Jesus, people! Will you please stop blaming the Democrats for not being able to end the occupation?
Look, I will be the first to admit that there are mealy-mouthed Dems out there, and there are some who act like Republicans a lot of the time. But on Iraq, the Democrats are (mostly) performing admirably.
Let’s start by bursting a bubble. I did this in a precious post, but I need to reiterate, because people are just not learning.
First of all, there are not enough votes to end funding for the Iraq Occupation. It’s that simple. And if you would put down your signs, shut your yaps and pick up a goddamn newspaper, you’d know why.
Remember a couple of years ago, when Democrats were filibustering Bush’s judicial nominees, and Republicans in the majority wanted to kill the filibuster altogether to stop that from happening? We wrote our congresspeople and shouted and screamed and marched, and we won, didn’t we? We got to keep the filibuster, so that Democrats could stop those pesky Bush judges from taking office.
Well, remember you uncle telling you, "Be careful what you wish for"?
We can pass bills in the House all day long, and in fact, Democrats have passed a lot of bills through the House. The problem is, when it comes to Iraq, Democrats don’t have a real majority, and even if they did, they need SIXTY votes, not 51!
Yes, I said we need SIXTY VOTES, people!
You can WANT the Democrats to do all sorts of things, but without sixty votes, they can’t do any of it.
Republicans — you know, the same ones who pretended to want to kill the filibuster a few short years ago — are setting records with regard to the filibuster. No one else has even come close. And that means EVER. In history. If the Republicans keep filibustering at the rate they are, they will have filibustered more bill than the last two Congresses COMBINED. So far, they have filibustered 51 times, including the Webb Amendment, which would have simply made the rules fair for military personnel serving in Iraq; the same amount of time at home as over there. (I’ll talk about this more later, of course.)
That bill had 56 votes in favor of it, people! And it FAILED! What does that tell you?
Seriously… put down your sign for a moment, take a deep breath and think. If a bill can’t pass with 56 votes, doesn’t that suggest that we need more votes than the 50 we have? Must I remind you, also, that it’s actually 49+ Lieberman? And that 56 was for a bill that shoud have been a stone cold cinch for anyone who actually gives a damn about the troops.
Now do you get it? Having a bare majority in the House is great. Having a bare majority in the Senate is purely frustrating, especially when you have a Republican Party that is as ideological and fearful of the gang in the White House as this group. I don’t know how many Republicans’ puppies and families Darth Cheney has threatened, but the fact of the matter is, they have demonstrated, at least thus far, that they will go off a cliff for their party. I mean, John fricking WARNER voted against the troops on the Webb Amendment. Just after Darth Cheney paid him a visit, too, so you have to wonder — what the hell does the White House have on these guys, that a retiring Senator will go down with their ship? There is something more going on here than meets the eye, especially when it comes to the spending bills. I have a sense that the Bushies are threatening to do things that would actually harm the troops; you certainly can’t put it past them. In the case of this bill, what if Cheney started threatening to make their tours three years? In the case of the spending bills, what if the Bushies told them that they had enough money to keep the occupation going until they leave office, but that they would "pretend" there’s a shortage of money? Can you put anything past these people?
We have to work harder to get as many people on board against this war as possible. Instead of pissing and moaning about the goddamn Democrats, make sure people know that it’s STILL the goddamn obstructionist Republican Party that is gumming up the works here. If it has to do with the Iraq occupation, they are filibustering it, and there are simply not enough votes to invoke cloture. Instead of going all around the country screaming epithets at Nancy Pelosi, go after the REAL bad guys, the Republicans. Especially the ones like Warner, who talk a great game about ending the war, but when it comes to actually voting for it, they wimp out.
I think the Democrats are actually to be commended for putting the Republicans in the position of having to filibuster a record number of times. Stop ragging on them about not getting anything passed. Instead, make sure we have a Democratic president and a 60-vote Senate, and stop these people.
Update (in response to many of the comments I’m getting…)
What do we imagine
will happen if and when "the Democrats" do what you want, and
suddenly cut off the funds, anyway? Does anyone imagine that they have used
every bit of the money that has been appropriated thus far just to Iraq? Have
you noticed that pretty much every dollar that has been sent to Iraq has come
in the form of an "emergency" appropriation, apart from the defense
appropriation? Do we have a full accounting of that money? Do we know how much
they have? In other words, how do we know that cutting off funds will have any
effect on the occupation itself?
The short answer is,
we don’t. These are really crafty people, folks; not the bunch of hicks and
hayseeds they pretend to be. There are a few things to think about here; the
first is the fact that most of the work being done in Iraq is being done under
contract, and while Congress can cut off any further money, they can’t cancel
the contracts, because the contracts are with the Department of Defense. Like I
said, there could be quite a bit of money already available to keep paying them
for some time after Congress cuts the money off. Plus, there is Iraqi oil
money, and the Iraqi oil company is being run by Americans, after all. And did
I mention that there has been a discretionary fund built into the defense
appropriation for quite some time, and that for years, the treasury has been
ordering plane loads of cash and shipping it to Iraq?
So, here’s the
conundrum Democrats find themselves in. Imagine, if you will, that there is a
possibility — knowing these people, a likelihood — that there is a
significant cash reserve available, to keep the occupation going for quite some
time. If the Democrats lead the charge to cut off funds, who is most likely to
be hurt? Well, the only way they can assure that no money is going to Iraq is
to kill all defense appropriations. Keep in mind that anything else will be
filibustered to death by the Republicans in the Senate. They can’t pass a bill
that provides money for soldiers, but nothing else. They can’t pass a bill that
provides money only for withdrawal, and nothing else. They would have to
filibuster and kill the entire defense appropriations bill.
Imagine being a
Democrat, excoriated for years by the right wing, and you then cut off all
defense appropriations during the "war on terr’rrrrr." Can you
imagine a Democrat willingly doing such a thing? Are you crazy? Hell; it would
be political suicide. And if anything resembling a terrorist attack happened at
that point in time, the GOP would be back so fast it would make your head spin.
The bottom line is
this; there is only so much the Democrats can do. They are speaking out, but
the media’s too obsessed with OJ and Britney to pay attention. And there is
only so much they can do, when their majority in the Senate is pretty much an
illusion, for all intents and purposes.