As you may have read, the US Senate passed major legislation intended to deal with the hot-button immigration question in the US. Drawing support from both sides of the aisle, the new laws, which will be signed by an agreeable President into law, are proof that no matter who we send to Washington, with cooperation and compromise, imperfect but sensible agrreements can be reached.
While this was going on, the US House of Representatives addressed the question of "emergency" funding for the continuing conflict (it has never been declared a war by Congress) in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Few people will disagree with the statement that the "sweep" of Congress by the Democrats was driven by the nation's disaffection with the prosecution of the "war" in Iraq. No-bid contracts wasting billions, poor planning, no exit strategy, not even a clear goal or definition of Victory were issues that loomed large.
When the President years ago declared his reelection filled his bank with political capital that he "intends to spend", he began singlemindedly on his mission to expand his reach and push his agenda.
The American People didn't agree, and made it clear that he needed to be reigned in.
We took that political capital from the President - who wallows in historically low approval numbers - and transferred it to Congress. We gave THEM a blank check to use in order to reign in an administration that anybody left of Rush Limbaugh viewed as out of control.
So what did they do with it? What did they do with the POWER they were given by the people to CONFRONT this ONE SINGLE ISSUE?
They found compromise on immigration, they brought home some bacon to wounded vets, they began to shift some of our spending priorities. They brought global warming and stem cell research funding to the front and concocted legislation that would force the President to show his real mean self.
But there was that war thing to deal with.
They proffered a bill that attached timelines to withdrawal of troops. The FIRST initiative since 2003 that actually reached for the tiller to try and change "course".
Naturally, it was promptly vetoed.
At that point, a craven political choice must be made.
Rhetoric and spin come from the right wing and White House attaching unpleasant baggage to the legislation. Neocon nutjobs are blaming the Dems in Congress for "denying our troops" material support. The poor soldiers will go hungry and run out of bullets to fight evildoers BECAUSE OF THOSE COWARDLY DEMOCRATS!
Naturally, a group of men and women whose single overarching mandate was to bring sanity to the asylum is not cowed, right?
They know the American people aren't such simpletons that they'd believe that spin, right?
They know that they are THERE to BRING OUR TROOPS HOME, right?
They were elected almost singly for the VERY PURPOSE of placing timelines and progress points. They were mandated to implement the Iraq Study Group's points more than they were put there for ANY OTHER PURPOSE, right?
So, the President vetoes war funding with timelines. Here's an opportunity to make a grand symbloic gesture, to place blame for the bankrupting catastrophe where it belongs. No time for Vichy-Quisling collaboration, right?
NOW IS THE TIME TO MAKE A STAND!, right?
What does this bold, political-capital-rich congress do?
It chickens out.
It's high noon in Dodge City. Sherrif Congress and the outlaw Bush stare eachother down in the street, it's showtime.
The president reaches! His gun jams, Sherrif Congress has him dead to rights!
What do they do?
"Oh sorry for your bad luck, George old Chap, here, take my pistol, it's brand new and well oiled. You can shoot me with it, it surely won't jam."
Absolutely unforgivable display of cowardice. My wingnut friends are right. The Dems have nothing to offer either. They are utterly spineless and proved it with the procedural vote that hid their votes on the actual bill, and even moreso with the bill itself.
I don't want to hear about bipartisanship and dealmaking and next time we'll really get em.
And those of you who know me know I'm not a liberal nutjob. I know that immediate withdrawal of our military from Iraq would be a disaster of monumental proportions. I have always simply asked for accountability for the failures that have occurred. The Republican Congress failed to check the President. Now the Democratic congress has too.
They failed spectacularly. They should all resign.
As a corollary, I'd like to point out to my good friends Ren and Tom Clegg that with the dramatic loss of confidence our local leaders like John Hall will confront, I bet they reach for the high profile cherries as a make-good. By this, I mean I suspect he will work overtime to close Indian Point. He's going to have a lot of disappointed people in the 19th. I can't think of what else he could do to make them happy. NYRI is a done deal as far as I can see. The other issues are big <yawns> so, there's one big one left.
Let's see what happens.
Also, I noted in the paper yesterday that Paul Newman has "endorsed" Indian Point. You guys could have made a lot of hay with that one if you hadn't ridiculed entertainers for political involvement for so long. Now talking about that would just be hypocritical!
Have a safe and thoughful Memorial Day weekend everyone. I'll be skipping the fundraiser I was considering attending.