Tuesday, March 06, 2007



Today's CongressDaily makes it abundantly clear why there's no progress from Congress on Iraq. The Democratic proposals, instead of being formulated by Members who actually want to extricate us from Bush's hideous and failed quagmire-- and there are many-- are being "handled" by Members with long and consistent records of support for all of the Bush Regime's and the Neocons' worst policies in the Middle East, hacks and shills like Steny Hoyer (MD), Dave Obey (WI) and Steve Israel (NY).

After today's special Democratic caucus meeting it was clear that these clowns are so pathetic and scared of their own shadows that nothing is going to get done. Bush's approval rating on Iraq is down at 23%. Think of that number! That includes Utah, Wyoming and Idaho and other places where they think Jesus, the guy who picked Bush to be president, is coming on a spaceship next week to rescue them so nothing matters anyway. Bush's overall approval rating, depending on which poll you give more credence to is either 28% or 29%. But there are enough Democrats in the House still afraid of him to-- combined with die-hard Democratic war supporters-- thwart the attempts by progressives and anti-war Democrats from getting anything real done to end the war.

Dave Obey, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee-- always a position that should give one pause (at least in order to secure one's wallet and other valuables)-- has a proposal. His Iraq voting record makes me, as someone who opposes Bush's policies, somewhat suspicious. Obey has voted with Bush and the hard right Republicans 9 times on Iraq roll calls between October 10, 2002 (H.J. Res. 114) and May 25, 2005. His plan is supposed to be a compromise between the Out of Iraq Caucus-- the Democrats who want to end the war-- and... the Osama bin-Laden/Dick Cheney faction that is determined, for their own reasons, to keep the war going as long as possible. (The Blue Dogs and Ellen Tauscher's New Democratic Coalition are with bin-Laden and Cheney of course.)

Steve Israel, Long Island's second most reactionary congressman-- after vicious right-wing extremist Peter King-- has an even worse Iraq voting record than Obey (actually, much worse, having voted with Bush and the extremists 20 times in the same time period, including on almost every single crucial vote). But he's speaking as though he were some kind of an honest broker instead of the total warmonger his voting record proves him to be. Stressing that Obey's plan won't satisfy the "extreme wings" of the party (the extreme wings being Jim Marshall (GA) and Bud Cramer (AL) on the far right and 81 Democrats with respectable Democratic voting records on Iraq on the "left" of the party. "I think you're getting fewer members demanding extremes and more trying to find a sensible compromise. So, obviously the ground is shifting, and they're trying to accommodate a lot of concerns...

Another long-time and consistent war supporter (18 votes with the Bush-Cheney coalition while he was Democratic Whip!), disgraceful Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, says the process of coming up with something is taking longer than anyone would have guessed. Anyone who was guessing should have voted for Jack Murtha as Majority Leader and it would have been solved by now.

I watched the Turd-in-Chief on TV today reading Rove's carefully constructed and completely deceitful talking points about how voting against the Regime's proposals is stabbing the fighting men and women in the back. Anyone who wants to see how to stab our fighting men and women in the back need look no further than how they have been short changed on armor in Iraq and short-changed on medical care when they were blown up because Bush skimped on the armor, when they got back. Why aren't the Democrats talking about impeachment?

As Hunter warns Democratic members of the House and Senate (and by implication, the bums running for the presidential nomination) on Daily Kos today, "There's a world of hurt coming your way, and time is running out."
We are surrounded by political figures in all parties unwilling to make political sacrifices a hundredth as difficult as the sacrifices we expect of the men and women who serve in our military, and in such a time as this, political courage is not optional, it is flatly and unequivocally expected. It is required, and if it is not forthcoming, then the wrath of the American public will grow, and quickly.
Quit jockeying for position among yourselves. Quit expecting ultraconservative apologists to offer anything more than plans to get more people killed and call it "progress". Quit expecting anything but another two years of incompetent buffoonery from the Bush administration. Quit expecting bipartisanship. Quit expecting miracles that haven't come for three years, and aren't just over the horizon now. And quit expecting patience.
You've got weeks, not months. Within the next two weeks, people are going to begin figuring out who's blocking what, and talking about it. Within a few weeks after that, there are going to be be explorations of all the Senators and House members who are willing to keep troops in harm's way without a plan. And within two months, those figures are going to be marked as apologists or worse, and the same fire that rained down on Republicans and on Joe Lieberman last election cycle from an American public deeply, deeply angry about the conduct of the war will begin to rain down on you, and there won't be enough talking points in the world to absolve or defend you.
You have no idea how much raw fury there is out there, just under the surface. And all the "Democratic apologists" like me are on our very last ounce of patience, and all the grassroots supporters have torches lit and at the ready, and all the Democrats and Republicans in your district are watching to see whether you're really different from the Republicans or not, and all the troops in Iraq are waiting to see if you can provide an ounce of leadership.
Fix it. Now.


