Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Total Betrayal

The latest "deal" to fund the war is a total betrayal. The Democrats have failed totally. I think Keith Olberman says it best.


Raised By Republicans said...

I completely disagree. The Democrats were faced with a choice. Either they could refuse to fund the war at all in the forlorn hope that Bush would suddenly develop a conscience and withdraw our troops before they started running out of supplies. Or they could do what they did, force Bush to veto their time line and force the Republicans to support that veto and then fund the troops.

Those who somehow find a way to issue "bi-partisan" blame for this are demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of how decisions are made in our democracy. Just becuase the Democrats have a narrow majority in both houses does not mean they can do whatever they want. The President and/or a third of the Senate can block ANY attempt to change the status quo.

Since the status quo in this case is that our troops are in harm's way, we are all being held hostage (and none more so than our men and women in arms) by the Republican party and their arrogant refusal to admit thier monumental errors!

To blame Democrats for this cheap. The real blame lies with the voters who declined to give the Democrats veto proof majorities in 2006 and who allowed the Bush Presidency to continue in 2004. Since Republicans have been driven out of the cities and many suburbs the blame lies primarily with rural and Southern voters who proclaim themselves to be Christians while supporting a party that is willing to sacrifice the lives of others for their own gain and pride.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I'm with RbR on this one. I blame Bush, not the Democrats--who did, after all, manage to hold their coalition together enough to pass a bill with real timelines (though of course it was vetoed). While it is possible that the Democrats could have stood firm and forced Bush to retreat, I think it far more likely that the Democratic congress would have been lambasted--albeit wrongly--for failing to "support the troops."

The Democrats task should now be to come together and propose a clear decision date. Let's say January 11, 2008--exactly one year after Bush publicly committed the U.S. to his strategy of "stay the course, only more so." If there is no real progress toward stability--and by that I mean, substantial, unambiguous, nationwide, persistent decrease in the violence against Iraqis and Americans--then I think a good case can be made that the President has failed his one final chance to do it his way, and now the nation must take a new course.

That course is to end the military occupation of Iraq. Things will get worse over there before they get better, but by January 2008 it will be clear that having military forces in Iraq can only provide modest short-term stability. For any long-term progress, Iraqis will have to do it themselves. Surely we can make sure Iraq does not harbor Al Qaeda training camps--we can still do that even as we end the occupation.

But until Bush has been given one clear chance, and failed that chance--and until the Democrats advance a clear alternative strategy, accepting responsibility for what may transpire subsequently in Iraq--the American people will not support the Democrats enough. If a "decision date" is announced and the failure is clear, at that point I would say it is time for Democrats to draw a line in the sand and refuse to provide any more support for Bush's war until he accepts reality.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I'm more optimistic than all of you, it seems. They humiliated Bush, forced him to accept benchmarks and reporting, and got Republicans to break with him. They also got the minimum wage through with no strings attached. All this to fund the war through 9/30/07, with many Republicans waving their arms wildly saying that "September is important." Dems will keep taking the votes until Bush caves or the GOP gives him a veto-proof majority. It will be very close in the Fall.

Bell Curve said...

It will be very close in the Fall.

Well, that is optimism right there. Count me as pessimistic for September. There may be a few more GOP defections, but certainly not full-scale ones.

- BC

USWest said...

Ah, so you guys are out there. Just had to wake you up!

USWest said...

What is being reported today is that there are rumblings in the White House about reducing troop levels in time for the elections. They are talking about sending 45K troops home and leaving an occupation force of 100K. Now, I can't say if these are serious or simply a leak in the hope of giving the Republican candidates some traction. And oddly enough, I am feeling dejavu. If I recall, last October, Bush bragged about sending some 30K troops home. Then turned around a month later and wanted to surge into Baghdad with 30K more. It's smoke an mirrors.

What is underlines for me a total lack of coherent stratgey beyond a desire to remain an occupying force well into the future. Gotta make sure we protect that oil.

But then there are outside forces that we don't control, such as the Turks mentioned below. Since that posting, the Turkish foreign Minister has said that no serious preparations are being made at the time for in invastion. That's today. But it should serve as a reminder that this is a regional crisis where many nations have a stake. We tend to disucss Iraqi as if it is only a US problem. So compared to that, Congress is really a bit player period. It can't control the war because it can't seem to control the White House.

Politics will be politics. That is what we have seen in this last engangement between Congress and the White House. That is what we will continue to see. Any benchmarks can be overruled by the President, so they are meaningless. I think it did very little to alter the power balance. I would like to see the Democrats require monthly budget updates, I'd like to see them passing monthly resolutions on the level of spending in Iraq. I want them to remind the American people every day that Congress holds the purse strings and they will pull them tightly closed. What I don't want to see happening here is that the President can simply fold his arms stubbornly while Congress kicks the dirt and gives in.

Raised By Republicans said...

With the Congress hamstrung by a blocking minority of Republicans in the Senate, the only thing that can bring this war to a swift end is Republican Senators' personal fear of losing office over this issue.

If the war is still festering in 2008, the GOP is finished as a legislative force for at least a decade. Slowly, some of the more intelligent Republicans are beginning to realize that. They are starting to shout at the White House about 2008.

Until now, Bush has refused to listen to advice even from those in his own party. We'll see what he does.

USWest said...

Yes! Bush isn't listening because he doesn't care to and because the White House and Congress are talking past each other.

I realize that I am wandering from the subject here a bit, but bare with me. I am trying to work out ideas that are floating around in my head in order to bring them to bear on a larger problem that I see.

