SOME DEMOCRATS WHO REPRESENT GRASSROOTS AMERICANS ARE ADAMENTLY OPPOSED TO GIVING BUSH ANOTHER BLANK CHECK
I'm not 100% sure that 100% of the Democratic leaders-- read "reactionary war-mongers, like Rahm Emanuel, Steny Hoyer, Ellen Tauscher, and Artur Davis," for example-- are just afraid of Bush. (Of course, some are afraid and pathetic.)
Today CBS and the NY Times point out that public opposition to Bush's entire war agenda is at an all-time high. Emanuel and Hoyer are political operators and longtime war supporters. Bush and the hated Republican minority are just their excuse. And their next line of defense will be the Republican's partisan hack general Patraeus.
I'd like to mention that Democratic congressmembers who are really opposed to the war are voting against this disgraceful bill. This came from Lynn Woolsey's office:
This capitulation proves once and for all that we cannot negotiate with this President. He won't listen to his military generals on the ground, he won't listen to outside experts like the Iraq Study Group, he won't listen to the Congress, and worst of all he won't listen to the American public.
Faced with this blind arrogance we have no other choice but to take bold steps to confront this President and to hold him accountable for his continued failures in Iraq. If we refuse, if we continue to take piecemeal steps such as today's vote, then we must accept our complicity in his continued occupation of Iraq.
The American public voted Democrats into power for one simple reason-- they trusted us to act boldly to hold this President accountable and to bring our troops home. So far we are failing the very trust that they have placed in us. But more importantly, every day that we allow this occupation to continue we are failing our brave young men and women who are serving honorably and professionally in Iraq. And we are failing their families here at home, who, while struggling to keep
their lives and families together, are forced to worry whether their loved ones will come home alive, and if so in what condition.
Today is not an opportunity to claim victory, or to give bellicose speeches for partisan gain. Today is an opportunity to grieve for the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives for this President's failed
Iraq policy, to stand by our nation's sons and daughters who suffer through the irreparable physical and mental wounds of war, and to grieve for the lives that we will continue to lose so long as this
President refuses to bring our troops home, and continues to send our young men and women to die for his failure."
When Jerry McNerney called me on the phone last week to explain to me and the Blue America community why he had voted against the McGovern legislation that upset so many of us, I believed his sincerity and there was no question in my mind that he should be given the benefit of the doubt. Today he made a statement that backed up my feelings about giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Our troops have done everything we have asked of them. They have put their lives on the line in service to our country.
They deserve our utmost respect and real leadership from the Congress.
For our troops and their families, for our nation, we need a new direction in Iraq .
That is why I cannot vote for a bill that does not include enforceable benchmarks, a reasonable timetable for redeploying our troops from Iraq , or the requirements for providing the training and equipment our men and women in uniform need.
I cannot support another blank check for the President.
Beginning in January this new Congress began the process of implementing new policies, of bringing accountability to the conduct of this war, and of forging a new direction in Iraq. That is what the American people demanded.
Yet, this supplemental funding plan is a step backwards because it is a blank check for the President. I have consistently called for real benchmarks and a reasonable redeployment timetable. This bill provides neither.
Critically, the bill includes no provisions to ensure that our troops are prepared, rested, and ready for the battles they must wage - a rejection of the Pentagon's own standards.
Not only that, but this bill includes no requirement to use diplomacy to create the framework to end this conflict, the course recommended by the Iraq Study Group. And there is no plan to reduce the tremendous strain on our military or to refocus our nation's efforts on the broader war on terror.
Supporting our troops means providing our men and women in uniform all of the means necessary to carry out their mission and bring a responsible close to the conflict in Iraq. This bill does not do that and I cannot support it.
If you haven't watched Keith Olbermann's Special Comment, I want to recommend it very strongly. John Edwards' leadership today shows why he has what it takes to merit serious consideration from progressives for the presidency.
UPDATE: CONGRESS STOKES THE FIRE OF AN ANTI-INCUMBENT REVOLT
Kerry just sent out an e-mail explaining why he was voting no on giving Bush a blanks check. Here's what he said:
I'm voting no on this bill. I'm tired of the false choices of Republicans and all the recycled spin of old battles and the political calculations that do nothing for our troops who bear the real costs of this war. Bottom line: we support the troops by getting the policy right, and this bill doesn't do that. I've said it again and again and I'm not about to stop: we need a deadline to force Iraqis to stand up for Iraq and bring our heroes home, not watered down benchmarks and blank check waivers for this President. We support the troops by funding the right mission, not with a White House that opposes a pay raise for our brave men and women in uniform. Do we need to bring out the hand puppets and make the case again?
So who would Jimmy Stewart play? Well, certainly not Gordon Smith. We'll see who votes against this travesty. I know Patrick Murphy-- who won by a razor-thin margin in a GOP-leaning district-- is voting against it. As is... the bill's floor manager, Rep. Obey. And the Speaker of the House? This gets more and more interesting. So this is all the Rahm Emanuel/Steny Hoyer show. And it looks like the bad old Murtha is back, voting with Emanuel, Hoyer and the Republicans, just like in the