Normally I've reserved my pleas for donations to our candidates to Saturdays. It suddenly dawned on me that maybe some people don't read DWT on Saturdays. I know, for example, Joe Lieberman doesn't. In any case, we don't have many Democratic candidates up on the Blue America board yet. But the ones we have up are not hot air Democrats; they're all the real McCoy when it comes to ending the war. May I ask you to consider $5 or $10 contributions to the campaigns of Charlie Brown (CA-04), who is taking on the odious warmonger John Doolittle again, and freshmen reps, Patrick Murphy (PA-08) and Steve Cohen (TN-09)?

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At 7:39 PM, Blogger john said...

I think we all need to start listening to Neil's "Living with War" CD again to get this movement rolling.

At 2:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Obey is no compromiser. He's one of the few that's battled fiercely against Bush. He knows the institution inside and out, but has been one of the few to call the Repugs on their bullsh!t in a confrontational manner. He hasn't rolled over, nor will he.

You're barking up the wrong tree. Obey really scored some points in that exchange, and had every right to get angry. There's nothing he can do: he doesn't have the votes. SO, HOWIE--why aren't you putting the squeeze on somebody that disagrees with you?? GET OBEY THE VOTES. Obey already agrees with you.

Your Abrahamoff slime is damn cheap: you could take any delegation in the country and do the same thing. Obey's got several reservations in his district--that he's getting money from tribes is no surprise. Ron Kind is also one of the good guys. Paul Ryan is a slimeball; Petri the man who isn't there. Throwing the four together is like saying dogs ARE cats. It's nonsense, and you need to do your homework.

What's revealing about this to me is how ineffectual you are at running a pressure campaign to get legislation YOU want to see up for a vote--OR swing opponents onto your side. Badgering one of your biggest allies isn't just counterproductive--you let your real opponents off the hook, AND burn an opportunity to work with Appropriations to fund adequate VA/medical assistance for vets, etc. Your method has NO chance of working.

GET Obey the votes he NEEDS--and I'm sure he'll be a lot friendlier. He's frustrated for the same reason you are.

But you should apologize for the Abrahamoff smear. It makes you look like a real slimeball. Ryan/Petri are POLAR OPPOSITES from Obey/Kind. Get yourself a clue.

At 5:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"GET Obey the votes he NEEDS--and I'm sure he'll be a lot friendlier."

Perhaps that's Obey's job. Ya know?

At 6:22 PM, Blogger Tony said...

Obey needs to stop acting like an asshole. He is asked, very politely, in the halls of congress by a mother of a veteran about the war.

Naturally, he responds by calling anti-war people like her idiots, tells her to get her facts straight, and yells like a belligerent asshole at her. Then of course he pretends like he is working so hard because he sits on his fat ass all day holding "hearings."


The man is a bastard, if people don't understand HIS BILL that is HIS FAULT. Not "idiot liberals."

He needs to treat citizens of this country with respect, if he can't do that he shouldn't be REPRESENTING them.

At 10:55 PM, Blogger Wordsmith said...

Yeah, I'm not with on David Obey. I've watched him in action on C-SPAN often.

The 'idiot liberals' isn't necessarily a slam. In listening to him here, it's akin to call your brother a 'dumb shit.'

Just like he said, "I hate this war!" He voted against it from the beginning.

At 7:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 5:25 wrote:
"Perhaps that's Obey's job. Ya know?"

You know good and well that once a Rep or Sen adds up the votes and checks for movement/deals, there's little Congressfolk can do once the lines are hardened and minds are made up. Bernie Sanders & David Obey are never going to convince John Cornyn & Lindsey Graham to switch sides.

IoW, Obey already did what he could.

ON THE OTHER HAND, If YOU and HOWIE Klein here were to identify the handful of Congressmen vulnerable to constituent pressure, and start a campaign IN THEIR DISTRICTS, then you might have a chance of success. THAT's the kind of thing that would persuade a Rep who's AFRAID a vote to end the war is a political risk. If his or her CONSTITUENTS demand a vote to end the war, they'll begin to realize it's political suicide to offer RNC talking points instead of ending an untenable situation for our troops.

At 8:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave Obey has an apology up on his website, here:

What I find remarkable about Obey is how straight he is with people. Why play games with funding and commit political suicide, when you can have a diret vote on getting out?

“Monday, a group of people ..approached me as I was rushing to a meeting and we wound up having an argument.

“When they were arguing that I should vote against the legislation that I am sponsoring, they did not know that the proposal would in fact give the House its first opportunity in the four years of this misguided war to vote on a timeline for bringing it to a close."

