House Iraq Vote Pushed
It’s down to the wire, with debate between Dems on "boil," at a fever
pitch, pick your cliché. Every single
anti war Democrat in the House should stand with Speaker Pelosi and her team.
If you want to end the Iraq war it’s the only decision to make.
The House was expected to begin debate Thursday on a similar $124 billion
spending bill that would finance the wars. The bill, which Bush also threatened
to veto, would require that combat troops be out of Iraq before September
2008, possibly sooner if the Iraqi government does not meet certain benchmarks.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., continued Wednesday to press party
members to back the bill, unsure whether she had enough votes to pass it.
In a closed-door meeting, former President Carter’s national security adviser,
Zbigniew Brzezinski, tried to convince party skeptics that
the bill was their best chance at ending the war.
Pelosi had initially planned for a final vote Thursday but pushed
then it off until Friday, a tactic that gives her more time to ensure she
has the 218 votes to pass it. … ..
offers a bit more, including that Reps. Lynne Woolsey, Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters,
Dennis Kucinich, John Lewis won’t budge.
* These key liberals, for their part, have stopped reaching out to the Dem
leadership, too — infuriating people in favor of passing the legislation
who insist that a deal would have been possible with a little more flexibility
on their part. Sources complain that none of these liberals — who say the
bill lacks a real mechanism for forcing withdrawal — is willing to reach
out to the leadership because none wants to look prepared to compromise with
"None of them wants to be the one making a deal with `the man,’"
one source says ruefully. "None of them wants to be outflanked on the
left. None of them wants to be `outprincipled’ — being seen as the one who
is willing to compromise."
With due respect to them all, I think every Democrat opposed to the Iraq war
should sign on to the bill. I want this war to end as much as anyone, but we
simply are falling short from making it happen in one vote. This isn’t exactly
news. The House bill is as good as we can get right now and that comes from
a source who knows how far everyone can be pushed and it’s not any further.
Pelosi and her team are working as hard as they can. More than 15 no votes and
it’s a win for Bush and the worst of the DC Democrats. It’s time for the anti
war Democrats committed to ending the war immediately to put their feelings
aside. It’s not about their conscience, but about moving another step closer to ending the war. As for the Blue Dog Dems, every one of them should get
a primary challenge from a progressive.
Note to self: The 50 state strategy and competing
in conservative districts comes at a cost right now. This House bill is part of the payment.
No one likes compromising on big, important matters like war and peace, but we can and must do it, especially if
it will serve a larger goal that’s more important than our own personal beliefs. This
is one of those times. This bill is one step closer to ending the Iraq war. The alternative to passing this bill is unacceptable.
But I’m not going to kid you either. The end won’t come until a new president
is inaugurated in 2009, providing the country elects the right Democrat and progressives stay strong and play hardball on the way.
“As an organizer I start from where the world is, as it is,
not as I would like it to be,” wrote Saul Alinsky, one of the 20th Century’s
most successful progressive leaders. “That we accept the world as it
is does not in any sense weaken our desire to change it into what we believe
it should be – it is necessary to begin where the world is if we are going
to change it to what we think it should be. That means working in the system.”
memo to the Progressive Caucus on the eve of the Iraq vote, by David Sirota
(please read the whole piece)
David Sirota has it right.
But Democrats aren’t the only ones under pressure. Reality bites.
The bigger problem for the administration is making sure it receives a spending bill from Congress that Bush feels he can sign — and to get it in a timely manner. The Pentagon is desperate for the additional funds in the bill — about $100 billion for the efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan — and Democrats are hoping that fact may provide them the leverage to begin forcing changes in administration policy.
“Ultimately, we need to get the president the money,” said Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), a member of the House Appropriations Committee. “It’s going to be a problem very shortly.” … ..