Funding the Iraq Debacle: What Dems Are Risking and Endorsing Doing Nothing

From CNN:

Thousands of anti-war demonstrators and supporters of the U.S. policy in Iraq shouted at each other Saturday from opposite sides of a street bordering the National Mall as protesters formed a march to the Pentagon to denounce a war entering its fifth year. . . . Speakers criticized the Bush administration at every turn but blamed congressional Democrats, too, for refusing to cut off money for the war. "This is a bipartisan war," New York City labor activist Michael Letwin told the crowd. "The Democratic party cannot be trusted to end it."

Harold Meyerson and his friends can criticize "idiot liberals" all they want, but we "idiot liberals" have our own eyes and our own minds. I think the idiots are those who think these sentiments are illegitimate and won't be growing.

Enough is enough with the patronizing members of the Left who demand we "clap louder" for the Dems. And yes Booman, that's what you just did. Freaking hilarious from a guy who is pushing impeachment.

Booman writes:

Armando keeps haranguing me and filling up my email box with posts about how the bloggers are endorsing doing nothing about the war.

So what does Booman endorse?

Here's my question. What do you want me do about it? Nancy Pelosi pushed for the strongest bill that she could get. It has no chance of being reconciled with anything that might pass the Senate. If the defense appropriations bill cannot be passed in a form acceptable to Armando, then he wants us to simply not pass a defense appropriations bill. Fine. We can lobby the Democrats to not pass a defense appropriations bill.

Not exactly Booman. But I'll take it. Was that so freaking hard to do? Could you flog this at least as much as you flogged your crack pipe dream of impeachment?

As Booman reminds, this is my mantra?

I ask for three things: First, announce NOW that the Democratic Congress will NOT fund the Iraq Debacle after a date certain. You pick the date. Whatever works politically. If October 2007 is the date Dems can agree to, then let it be then. If March 2008, then let that be the date; Second, spend the year reminding the President and the American People every day that Democrats will not fund the war past the date certain; Third, do NOT fund the Iraq Debacle PAST the date certain.

Some argue we will never have the votes for this. That McConnell will filibuster, that Bush will veto. To them I say I KNOW. But filbustering and vetoing does not fund the Iraq Debacle. Let me repeat, to end the war in Iraq, the Democratic Congress does not have to pass a single bill; they need only NOT pass bills that fund the Iraq Debacle.

But but but, defund the whole government? Defund the whole military? What if Bush does not pull out the troops? First, no, not defund the government, defund the Iraq Debacle. If the Republicans choose to shut down government in order to force the continuation of the Iraq Debacle, do not give in. Fight the political fight. We'll win. Second, defund the military? See answer to number one. Third, well, if you tell the American People what is coming for a year, and that Bush is on notice, that i t will be Bush abandoning the troops in Iraq, we can win that politcal battle too.

Understand this, if you want to end the Iraq Debacle, this is the only way until Bush is not President. If you are not for this for ending the war, tell me what you do support. I think this is the only way. And if you shy away from the only way to end the Debacle, then you really are not for ending the war are you?

Booman mistates what I say:

Armando is flailing around attacking people like Matt Stoller and David Sirota for 'doing nothing'.

No, I criticze them, not attack them, for ENDORSING doing nothing.

He has a plan, but the plan cannot be initiated.

Why can it not be inititiated Booman? And by the way, my plan requires passage of nothing. You simply do not understand what I wrote. I suggest you read it again. My plan is within the Dems' power. Your plan for impeachment does not.

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    silly me (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by profmarcus on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 04:10:45 PM EST
    the morning after the november elections, i felt like a huge burden had been lifted... yes, i knew there was still a tremendous amount of work to be done, that the constitution-shredding criminals were still hunkered down in the white house, and, heaven forbid, would probably continue to hunker until 20 january 2009... but i thought, foolishly i see now, that maybe we could actually let ourselves believe that there was a hint of a shadow of a ghost of a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel... it was only a matter of days that it began to sift in to my consciousness that the dems weren't going to do anything to deal with the terrible disease that is gripping our country... they had their vaunted "first 100 hours," putting forth admirable legislation on admittedly important things, but nothing related to what's REALLY important - getting us the hell out of iraq and the criminal cabal the hell out of the white house... my hopes are raised once again now, however, not because of the work of the dems, lord only knows, but because the bush administration seems bent on self-destruction... well, ok... so be it... i'll take it however i can get it...

