All The Best Democrats In The House Voted Against Obama Yesterday
Afghan war was wrong under Bush-- and it still is
What a bizarre mish-mash of congressmembers voted against passage of the Supplemental Appropriations money ($97 billion) for Fiscal Year 2009 late yesterday. It passed overwhelmingly 368-60 but when I looked at the names of the 5 dozen opponents, expecting to see a batch of far right fringe Republican obstructionists like Michele Bachmann, Virginia Foxx, Paul Ryan, John Boehner and Eric Cantor, I found only a small handful of obstructionist maniacs-- not even Paul Broun! It was just far right Republicans Ed Royce, Jeff Flake, James Sensenbrenner, John Campbell and Vern Ehlers with a couple of just as far right mangy old Blue Dogs (like Jim Cooper) and a whole slew of the best members of Congress, progressive warriors like Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Alan Grayson (D-FL), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Diane Watson (D-CA), Mike Capuano (D-MA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Jared Polis (D-CO), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Barney Frank (D-MA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Eric Massa (D-NY), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Steve Cohen (D-TN), George Miller (D-CA), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Steve Kagen (D-WI), and Jim McDermott (D-WA). They were joined by anti-war Republican Ron Paul (R-TX).
Then I remembered reading a quote from Grayson Wednesday night explaining to the NY Times why he was breaking with Obama on this one to vote his conscience and for what he is certain his constituents want.
“There is no need in the 21st century to do this, to make us safe,” Representative Alan Grayson, a freshman Democrat from Florida, said of the continuing American-led wars. “This is a 19th-century strategy being played out at great expense in both money and blood in the 21st century, in the wrong time at the wrong place.”
“It’s wrong,” Mr. Grayson added. “That’s why I am going to vote against it.”
Eric Massa, a career naval officer, had a variety of reasons, some very specific, for voting "no," but in the end, he felt he was keeping his promise to his constituents to oppose the Iraq War. "For over four years prior to being elected to Congress, I promised to vote against any additional funding for the Iraq war without a clear and immediate plan of withdrawal," he said. "Regardless of which party is in power, I could not in good conscience vote for any additional Iraq war funding. The Iraqi people want us to leave and I think we should begin redeploying American troops out of Iraq immediately. I've always promised to stand up to my party when I disagree with them, but yesterday I had to stand up to both political parties."
It's hard for Democrats to break with a good-- and popular-- Democratic president. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who voted "yes," admitted he was struggling with the bill but more and more Democrats are uneasy by what is looking like an open-ended commitment in Afghanistan that harkens back to the Bush Regime. House Appropriations Committee Chair David Obey said Democrats will give Obama a year to get a handle on the situation that he inherited from Bush before the 5 dozen who voted against the bill turns into a majority.