“I am sorry that I yelled at them. I respect their passion on the issue; I wish they would respect mine. We are both frustrated, and that led us to have an argument that we never should have had because we both want to see an end to U.S. involvement in that war. What divided us was the question of how."

At 8:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Dave Obey is the ONE GUY likely to come through for the anti-war crowd. Who knows how to do it. Who won't 'triangulate' or screw over real liberals. The ONE guy: you can't count on Biden or Hillary or Obama or Clark or even Kucinich.

Name-calling--like the egregiously dishonest sliming of Dave Obey with the Abramoff name--isn't gonna win you any friends. And it won't persuade Obey to do anything.

Obey was rushing to a meeting and stopped and listened politely anyway. And "a poem" isn't gonna do much when Obey's heart is ALREADY in the right place.

At 8:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few weeks ago a friend sent me an email.

"I never met [Obey] before. . No sign of big ego. He even pulled a harmonica out of his pocket to play along with a folk band and looked like he was doing it cause he liked to, not cause it would look good."

I'd heard Obey has his own blues/folk band--turns out he plays harmonica in The Capitol Offenses. Normally I hate those DC vanity groups, but Obey's is genuine—he once accompanied legendary follksinger Tom Paxton at Bayfield's "Big Top Chautauqua."

Also, Bill Kirchen (of Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen) fronted an allstar band benefiting Rep. Dave Obey with ex-Dead Mickey Hart on drums and Bruce Hornsby on piano.

I'm a bigger fan of the Guthries and Pete Seeger, and am not much of a Dead-head-- and I dont' care what any of them think.

The fact that Obey enjoys pulling out the harmonica for some local folk band means much more to me.

But given Obey has the roots and cred to jam w/Paxton, and Hart and Kirchen know it (and go out of their way to prove it), well, it's an incontrovertible signal you're going after the wrong guy.

He's the antithesis of Joe Lieberman.

At 8:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My friend's email continued:

"Yesterday [Obey's] theme was, it really does matter how you vote. And then he went down the list of progressive causes that just got an increase in funding. [Obey is Appropriations] He railed on the tax cuts for the rich and the corporate war machine. He described the invasion of Iraq as the worst decision made by a US president. And he lamented that DEms could go no further because there are 49 republican senators plus joe leiberman. He endorsed Edwards by saying that this is the person who he most trusts to fight for the little guy."

"Which reminds me of this. David Obey held a town hall meeting (thankfully he doesn’t’ call them that) right outside my office yesterday. He sure comes across as just one of us who is trying to keep things from getting worse and fix things where he can. I loved it when he’d say, “Last week Nancy and I decided to [fill in the blank with what ever evil republican thing they just outlawed.]"

"But now to the point. The college president, in her introduction of Obey, said, “He’s been in congress long enough to have experienced two previous impeachments.” And her point was?"

Obey would impeach Bush in an instant.

Joe Lieberman deserved your wrath. Dave Obey doesn't. But bloggers were fairer to Lieberman than Klein is to Obey in this post.

At 9:10 AM, Blogger Nell said...

What the hell's going on with that Progressive Punch chart? It lists the progressive position, and Obey's vote, but then only one time out of 35 gives him credit for it as a progressive 'win'.

I'm not thrilled with the dithering, either, but I think pinning the problem on a guy batting nearly .800 (35 of 44) is unfair

At 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm from Obey's district. I voted for him and will do so again. He's one of the most tenacious, tough liberals I've ever met, but he does not suffer fools gladly. I suspect if he were to have a conversation with the author of this blog, much the same result would occur, and I would be gladly cheering Rep. Obey on.

Sombrerofallout is correct: get yourself a clue.

At 7:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time to DIS Obey Bushists, miserepublicans, Damn Oak Rats and their Ziononsense, gnawing at our ship of state, US Liberty! We want world peace and progress, NOW; NOT Apocalyptic rubblespeak.

At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An observation for Howie:

Your comment [on the other discussion] is completely unresponsive to the issue raised.

It's one thing to be unfamiliar with the legislative process, or the records of individual Congressfolk.

I get furious seeing Lehrer & Ifill allow Repugs to lie and lie unchallenged. I also am furious with DLC Dems who won't take a real stand.

David Obey is not one of those guys.

Really, though, your distortions, misuse of statistics, and smear tactics are revealing all right--of your own method and character.

David Obey gave Tina Richards the answer she was looking for: it's a historical fact that political pressure on moderates ended the war in Vietnam. NOT the Church Amendment. She's swallowed the right-wing propoganda that defunding the military caused the war to be lost or undermined the troops. NEVER HAPPENED.

So why don't you and Richards go after the handful of Dems & Repubs that would give Obey the votes he needs to pass legislatiton? Obey already agrees with you.

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