    And, yes, I DO take it personally

    Speak up loudly (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 04:19:43 PM EST
    Don't let the Left blogs speak for you on this.

    They are failing badly.


    Here is my question (none / 0) (#9)
    by BooMan on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 04:36:24 PM EST
    Can Reid prevent 'reconciliation' on a defense appropriations bill even if he can hold 41 Senators behind your plan?  

    Serious question that I don't know the answer to.  If the GOP can initiate reconciliation, then he can't use the filibuster, even under a rosy scenario of having 41 Senators.

    Second question: how do you suppose that Reid can prevent a defense appropriations bill from passing out of Armed Services?  Lieberman sits on that committee.  

    Third question: if he can't get more than  48 votes for his resolution, how can he make a statement that speaks for the Senate?

    What would give his threat any credibility?

    Now, if you want to ask individual Senators to commit to your plan, I understand.

    But asking Reid?  It makes no sense until moods change in the Senate.  


    The bill doesn't just appear on the floor (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by andgarden on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 04:43:59 PM EST
    It first has to be reported out of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Robert Byrd could stop the bill single-handedly if he wants to.

    Yeah (none / 0) (#14)
    by BooMan on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 04:50:53 PM EST
    I had a brain fart there.  My comment below get the committee straight and responds to this idea that Byrd can stop the bill.  

    Also remember (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by andgarden on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 04:56:33 PM EST
    Byrd isn't the last stop on reconciliation express. We could even pressure Reid to not call up the bill if we wanted to.

    Inertia is the real enemy (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by buhdydharma on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 04:22:50 PM EST
    The Republicants have already succumbed.

    Can we save the Democrats?

    Not by being passive. That's why its called Activism!

    The two choices are to support the Dems who "get it" or rail against the ones who don't. To each according to his skills, but railing is more effective.

    Politicians are creatures of pressure.

    Ironically (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 04:32:23 PM EST
    Booman pushes for impeachment.

    Talk about a crack pipe dream.


    Bingo. n/t (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by andgarden on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 04:42:41 PM EST
    It won't end the war any sooner (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by buhdydharma on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 04:52:51 PM EST
    It is just a nice big stick to wave at both the Repubs AND the Dems right now.....but someone needs to be waving it. It is the next step in positioning if the Dems don't defund. And with the investigations heating up it MIGHT actually become the "safer" way to proceed.

    The Dems mistakenly and obviously don't feel there is enough 'evidence' to end the war....we'll see if there is enough evidence developing to push for impeachment. One thing is for sure, they need to be 'emboldened.' I hope that if they can get Bush on the ropes through investigation they will then find the huevos to defund. This little stalemate they are allowing only hurts them, as we all know.

    Plus it feels good to yell Impeach! I stopped waving the stick to give them a chance to step up.....no stepping so far.

    But impeachment and ending the war are two different things, for now.


    I don't know, I heard Elizabeth Holtzman speak (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by conchita on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 06:09:20 PM EST
    this week, and she sure doesn't sound like she's been smoking.  She sounded downright sane and impressive.  

    I went to read his entire post (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by andgarden on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 04:31:13 PM EST
    He seems to have very thin knowledge of how the budgeting process works. The idea that we need to kill is that it takes 60 votes in the Senate to pass a budget. That's not true, and people who keep repating that as fact have no credibility.

    He seems to lack (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 04:31:50 PM EST
    the ability to read imo.

    Here's a phrase to throw around (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by andgarden on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 04:41:53 PM EST
    He, along with the House Leadership, has become "Objectively Pro Bush."  (That'll really piss him off--and make him think).

    And he is off my e-mail list (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 04:33:34 PM EST
    as receiving an e-mail constitutes haranguing in his view.

    I am not pleased with his little attack on me.


    No keep him on your list. (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by joliberal on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 07:21:33 PM EST
    I know that the position you are in is frustrating, but please keep up the "haranguing" or whatever they want to call it. Eventually, you are bound to start getting through to them.

