On Iraq Funding: A Moment For Obama To Lead

Senator Barack Obama has run a campaign criticizing what he calls the Politics of the Moment all the while campaigning for his moments. Well, if this is true, an Obama Moment can emerge:

Despite their rhetoric about not wanting to hand President Bush another "blank check" for the Iraq War, Democrats appear poised to give him exactly that -- enough cash to keep the war going full steam for as long as six months, no strings attached. . . .Democrats are quietly preparing to give the president enough spending flexibility to keep the war going anyway. . . . Democrats began approving billions in extra funding, starting with the first stopgap spending resolution [I have no idea what Roll Call is talking about here. I kow of no additional funding measrues that have been passed since the Iraq Supplelemental that was passed prior to Petraeus's testimony. Frankly, I think Roll Call is wrong.] Next up will be the regular Defense spending bill, expected to go to conference committee Tuesday. Although the bill is not expected to include funding specifically targeted to Iraq, Democrats plan to allow much of the funding to be diverted from regular Defense accounts to the war. . . .

(Emphasis supplied.) The House can not pass such funding without the Senate. Senator Obama, just say no. Put a hold on such a bill. Lead a filibuster against it. This is your moment. Prove you are more than just pretty words.

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    great (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by taylormattd on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 03:14:49 PM EST
    post. Here's to hoping he does.

    Obama moment? (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 04:16:53 PM EST
    Don't hold your breath waiting for a 'moment'. Obama has had other opportunities to show leadership and has been a pandering coward every time.
    But maybe there's someone else in the Senate with some scruples.

    The stopgap spending bill (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Maryb2004 on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 05:27:47 PM EST
    was passed at the end of September.  Only Feingold voted against it.  It backdoored money for Iraq.  

    Credit where due (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Maryb2004 on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 06:22:57 PM EST
    I now remember it was Edger who I heard it from back in September.  

    You should pay more attention to Edger and you'd know these things too :)


    Heh. (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Edger on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 06:30:44 PM EST
    I often get it second hand... from Armando. :-)

    The Democrats are not opposed to the Iraq war (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by robrecht on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 10:40:22 PM EST
    $9B through the backdoor.  What about the additional $127.5 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the 2008 defense appropriation bill on October 1st, how many Democratic Senators voted against that?  Two:  Byrd and Feingold.  Clinton, Dodd, and Obama abstained, just like their friend, Joe Biden.

    News Flash: The Democrats are not opposed to the Iraq war.


    Bingo..... (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by kdog on Tue Nov 06, 2007 at 08:03:42 AM EST
    Obama's no fool....you can't win without a wink and nod from the military industrial complex and their various lobbies.  He can't afford to piss 'em off by ending their opportunity to loot the treasury.

    The Democrats support the occupation in actions and denounce it in words.  Support them and you support occupation.


    That was an authorization (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Nov 06, 2007 at 07:37:49 AM EST
    Not an appropriation.

    True (5.00 / 0) (#25)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 06, 2007 at 08:15:48 AM EST
    But it gave Bush $9 Billion, and access to at least $70 Billion.

    Not sure why that matters (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Maryb2004 on Tue Nov 06, 2007 at 10:15:49 AM EST
    since the end result, as Edger says, was more money.

    But in any event your editorial note said you didn't know what stopgap resolution the author was talking about.   That was it.


    Authorization do not give money (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Nov 06, 2007 at 10:18:06 AM EST
    Only appropriations.

    Sorry, the APPROPRIATION is what I want to know about.

    No one has yet told me what appropriation is being referred to.


    I think that Roll Call (5.00 / 0) (#28)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 06, 2007 at 10:25:23 AM EST
    maybe used the term "appropriation" rather loosely...

    Then I guess (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Maryb2004 on Tue Nov 06, 2007 at 10:27:28 AM EST
    Roll Call, The Nation and Senator Feingold got it wrong and shouldn't be worried that any additional funds were diverted to Iraq because those funds couldn't possibly exist since they didn't come through an appropriation but came throught the back door from an authorization.  

    What did Senator Feingold say? (none / 0) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Nov 06, 2007 at 11:40:20 AM EST
    The Nation and Roll Call getting it wrong is not something that would surprise me.

    well, you could click the link (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Maryb2004 on Tue Nov 06, 2007 at 11:52:36 AM EST
    in my original comment.

    Feingold voted against the stop gap resolution and said:

    Said Feingold, "I am disappointed that we are about to begin the 2008 fiscal year without having enacted any of the appropriations bills for that year. I am even more disappointed that we voted on a continuing resolution that provides tens of billions of dollars to continue the misguided war in Iraq but does not include any language to bring that war to a close. We need to keep the federal government operating and make sure our brave troops get all the equipment and supplies they need, but we should not be giving the President a blank check to continue a war that is hurting our national security."

    (emphasis mine)


    Wrong how? (1.00 / 0) (#31)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 06, 2007 at 11:51:33 AM EST
    aside from it not being called an appropriation bill, is the money (79 billion) not available for Bush to use?

    Some good news on the funding front (1.00 / 0) (#33)
    by Edger on Wed Nov 07, 2007 at 06:34:13 PM EST
    In a closed session on Tuesday, a Congressional appropriations conference committee approved $471 billion in defense spending for 2008, a 9.5 percent increase over last year. Although a separate bill allocating war funds will probably follow soon, Democrats succeeded in keeping money specifically for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan out of this general defense appropriations bill.

    Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) raised an amendment in conference to add a $70 billion "bridge fund" for the "war on terror" to the bill, but the proposal was defeated with a vote along party lines, according to Jesse Jacobs, press secretary for Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia).

    "There is no new money for Iraq and Afghanistan," Jacobs said in an interview. "They will have to draw from what is already there."

    The exclusion of the bridge fund marks a small victory for some antiwar Democrats, who say cutting off or redirecting funding is key to initiating a troop withdrawal.
    Until that legislation passes, Congress will fund the war through other mechanisms. A last-minute provision attached to Tuesday's defense bill, called a "continuing resolution," calls for all government departments to be funded at a steady rate until their respective appropriations bills pass. The resolution, which would expire December 14, would extend current levels of funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Just Cancel The Damn Card! (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by john horse on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 05:56:58 PM EST
    Why do Democrats keep funding this war?

    Congress doesn't need the president's assent to end the war; the president needs Congress's assent to continue the war. It's quite simple, really: Imagine that your wallet has been stolen. You call your credit-card company. You ask them to cancel your card. They inform you the thief has been on a spending spree: fighter jets and helicopters and armored vehicles and guided missiles and M-16s and flak vests and combat helmets and plastic explosives and hand grenades and . . . Enough! you shout into the phone. Just cancel the damn card!
    Sy Safransky, The Sun

    Right.... (1.00 / 2) (#2)
    by jarober on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 03:41:16 PM EST
    With the death toll - for both civilians and military - dropping in Iraq, do you really expect this to happen?  If you want to see "political suicide", this would be it.

    Not Surprisingly (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by squeaky on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 03:55:32 PM EST
    THe dropping death directly correspondes to areas where the US military has left. No soldiers=no deaths.  

    Withdrawing all our troops will reduce the number of troop casualties to zero.


    Withdrawing all our troops will (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Edger on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 03:57:57 PM EST
    reduce the number of troop casualties to zero, and leave wingnut concern trolls with no advice to give.

    Weird (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by squeaky on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 04:05:33 PM EST
    That they hate Muslims but when it serves their purpose they cry about Muslim civilian deaths.

    Has something to do with (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by Edger on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 04:18:04 PM EST
    "The only good Muslim is a dead Muslim", or something along some other upside down inside out backwards thinking type lines, maybe?

    Hmmmm... - since Iraqis have no use for being occupied then we'd damn well better stay right there and keep shootin' 'em til they realize what's good for 'em?


    BTD propagandizes again (1.00 / 3) (#17)
    by wormdirt on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 08:09:17 PM EST
    I think BTD must be a Clinton operative. His Talk Left posts are either pro Clinton or anti some Clinton rival.  The site would be better if it promulgated fact, rather than fiction.

    Actually (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 08:13:48 PM EST
    BTD has endorsed Chris Dodd.

    leadership (1.00 / 0) (#19)
    by diogenes on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 09:48:58 PM EST
    Maybe Obama thinks that stopping the war in this way (filibuster of funds) is a bad idea, in which case he is leading by not pandering to the likes of BTD.    

    Step-It Up (none / 0) (#8)
    by RedHead on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 05:06:10 PM EST
    Clinton fell 7 points in CNN's new national poll.  

    The people who tout these national polls say they're important because of the so called national primary after NH and IA.

    At this rate, Clinton's numbers will shrink to 23% by the national primary, which would knock her out of the race.

    You guys better step-up the attacks on Obama.

    attacks? (none / 0) (#9)
    by Carolyn in Baltimore on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 05:24:08 PM EST
    I had hopes for Obama - but he is not a leader. I won't speak for others here but while I will support the eventual nominee, I'm not a big Hillary fan. On the leadership front: Kucinich and Dodd are leading but with no chance. Gore is a huge leader but not in the race. Of the 3 contenders, I prefer Edwards.

    Taking on one side and not the other.. (none / 0) (#11)
    by RedHead on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 05:51:23 PM EST
    Denouncing Obama for failing to lead is valid.  

    But it's selective criticism when you fail to call Clinton to account.  


    Did Obama kick your dog, BTD? (none / 0) (#13)
    by BlueLakeMichigan on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 05:57:16 PM EST
    It's one thing to hate on someone for not voting on a critical political issue, sure, but it's a whole other issue to turn that into a narrative of diatribes against that individual and their campaign, when another campaign, which you SAY you do not support, votes in a non-progressive fashion on that same issue and garners what amounts to a slap on the hand. Your disproportionate criticism, when you say you're not even affiliated with the HRC campaign, is appalling to be kind.

    Clarification (none / 0) (#14)
    by BlueLakeMichigan on Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 05:59:10 PM EST
    The issue I was talking about was the IRGC vote, which I posit is why you, BTD, are being so incredibly incensed at Obama. (Although, again, why you haven't been even MORE angry with the one Democratic candidate to vote FOR the IRGC = terrorist bill, one probably will never know)

    more than a few moments are needed to be (none / 0) (#22)
    by seabos84 on Tue Nov 06, 2007 at 07:28:02 AM EST
    qualified as a leader in my book.

    I think barak should check with those ivy beltway village idiots to see which way the wind is blowing before he does anything risky

    remember, if we do anything the fascists will lie, then we'll scare the middle, then we'll lose.