Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Second Chance For The Democrats

The recent weak-kneed Democrats buckled to Bush's veto, and agreed to substantially give up any opposition to funding the war, for reasons that are not particularly clear to me. I might be missing some polling data, or perhaps there's some behind-the-scenes arm twisting (photos of Harry Reid in drag?), but nonetheless, the Dems failed us.

Bush, in his signature hubris, has opened a second door, and this might be the last chance liberals around the nation have to get the Iraq funding linked to a time table:
CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - President George W. Bush blasted Democrats on Saturday for bloated annual federal spending bills and threatened to use his veto liberally, despite failing to carry out similar threats in the past.

Democrats who now control the Senate and the House of Representatives are crafting a dozen bills for more than $900 billion in government spending to fund items ranging from the space program and education to foreign aid and defense.

"I will use my veto to stop tax increases and runaway spending that threaten the strength of our economy and the prosperity of our people," Bush said in his weekly radio address. He was spending the weekend at his Texas ranch.
Now, I could focus on the inanity of calling an additional $20 billion above Bush's own budget proposal of $933 billion "bloating the budget." After all, it's barey a two percent increase, not even an inflation adjustment. Or I could rant about Bush's own inability to keep the Republican congresses of the past six years in check and never calling them on it. Or I could mock his terming our economy "strong" and saying our people are prosperous, when mortgage foreclosures and bankruptcies are at all time highs, and wages have been stagnant (or worse) his entire presidency.

But I'm a positive kind of guy, and here I think we have a chance to help our Democratic brethren see the light of salvation, to take Jesus in their hearts and SHUT THIS WAR DOWN!

Currently, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are funded off budget. didn't know that? You would if you were a regular reader of Simply Left Behind since its inception.

Turns out that, unless there's a formal declaration of war, it's considered emergency spending, and so doesn't have to be accounted for in the run up to passing a budget (meaning you can add at least half a trillion to the budget bill for an accurate picture of our government's financial strength).

We need to find a Congresscritter with the guts to stand up on the floor and introduce into the funding bill a measure finally recognizing the costs of war, so that a figure is presented to the American people that accurately (or at least, ballparks for them) reflects what's coming out of our pockets and out of the budgets of thousands of more vital programs. Why is e. coli suddenly showing up in our food? Blame Iraq for sucking the FDA budget dry. Or melamine in our toothpaste? Blame Iraq for sucking our FTC budget dry. Why are people still having trouble getting disaster relief in New Orleans? Blame Iraq for sucking FEMA, the SBA, and myriad social service agencies, public and private, dry. Why are governors screaming about the lack of National Guard troops for domestic disasters? That's a no-brainer.

By introducing Iraq as a budget item, the Democrats have a chance to do two things: 1) Slap that silly grin off Bush's mug, and make him look abjectly silly for whining about $20 billion dollars and 2) force Bush to come up with a whole lot of 'splanations about why this is necessary and how it's affecting the rest of this country and gee, why are we still there, hemoragging our Cold War surplus and more?

I urge you all to contact your Congresspeople and Senators. This is an issue and an opportunity that even the bluest of districts can help contribute to.