    I would like to learn a little more about the exact process involved in passing budgets. If anyone has any good links I would greatly appreciate it.


    the quality of the comments and the ad homs (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by conchita on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 06:11:21 PM EST
    were disappointing also.

    I think you have it backwards (none / 0) (#13)
    by BooMan on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 04:49:18 PM EST
    The reconciliation rule works against us in this case.  

    Here is how I see it.  Let's look at the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.

    Subcommittee Chair
    Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (DEM-HI)

    Ranking Member
    Ted Stevens (REP-AK)

    Democrats (10)
    Sen. Robert Byrd (DEM-WV)
    Sen. Patrick Leahy (DEM-VT)
    Sen. Tom Harkin (DEM-IA)
    Sen. Byron Dorgan (DEM-ND)
    Sen. Richard Durbin (DEM-IL)
    Sen. Dianne Feinstein (DEM-CA)
    Sen. Barbara Mikulski (DEM-MD)
    Sen. Herbert Kohl (DEM-WI)
    Sen. Patty Murray (DEM-WA)

    Republicans (9)
    Sen. Thad Cochran (REP-MS)
    Sen. Arlen Specter (REP-PA)
    Sen. Pete Domenici (REP-NM)
    Sen. Christopher Bond (REP-MO)
    Sen. Mitch McConnell (REP-KY)
    Sen. Richard Shelby (REP-AL)
    Sen. Judd Gregg (REP-NH)
    Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (REP-TX)

    They'd have to refuse to vote out a bill to the floor.  Can we keep all our members on board?  Can we pick off any of these Republicans?  

    Can Reid just refuse to schedule a vote on the Defense Appropriations bill?  

    If he does have to allow a vote, can he prevent reconciliation?

    If he can't prevent reconciliation, can he get 51 votes?

    Is he prepared to not fund the military at all?

    What's he going to do?  Pass a supplemental to pay people's salaries?  How's that going happen?  


    See my reply above (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by andgarden on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 04:53:49 PM EST
    Byrd is Chairman of the whole Committee, and can insist on pretty much any changes he wants. Given his voting history on Iraq, I have high hopes for him.

    Defund by subcommittee inaction (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by walt on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 06:51:57 PM EST
    I worded this almost identically yesterday.

    Perhaps . . . (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by walt on Fri Mar 16, 2007 at 10:01:17 PM EST

    I think the weakpoint here is that so few folks know the parliamentary procedure that they think every issue is the same as impeachment & requires 67 votes.  Even left blogistan websites have putzers discussing 60 & 61 votes.  But any bill also requires Bu$h xliii's signature--he'll just veto anything that cuts off his powers.  But NOT passing a bill is nothing he can affect.  He's screwed & the rethuglicans are double screwed by inaction.

    It only takes the 10 Democratic Senators on the Defense Appropriations subcommittee.  And yes, the committee can write bills that only buy beans or only buy ammunition or only buy fuel or only pay wages & they can even name the payee or contractor.  

    The rest of the government can & will run just fine without any reference to the Defense budget.


    Reconciliation (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Ben Masel on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 09:20:58 PM EST
    The Democratic members of the Conference Committee are appointed by the Speaker and Senate Majority Leader.

    Remember how REAL-ID was attached to the 2005 Defense Supplemental?


    no and yes (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by leoncarre on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 04:34:53 PM EST
    not only CAN the plan be initiated, NOW is the time to contact Congress... all this back and forth blog to blog stuff is not getting the job done.  

    contacting congress through congress.org, aligning with the out of iraq caucus, and getting that op ed in the news... that does...

    and i think the demonstrations do have effect as well.  

    from the tipping point on Vietnam (this week the anniversary of My Lai) to the end of the Vietnam war was Five Long Years...

    is that what the Dems are willing to do?

    we just don't have that kind of time to f**k around.  

    if now is not the time and the dem congress cannot or will not do it a "hard rain is gonna fall"... the democrats will inherit this war as theirs, along with the indistinguishable party line that this war is being waged for american security.

    this is bush's war.. this is the achievement of his presidency.  hundreds of billions of dollars down the toilet, hundreds of thousands dead, and a country destroyed.  FOR WHAT???  

    the people's mandate in november is to end it.  now.  any backtracking on the part of the dems is taking part ownership and part responsibility for the problem.

    the dems responsibility is to get the troops out, to build a program of reconstruction, to take care of the vets, to take care of the refugees, and to build foreign relations on the basis of negotiated peace not the legitmizing of pre-emptive war.

