by the way, had been issued a mandate in 1994 and largely failed to fulfill it.

Whether the Democrats were elected to end the war or not is debatable. What's not debatable is that they were elected to end corruption and fiscal irresponsibility.

And when they fail to do that, the Reps will get back in.

It's the circle of life, or something.



* I admit I voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger primarily for entertainment value. And even he's let me down.

Eli Blake said...

synova:

And the voters, given a choice, elected Heather Wilson over Madrid.

So electing a less corrupt congresswoman over a more corrupt one doesn't excuse the first, it is a 'lesser of evils' vote.

aj lynch:

Well, then look for the pettiness at both parties. As I mentioned, Boehner has been pushing the bar higher on his side (which frankly I commend him for.) And it isn't pettiness, it is political realiity.

Consider, for example, the list of the thirteen most corrupt members of Congress that a citizen's watchdog group put out in 2005.

Two of them (Cunningham and Ney) are in prison right now. Four (Burns, Pombo, Santorum, Taylor) were defeated for re-election in races in which corruption was an issue (note that some who made headlines last year, such as Curt Weldon and Mark Foley, weren't even on the list in 2005). Most of the rest either retired or managed to win re-election but after being forced into runoffs (like William Jefferson) or in very competitive races in districts that they had won comfortably in 2004 (like Rick Renzi). Only two (Maxine Waters, D-CA and Roy Blunt, R-MO) were re-elected by comfortable margins, and those were in two districts that are so heavily tilted towards one party that it would require a successful primary challenge (like the one Cynthia McKinney got) to unseat them.

Corruption cuts, which is why the house leadership on both sides of the aisle is taking it seriously-- they could see what happened to these folks (almost half on that list either going to prison or getting defeated for re-election) and if Wilson was lucky enough to get a more corrupt opponent last time, that's not the kind of luck that anyone can count on having every election.

Simon said...

MadisonMan said...
"Is it a bad thing that Ms. Pelosi breaks a cardinal rule of Hastert's?"

That was my question. I think Pelosi's to be applauded for being willing to bring a bill to the floor that may command a majority of the House even if she personally opposes it and even if the majority of her own party opposes it.

Of course, as the Sarge points out above, it may not be good politics, and it certainly isn't how the House has historically been run (see generally Remini). And I agree with PatCA that Congressional democrats are opposed to the war unless or until so doing would involve political risk. But personally commendable on Pelosi's part, none the less.

Harkonnendog said...

Ace of Spades has a brilliant take on this. His headline is:

Shock: Timetable, Deadline Proven To Lead To Spectacular Defeat & Encouragement of Enemy

and then he quotes dem activists:
"When they put out that deadline, people realized that we were going to lose," said an aide to an anti-war lawmaker. "Everything after that seemed like posturing."

Bwa-hahaha.

Link:
http://ace.mu.nu/archives/227759.php

Tim said...

"Then (especially since you want to ignore the exit polling data that says that voters did vote for Democrats because of Iraq) why was it?

Ignore the exit polls? I’ve seen them. The exit polls show the war in Iraq more popular than either Bush or the Reps in Congress; they also show the "right track-wrong track" split favoring "wrong track" (which always works to the challenger’s advantage); Rep turnout was down, across the nation (and this fact suggests that if Reps had simply turned out at usual levels, Congress wouldn’t have flipped); and women who had previously voted Rep flip to Dem, as the Dem vote was, relative to previous elections, significantly more feminine than before. Also, 12 of the defeated Republican congressional incumbents were implicated by personal scandal or ethical problems; regardless, 22 races were decided by two percentage points or fewer, with combined margins of 85,100. Reps won 13 of those close elections. And it was hardly a landslide for the Dems, as eighteen races were decided by fewer than 5,000 votes.

Rep voters staying home cost Reps Congress more so than Iraq.

Was Iraq part of the equation, especially amongst women who had previously voted Rep? Yes. But pointing to exit and other polls regarding some unseen grassroots swelling against the war is just delusion. The real world doesn’t look like the nutroots view, no matter how hard you try. The prospective outrage over the knock-kneed, limp-wristed, bed-wetting Dems capitulating to Bush on the Iraq funding bill will be limited to the echo chambers of the nutroots, and not much else. The anti-war crowd protesting out on the busy street corner in your nearest college town is hardly reflective of America.

Synova said...

Eli, I sort of figured that if Wilson had corruption problems it would have been in the political ads against her.

The ONLY thing that the Democrats in this state could come up with was a file she moved (but did not view, lose, or alter) of a family member which has long ago been decided was *not* something actionable, IIRC, 10 years ago. That's digging, Eli. No dirt on the lady fresher than 10 years old.

The ONLY ads the Democrats ran against her last election were "she likes Bush". ALL the ads were about Bush, not about Wilson.

So you say she's got some connection going on to the US Attorneys thing. Perhaps you can elucidate? As far as I'm concerned the guy who got sacked in NM was an obvious slacker, but it's not like he's going to go around saying he deserved to get fired, eh?

So corruption? What is she doing besides keeping bad company?

Clue me in.

hdhouse said...

ohhh oh...someone forgot to shut the gate on the sheep pen again. Ann, I've told you a hundred times if you are gonna let these rascally rascals here to post and just covort around you just have to shut the gate on them after they go back to the pen....now look. Tim's out and of course revenant broke loose..now there will be hell to pay and we'll be cleaning up for months.

Fen said...

Do we suppose that if a vote were held today, popular opinion would vote us out of Iraq?

And even then, would such a vote be valid? Based on fact and not MSM propaganda? If the media reported deaths in NYC & DC the way they sensationalize deaths in Iraq...

If Anbar takes hold and spreads, it will be intereting to see how they justify their reporting to the public. May not matter, as so many sheep still watch the discredited CNN & CBS.

The Drill SGT said...

Hd,

that was actually funny. Keep that up. It's better than your other schtick.