Sunday, March 25, 2007



I wind up talking with a lot of congressional staffers, mostly people who want to help me get information about their bosses or else people who are helping me set up Blue America live blog sessions. Almost every one of the ones I spoke to this week asked me if I thought the anti-war activists would be angry that their boss voted for the Supplemental Emergency Spending bill. There's a good deal of worry that, despite MoveOn, many progressive activists are pissed off that-- regardless of possibly good intentions-- the effect is another year of killing and catastrophe and another $100 billion down the Bush-created rat hole.

I've detected some anger, but most activists I've spoken to seem to understand the realities progressive members of Congress are up against. The numbers don't add up in either house of Congress. There are too many Republicans and too many reactionary Democrats to be able to pass the kind of legislation ending the war that most Democrats favor.

The other day I spoke with Carol Shea-Porter about it. She had to do some soul-searching to figure out what was the right thing to do. Her opposition to Bush's war was a good part of the impetus that got her to run for office. She certainly isn't a professional politician. In the end she felt the compromise Speaker Pelosi, whose own anti-war credentials are strong and trustworthy, was the best that could be achieved. And, as I mentioned here yesterday, Congresswoman Shea-Porter told me about the Cheney Rule another Democrat had told her about. Basically it just asks you to determine what Cheney would want you to do. And on this bill, Cheney wanted a "no" vote-- which helps explain why all but two-- Wayne Gilchrest and Walter Jones-- marched in their usual lockstep to give a big resounding "no" to the hopes of the majority of Americans who have lost confidence in the Bush Regime to pursue this disastrous war. And that includes fake anti-war Republican Ron Paul.

Now, speaking of fake anti-war Republicans, Chuck Hagel, who takes every opportunity to vote with the Republican rubber stampers promoting Bush's Iraq agenda was running his mouth about how terrible Bush is again. This guy must be a real political schizophrenic. He tried to sound like a Democrat on TV and then votes with the worst of the worst-- like Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn-- back in the Senate.
"I am opposed to the president's further escalation of American military involvement. We are undermining our interests in the Middle East, we are undermining our military, we're undermining the confidence of people around the world in what we're doing," Hagel said on ABC's This Week program.

"We have clearly a situation where the president has lost the confidence of the American people in his war effort," he said. "It is now time, going into the fifth year of that effort, for the Congress to step forward and be part of setting some boundaries and some conditions as to our involvement."

He's even raised the possibility of impeachment if Bush keeps going down this course. And now watch him vote for whatever Cheney wants... again. Look at that voting record! He makes reactionaries like Jim Marshall and Joe Lieberman look almost patriotic! On October 10-11, 2002 Hagel had his rubber stamp out for the 6 roll calls that made up S.J. Re 45, the authorization of the use of force against Iraq. He was with Bush on all 6. There have been 29 Iraq-related roll calls in the Senate between Oct 10, 2002 and May 26, 2005. Hagel rubber stamped the first 22 of them before pulling his head out of his ass long enough to vote with the Democrats on 2 harmless bills in 2004 and another innocuous bill in 2005 seeking the Bush draft a real budget instead of the fake ones he's been sending to Congress. That's been the extent of Hagel's anti-war activites vote-wise.


Like I mentioned last week, the Democratic Caucus gave Maxine Waters, Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee, the 3 congresswomen who founded the Out of Iraq Caucus and who voted against the Supplemental, a standing ovation. Confusing? It doesn't have to be. Howard Zinn disagrees with the decision the Democratic leadership made to attempt to end the war within the bounds of reality (i.e.- not having the votes to win an outright cut off of funds to the Bush Regime). Zinn's arguments are still powerful and crucial to understand.

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At 7:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Real anti-war representitives don't vote to fund an illegal war.

At 7:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am surprised at your view of Ron Paul.He is one of the only republicans I have any respect for.He is certainly no "Bushie".He is also one of the only congresspersons to take seriously the notion that we are at the beginning stages of a tyrannical police state.

At 9:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

why would they, the gop, care about Cheney and what he'd do? Are they afraid he'd come and do something dark to them?
And they call themselves tough...

At 10:15 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Vbrans, on an earlier comments thread I did a long and detailed analysis of Paul's actual voting record (like just a day or two ago). He's better than any Republican. He's worse than all but the 20 most reactionary Democrats. For a Republican, he's good. As a congressman... he's not.

At 11:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, bowing to political expediency is being a "real" anti-war congresman, but taking a consistenly principled anti-war stance is proof of fakery. Interesting.

For reference, Dr. Paul did specify his reasoning.

At 6:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the only time I can remember being in agreement with a majority of republicans on a vote. It may be true that no stronger legislation to stop this war could be passed short of disciplined but legitimate legislative hardball tactics. Many who supported this legislation have said or implied that it was unreasonable to expect the Democratic leadership, or rank and file members of Congress to act under an assumption that Bush will defy deadlines, lie about accomplishing benchmarks etc. I think is grossly negligent not to adopt these assumptions. I have not yet seen anyone credibly argue against filibustering instead. Why wouldn't a filibuster have been the best and possibly only way to effect the stated goals of the Democratic leadership. A filibuster could have be used to prevent passage of any spending bill without language banning any use of funds to attack Iran, any use of funds for permanent bases, any oil agreement rammed down the throats of the Iraqi people which amounts to the coerced theft of Iraq’s resources by corporations, and forcing Bush within months to stop the slaughter, stop the war crime, begin withdrawal, and thus to eliminate the primary fuel (cause) behind the civil war, behind the legitimate resistance and behind the unconscionable suffering which Bush’s occupation is inflicting on the Iraqi people. Wouldn’t the filibuster have been effective negating any need for the cooperation of a single Republican, a single DLC democrat or Bush. Those that have argued that this would be the only way to force the end of the war with or without Bush's cooperation (cooperation that will never be) have made very persuasive arguments. See, Howard Zinn's piece at and many others. I think this legislation, to use Sen. Leahy's words on another subject, accomplishes “nothing, nothing, nothing” in stopping or even slowing down the ongoing war crime which is the most shameful action by the US government in over a century. It continues because it continues to be enabled by Democrats, Republicans, and the necessary numbers of the American public.


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