    Does the Booman think the Iraq War... (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by cal11 voter on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 04:52:09 PM EST
    will continue until after the '08 elections because the Dems have no power to end it?  If so, why doesn't he just say so, and then move on and discuss only the '08 elections?

    The Dems risk and de-facto endorse more of THIS (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Dadler on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 04:55:30 PM EST
    I'll post it again, straight from the documentary THE GROUND TRUTH.  It's a war chant that a wounded vet recounts learning in training, which should make everyone sick.  And this is word for word:

    Bomb the village, kill the people
    Throw some napalm in the square
    Do it on a Sunday Morning
    Kill them on their way to prayer
    Ring the bell inside the schoolhouse
    Watch those kiddies gather round
    Lock and load with your 240
    Mow those little motherf*kers down.

    So Dems, congratulate yourselves for your cowardice.  At this rate, we'll be making up a rhyme about your demise very soon.

    Hmmmm (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by roboleftalk on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 05:18:59 PM EST
    frustrating.  Is the left blogosphere illiterate or do they not want to understand?  The defund proposal is clear:  simply do not appropriate, make no bill, funding the war.  Am I missing something?

    BTW, I am for impeachment (as a principled matter) and defunding (as a practical matter), but not necessarily in that order.

    Look at what you are asking for.. (1.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Richard in Jax on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 07:28:42 PM EST
         ""The two choices are to support the Dems who "get it" or rail against the ones who don't. To each according to his skills, but railing is more effective.""

    No..what you are saying is rail against Democrats that do not share your very naive idea.  Railing against Democrats is for GOP'ers to do. Look at what you are saying.
    Has it ever dawned on you that the Democrats who live this stuff every day, who are privy
    to a raft of info not available to the public and who know what is on the back burner might, just might, have a better idea than yours? Also, if you can get out of your anti-Democrat "rail" you might see them in a bit of a difficult situation. This war is going to fail. That is a given. The Democrats would like to shorten the time to the end but not in a way that attaches that inevitable failure to them. The GOP shakers and bakers know well what a disaster looms in Iraq for them and must be ticked by sentiments like yours. If the
    Democrats 'defund' this war that and NOTHING ELSE will be cited by every media outlet,
    pundit and talking head as the reason for failure. As soon as that war is defunded the
    death OF EVERY SOLDIER from that point on will be blamed on the defunding and the defunders.

    As it is the Democrats are between a rock and a hard spot and your idea is little more than
    moving the rock closer to the hard spot.
    This war is 100 % the GOP's baby unless we buy it with a asinine defunding effort. This war is unpopular with the American people and they, not the Democrats must stop it. The role of the Democratic party is to continue to educate the American people into the folly that is the war in Iraq. It is to shine light on the fact that this war was never about WMD, Freedom here or in Iraq, Liberation or Terror. It is just Bush's "look at my big dick" war. Such a war should be terminated and American troops brought home.Withdrawal, the organized and fully supported move to lines out of the way of danger,well funded and authored by a Democratic party truly caring of the troops is the way to end this damn mess. I am sure the Democrats that you rail against see the  danger in "rooting for failure", and the likely heavy death of Troops in denying them the tools to fight for their lives even if their mission is a crock.

    Defunding does nothing to end the war it just transfers ownership of it to the Democrats.
    Do you think Bush will do the right thing if the money dries up? NO he will just let those kids die of ammunition shortages, armor deficiencies, logistics black outs and insufficient troop numbers.  But if this war ends via Democratic defunding efforts and the likely slaughter that will create,  God save the Democrats as no one on earth will be able to.

    Push for withdrawal not failure. The Americans want out not defeat.  Withdrawal is lily to be supported by a majority of the American people and your dumb ass `sabotage' approach will never be. End this war and end its creators with it.

    Concern Troll. (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by andgarden on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 08:46:50 PM EST
    Even uses republican frames.

    Improper use of quotes (none / 0) (#34)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 09:32:15 PM EST
    I rate you a one for that.

