Buried in the hoopla over last night's Congressional passage of the war funding bill (with the proviso that troops must return home by the end of 2008), came this little comment:
The measure angered the Bush administration. "This is for political posturing and to appease radical groups," chiefly MoveOn.org and Code Pink, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said yesterday."Radical groups"?
Is it a radical movement when, alongside Moveon.org, and Code Pink, you have "Gold Star Families For Peace"? Is Pat Buchanan now wearing tie-dye and flashing the peace sign? Ron Paul? Senator James Webb and Paul Craig Roberts are clearly subversives living in Chuck Hagel's basement, mixing up the "medicine"...
And is MoveOn truly anti-war? Many think not, given that they have backed off earlier demands of immediate troop withdrawals.
The attempt by the Bush administration to paint this issue as a fringe whine is specious to the point of ridiculous. 61% of Americans agree with the timetable as laid out in the bill. That 61% includes 63% of Republicans, further, the number of self-identifying Republicans in this country has plummeted since the 2004 election, so it's a bigger chunk of a closer-knit core of believers. After all, these numbnuts buy into Mitt Romney as the most conservative of all the GOP presidential candidates. Mitt. Romney. Of Massachussetts.
If only we had a press corps unafraid of this administration to hold its feet to the fire and fire back at Perky Dana Perino, but if we had that in the first place, maybe this ill-conceived, poorly executed bad idea would never have occured in the first place.
You might recall that Democrats had been itching for Republicans to bring on a filibuster. Probably not going to happen, now:
Senate Republican leaders said they will allow a vote on the House bill, but only if they can offer their own version: a $70 billion package with no strings attached. As of late yesterday, no agreement had been reached between Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and his GOP counterpart, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.). Senate aides on both sides said that the debate is likely to continue into December, although Republicans are expected to stand aside eventually to give Bush a chance to veto the bill.You'll notice: $20 billion dollars more than the President requested and no strings attached. There's a bit of political theatre afoot, in that Bush can later criticize Democrats (should this bill pass) of overspending us into a deeper hole while getting more than enough money to fund the war for an additional month or so. Not very subtle. I'm surprised at McConnell, but maybe he's running out of tricks in the flea circus.
Given the likelihood of a veto, and that Reid doesn't have 60 votes to wrangle over a potential filibuster, what will happen? Will the war continue to be funded? Maybe not this time:
If Democrats hold together, they can simply refuse to approve any new funding for the war unless Bush and the Republicans agree to their terms. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid insists that that's how it's going to be this time, sort of: If Bush won't agree to funding tied to a timetable, Congress won't approve any new funding -- this year. But that doesn't mean that the war will end; it just means that the Pentagon will have to shuffle money from budget to budget until early next year, when the Democrats will surely cave once again lest they be accused -- and they'll be accused anyway -- of " pulling the rug out from under our troops."OK, it's small potatoes to defund the war for a month and make the Pentagon scramble a little to shuffle money around, but it's a bit more than a symbolic gesture, should Reid follow through with it.
It could be a calculated gamble to see if the anti-invasion sentiment of the 61% is as strong as the polls indicate it is, or if the American people are just tired of this nonsense and seek an easy way out. If by delaying funding for a month or so without actually pulling money away, the Republicans and their orc minions in the mainstream media can make the "Defeatocrats" label stick such that people switch positions away from ending the invasion, then Reid can capitulate, and deflect that charge with plenty of time left before the elections.
If, however, they fail, it may embolden Reid enough to take the bull by the horns and yank funding outright. Remember, he might not be able to survive a veto on positive change, but he sure as hell can make sure negative change doesn't get past his Senate.
Meanwhile, 100,000 plus American soldiers sit in harm's way waiting for someone to save them...