Posted by lex, on March 22, 2007
Having successfully disaffected the polis from the mission of their citizen soldiers by sharing the work of beating the “Another Grim Milestone” tocsin with a national media wedded to ledes that bleed, and having ridden that disaffection into majority status in the national legislature, the new sheriffs in town wonder – apart from raking through the muck of decisions past for further incremental partisan gain- what is to be done? About, you know: The War.
Because this whole “governing responsibly” thing? Harder than it looked.
Some in the majority want to cut off all funding, now, right now, yesterday if possible, and the devil with the consequences because it isn’t their fault that we got into this mess and if a few hundred thousand overseas wogs have to pay for it with their lives, well then that’s a shame but the good news is that the security environment will be so bad during the Roman holiday that follows our precipitate withdrawal that CNN won’t be around to film it, so it isn’t like it will be real.
I mean, can anyone remember how long it took for word of the Cambodian “killing fields” to leak out? Years!
Representative John Lewis, a liberal Georgia Democrat, declared his opposition (to a house funding bill that would require a withdrawal in 2008), saying, “I will not and cannot vote for another dollar or another dime to support this war…”
Representative Pete Stark, a California Democrat, said he had opposed every war-spending request that had come before him since being elected to Congress in 1972. (During the Vietnam War, he opened a bank with a giant peace symbol on top, attracting customers who shared his views.)
Asked what he found troubling about the current legislation, Mr. Stark snapped, “What’s to like?”
“We used the war to help us win control of Congress,” (Congressman Dennis) Kucinich said. “We succeeded and created expectations to move quickly to end the war. But now we are giving President Bush enough money to fight the war through the end of his term?”
Others were elected from traditionally conservative states and districts, and don’t feel comfortable – fiscal inducements notwithstanding – pulling the rug out from under deployed forces in the field:
Representative Dan Boren is a Democrat, but after visiting Iraq last week he announced a decision that puts him at odds with his party’s leaders: he intends to vote against their plan to set a deadline for troops to leave Iraq.
“A timeline, in effect, is cutting off the funds,” said Mr. Boren, a conservative second-term lawmaker whose territory covers the eastern swath of Oklahoma, from the bottom of Kansas to the top of Texas. “That is not the solution.”
His views have barely caused a ripple in his home district, but the House Democratic leadership has been working to keep Mr. Boren’s views from spreading through the party’s jittery conservative wing…
Representative Brad Ellsworth of Indiana was one of the most prized new Democratic recruits of the 2006 elections, a sheriff whose image embodied what party leaders wanted voters to see as the strength of the ticket. Part of his law-and-order message, though, was opposing the idea of setting a deadline to pull troops out of Iraq.
To make it easier for members of the conservative Blue Dog coalition, many of whom represent farming districts, Democratic leaders inserted nearly $24 billion in domestic spending, including emergency agricultural assistance, to go along with the financing for troops and veterans.
And yet a third block within the majority is pushing hard to do something, anything, because after all, isn’t this what they were elected to do? The people might notice.
Representative Carol Shea-Porter, a New Hampshire Democrat who defeated a two-term Republican last fall by waging an antiwar campaign, said the Iraq debate had proved to be more distressing — and complicated — than she had imagined…
“Immediate withdrawal is irresponsible; staying the course is irresponsible,” (Congressman Stephanie) Herseth said. “Some will disagree as to whether or not this is the most responsible, but it’s certainly more responsible than the other two alternatives.”
Welcome to the 21st Century, congressmen.