    Huh? (none / 0) (#21)
    by mattd on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 05:40:46 PM EST

    BTD says:

    Why can it not be inititiated Booman? And by the way, my plan requires passage of nothing. You simply do not understand what I wrote. I suggest you read it again. My plan is within the Dems' power.

    But on the page to which BTD points us, Booman said:

    Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid cannot just announce that they will not fund the Iraq War after a date certain and that they are prepared to shut down the government or abandon our troops in the field if they are not recalled by that date. To make such an announcement they would have to have the support of their houses of Congress. And they don't have that support. It does no good to blame them for that. It does no good to ask them to do something they cannot do.

    It's not Pelosi and Reid that have to be convinced, but individual members of Congress. There are people down at the Pentagon right now that are protesting against the war. There are people writing letters, and on their blogs, and talking to their friends. The people want this war over. But it is not going to end from a lack of funding this year. No announcement that it will end next year from a lack of funding is going to be forthcoming this spring.

    Anyone may agree or disagree with this, but there seems to be no question that Booman did explain why he believes it cannot be initiated.  Just as with his previous criticism of the netroots, BTD responds to all disagreement with the patronizing assertion that people should simply re-read what he wrote - and when that is pointed out as patronizing and non-responsive, he just shuts down and says that his proposals are "reasonable" and other people's are not.

    Here we are again - as a substantive response to the Booman Tribune post, BTD says Booman "didn't read what he said," and that BTD's proposal is a reasonable and attainable proposition while impeachment is a "crack pipe dream."

    It is difficult to engage in substantive debate on these hugely important ideas when the first response of the front-page poster is always that people didn't read what he said, and the second response is that they're not "reasonable," while BTD is always reasonable by self-definition.

    Don't get me wrong - I want the debate, I think everyone should be having the debate.  I think insulting those who disagree with you as an ongoing strategy is just an attempt to use the power of the front page to bully those who choose a different route - within the party and the progressive community.

    True or False: (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by andgarden on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 05:43:28 PM EST
    Defunding and clawed benchmarks are easier than removal from office?

    I don't know. (none / 0) (#25)
    by mattd on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 06:49:15 PM EST
    Having actually remembered and lived through the 1990s, it seems amazing that there haven't been impeachment proceedings already.  After all, Republicans showed us how low the bar should be - and then they all went on a 6-year vacation.

    I don't know that even this Democratic-led Congress has the political will to do anything, even easy things, much less hard things.  I don't know what's easier.  I don't know that they'll do anything no matter how hard we press, and if they do, as I said in another comment, I have no faith the Bush administration will obey the laws requiring them to act or not act in specific ways.  The President has made abundantly clear that he believes there are no limits on his constitutional power to wage war.

    I want the debate because someone may figure it out this way.  I certainly have no answers.  I just think that insulting those who disagree with you as "not reading" and "unreasonable" isn't going to get anyone anywhere.


    It's actually a question with a numerical answer (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by andgarden on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 06:54:13 PM EST
    The fact that you don't know shows that you aren't really qualified for any kind of debate on the subject.

    defunding does not require agreement in the house (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by joliberal on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 07:50:28 PM EST
    It just requires that the Out of Iraq caucus refuse to pass any bill that continues funding with no date for withdrawal. Dems need 218 votes to pass the budget, which they won't have if the 60 or so members of the caucus hold fast and refuse. These generally liberal members are the people who need to hear that there is support in the netroots for a sincere attempt to end the war before 2009.  

    Unless Republicans back the bill (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Ben Masel on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 09:32:00 PM EST
    They may decide that funding with benchmarks they can later ignore or try to revisit is better than no funding.

    They could... (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by joliberal on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 09:40:17 PM EST
    but I doubt that enough republicans would vote for it to overcome the numbers of a united caucus.

    I dunno (none / 0) (#37)
    by Ben Masel on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 10:42:57 PM EST
    Besides the 13(?) who backed the non-binding, there's gotta be more like Ryan willing to give the war "one more chance." Which is basically what the current draft of the supplemental does.

    Um (none / 0) (#36)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Mar 17, 2007 at 09:42:03 PM EST
    If you think that is responsive to what I wrote, then you didn't understand what I wrote.

    Sorry if that is pedantic sophistry in your mind, but it simply is not responsive to what I wrote.