The Candidates On Iraq and Ending The Debacle
Move On had its virtual town hall meeting last night. John Edwards won the Big Tent Dem sweepstakes, with the caveat that he still has not endorsed Reid-Feingold. How did the others do? Let's take a look. Here's my description of part of Hillary's answer:
There are two ways of thinking about this, what to do when Bush is President and what to do when a new President is in office. For the present, Hillary discusses her own bill, a bill that places conditions and benchmarks on funding, among other things. As for what is going on now, Hillary said this Congress was elected to end the war and bring the troops home. However, to do this Republican support is necessary. . . .
I stop here because this is the wrong answer. Democrats can end the war without Republican support. What is required is the courage to announce a date certain when DEMOCRATS will no longer fund the Iraq Debacle. Hillary is not for ending the war because she has placed an impossible condition on ending the war, garnering sufficient Republican support. That will not happen. There is one way to end the war while Bush is President -- do NOT fund it after a date certain. The Reid-Feingold bill need not pass in order to end the war. Democrats need only abide by its provisions.
Chris Dodd on how to stop the war while Bush is President:
I am a supporter of Feingold-Reid
Chris Dodd has my endorsement at this time.
I opposed the war in Iraq. . . . The occupation has to end . . .
How? Senator Obama, how? With Bush as President, how?:
Since January I have put forward a specific plan [discusses his "plan"]. . .
Bush ain't doing it. Now what?
I realize Bush will veto and I believe we eed to ratchet up the pressure . . .
How? Senator Obama, how?
Obama is asked if he will commit to only voting for Iraq funding with a timeline:
I am committed to putting as much pressure as possible on the President in a responsible fashion. I am committed to finding the 67 votes to override the veto and to shorten the funding periods to three or four month intervals. I will be working diligently with the leadership . . .
(Emphasis supplied.) No endorsement of Reid-Feingold. Not surprisingly, I find this answer to be inadequate. Better than before, but still not what needs to be said imo.
Joe Biden, how can we end the war?
After we pull out troops then what? [Biden touts the Biden-Gelb partition plan.]
Biden is not at all focused on the real world battle to end the Debacle but on his "then what" question. For me that is the wrong answer.
If I was President, I would withdraw from Iraq today. I would have no residual force whatsoever. [Discusses diplomatic initiatives and post withdrawal plans.]
Richardson is not in Congress but his endorsement of Reid-Feingold would be very significant.
Richardson is asked "It appears that stopping the funding for the war is the only way to stop the war. Are you for or against stopping the funding and why?" My paraphrase of his answer and my description:
Richardson rightly says it is the Congress' Constitutional right of Congress to start a war and stop a war. I am for a timetable for withdrawal and a cutoff of appropriations. I would go further. I would deauthorize the war based on the War Powers Act. I believe this is the most important step.
I like this answer but believe it is not correct. As I have written, deauthorization is the messier proposition and waiting on the Supreme Court to solve the problem is not realistic. But Richardson supports not funding the Debacle. No direct word on Reid-Feingold.
Dennis Kucinich has been a consistent and staunch supporter of not funding the war. On this issue, Kucinich is virtually impeccable.
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