Monday, September 28, 2009

No Means No Highlights 11 California Members Of Congress-- Down From 15

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Last June, when the dust cleared, there were only 32 Democrats left-- down from 90, then down from 52-- willing to oppose not Bush but Obama on a war supplemental budget. 90 promised and 32 followed through and voted no. When the easy vote came up-- the one that had almost all the Republicans voting for Obama's war funding-- 15 California Democrats voted no:

Sam Farr
Bob Filner
Mike Honda
Barbara Lee
Zoe Lofgren
Doris Matsui
George Miller
Grace Flores Napolitano
Brad Sherman
Jackie Speier
Pete Stark
Mike Thompson
Diane Watson
Maxine Waters
Lynn Woolsey

It was "easy" to oppose Obama and the House Democratic leadership on this because the margin of victory was sure to be so overwhelming-- with all the GOP help-- that the administration didn't need to squeeze anyone who had campaigned on a peace plank. But after it passed Rahm Emanuel got greedy. He was sitting on a bill ugly enough that it was going to be hard to find anyone to vote for it: a bailout for the IMF. So he got the Senate to attach it to the supplemental and sent it back to the House. The Republicans dropped out of the deal and said they would vote "no" on the supplemental, not because they didn't support escalating the war-- they certainly did and still do-- but because they weren't voting to bail out more foreign banks with U.S. taxpayer dollars. Suddenly the administration could no longer afford to lose 52 Democrats and still pass the bill.

They looked at the California delegation, applied some friendly pressure and quickly peeled off Doris Matsui, George Miller, Grace Flores Napolitano, and Mike Thompson. As the vote drew closer, the pressure coming out of Emanuel's office grew less friendly. It was like the battle over NAFTA all over again, where he managed to beat up and bribe enough Democrats to pass a truly destructive Republican bill. He was at it again and he succeeded again. The bill passed 226-202 but 11 California Democrats held their ground:

Sam Farr
Bob Filner
Mike Honda
Barbara Lee
Zoe Lofgren
Brad Sherman
Jackie Speier
Pete Stark
Diane Watson
Maxine Waters
Lynn Woolsey

These 11 make up part of an initiative, No Means No!, that is embarking on an effort to nurture a progressive conversation about U.S. policy in Afghanistan. Last week Alan Grayson and Eric Massa helped kick off the effort with live blogging sessions at Crooks and Liars. The object is to raise consciousness about the occupation of and war in Afghanistan and to help figure out how to effect the real Change it's going to take to get our troops out of there.

We've been asking people to consider thanking the courageous men and women who already drew that line in the sand and stood by it, like the 11 California members. Please take a look at the No Means No page and consider donating to any-- or all-- of the members of Congress on that list.

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