I don't agree totally with Olberman either, but I do agree with his sentiment that no one is really listening to the public. And neither group wants a real dialogue with the country. The Democrats are much less guilty of this than the Republicans. But that is the problem. From the Public's perspective, all of this is a game that is being played at some level above us and that we can't seem to effect to any real extent. So we go about our daily business and we stop participating. We can't seem to break through the talking points and we are still being treated like idiots. So we throw our arms up, trade in our SUVs for a Prius and drive to closest shopping mall. And the White House thinks that tinkering with troop numbers and creating a "war czar" will pass as “progress” because the real strategy that they need is to send 400K troops in to clean up. And we don’t have them without a draft. (Take note that just to invade Northern Iraq, Turkey has over 100K troops ready to move-I can't seem to confirm the numbers, Everyone has a different number ranging between 100-400K troops. -That is as many as we have in all of Iraq.) I get this visual of Bush sitting in the Oval at a complete loss of what to do but to put on a front. So the situation is paralyzed. They just keep rearranging chairs on the Titanic. What this means is that the Democrats will have a heavy load of expectations and hopes from the People come 2009.

And I think the interview that Jon Stewart did with John McCain is a fine example that illustrates just this sort of thing. McCain was unable to answer Stewart's real, human questions about anything. So McCain chose to just keep talking in order to evade the issues Stewart was raising. It was sad and shameful coming from someone of McCain's stature and experience. And this was at the hands of comedian, not a real journalist! That is exactly what is happening between in Congress and the White House. The White House just keeps talking to drown out the reality, the rational. The Democrats just keep showing that the emperor has no clothes while giving Republicans enough rope to hang themselves.

The Republicans are very much screwed. The problem for me is that I am impatient. I am wanting big, bold moves. I know it isn't prudent. But my appetite has been whet.

Raised By Republicans said...

The problem with expecting politicians to listen to the public is that it presumes that the public speaks with one voice. It presumes the old Rousseau'ian concept of the Common Will. In that concept democratic government is meant to express that Common Will in terms of policy. It is an inaccurate view of human society in general and democratic government in particular.

There is no one single American Public crying out for an end to the war. There are many who just don't pay attention. There are many who want an end to the war as soon as possible. There are others who want to try to win it and then, after some period of effort, end the war. There are still others who think we should try to win it and never stop trying to win it - McCain types. Finally, there are still others who think we are winning it - Bush thinks like this and so do many of the people who set up cardboard cut outs of him as graven immages at Jesus Camp.

These various points of view are not evenly distributed across the American population. There are states where there is a pro-war pluarlity. There are certainly districts where this is the case. When Republicans express their support for the President it is not because they are ignoring the people. It's because they're ignoring anyone but THEIR OWN people. Jeff Sessions doesn't care if he would win an election in California or even Ohio. He only cares if he'd win in Alabama.

That said, even in Alabama the popularity of the war is deminishing quickly and Sessions would do well to press Bush to end the war before 2008.

USWest said...

True, RBR. Quite true. But it is pretty hard for the pubic to speak with one voice when everyone is busy lying to it. Again, if all "leaders" are going to do is hand out talking points or buy into their own propoganda, then the public can't really give a unified or informed opinion. There is a negative feedback loop here.

Of course, that is the case with just about any policy proposition. The politicans head out to promote their point of view.Then they poll the public and they hear that the public leans to their point of view. Then they say, "see the public thinks that . . ." It's a chicken-egg sort of thing.

So when I see 70% of "those polled" think that the war was a mistake and want to end it, I have to ask 70% of whom? How many Republicans are in the 70%? The Pollign Report shows us that 72% of those polled disapprove of Bush's handling of the war. But 54% of the Repiblicans polled approve. I don't know many of the 1,120 polled were Republican. But that is still a minority of the public.

76% of those polled believe the war is going somewhat or very badly. 69% said Congress should fund with with benchmarks. But the poll doesn't tell you what type of benchmarks.

Dead Parrot said...

Why are we (the public, the administration, the legislators, the media) still obsessed with the military part of the US engagement in Iraq? General Petraeus said that the military is only 20% of the solution to providing a stable Iraq. The other 80% is political. And I think that other 80% requires significant guidance and involvement from other moderate Arab and Muslim countries. If they don't want to be involved, there is nothing we can do (with benchmarks, surges, drawdowns or any other strategy) to avoid future violence in Iraq.

I'm not a political scientist. I'm not a republican or a democrat. I'm just someone who is frustrated at the Gordian knot in the Middle East and western Asia. And I guess I am a little angry at the stupid, naive people who thought that anyone could bring stability to this region.

Raised By Republicans said...

Dead Parrot is right to point out that there is no military solution to the mess in Iraq. We've said as much repeated on this blog and we're hardly alone in having this opinion.

As for the public will and their single voice. It doesn't matter if the people are being lied to or not. Different people have different preferences it is an intrigral part of being individuals. The idea that the public can ever, under any circumstances, have a single opinion about anything is a myth.

That said, democracy is a system that is supposed to approximate decisions that if they don't provide the greatest good to the greatest number at least do not allow the oppression of any number.

Usually this works fine but the Bush regime's disregard for the Constitution and the support they get in doing this from the GOP is undermining the whole system.

The Law Talking Guy said...

The Democrats were very wise, in my view, to make the deal with the WH and GOP on the war, for now. They were going to lose a real confrontation, in that the public is not, as a whole, willing to just cut off funding and go through a war shutdown. Not yet. Maybe they will get the President to accept a timetable in September. Maybe not. But by early 2008, the momentum building behind the Dems will be a freight train. Republicans don't want to go into the 2008 election without some resolution to this war.