On Filibusters

If Republican Senators approve of the Bush Administration Iraq policy, then their continuing filibuster of all attempts by the Democrats in the Senate to change course in Iraq is legititmate.

Legitimate does not mean right. Indeed, it is spectacularly wrong. And Republicans need to defend their support of Bush's Iraq Debacle.

What is NOT legitimate is to talk as if you do not approve of Bush's Iraq policy and then block all attempts to actually change that policy. Harold Meyerson calls out the Republican "eminences" and hacks who are doing precisely that:

Anyone searching for the highest forms of invertebrate life need look no further than the floor of the U.S. Senate last week and this. These spineless specimens go by various names -- Republican moderates; respected senior Republicans; Dick Lugar, John Warner, Pete Domenici, George Voinovich. [I would add Susan Collins, Norm Coleman and a score of others.] They have seen the folly of our course in Iraq. The mission, they understand, cannot be accomplished. The Iraqi government, they discern, is hopelessly sectarian. In wisdom, they are paragons. In action, they are nullities.

They are worse than nullities. They are frauds. Say what you will about Joe Lieberman, he is defending his votes with his words. More.

I think it is important to restate this point - the Senate rules provide that it takes 60 votes to invoke cloture. It is a rule I urged Democrats to rely upon to block the nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. It is a rule Democrats DID rely upon to block many Bush judicial nominations.

If the Senate decides to scrap the cloture rule in the next Congress, I won't cry, but for now, the rule is in place. And using it is not illegitimate, so long as what you are blocking is inconsistent with what you say you believe.

The Republican Caucus in the Senate almost unanimously supports Bush's Iraq Debacle, as they have now for more than four years. Until they are ready to act to change that policy, the John Warners and Dick Lugars of the world can spare us all their disingenuous blather about how they disagree with Bush.

The main job of a Senator or Congressperson is to vote on bills. It is not to be a pundit.

< Late Night Music to Keep the Senators Awake | Senate Vote: 52 to 47, Levin/Reed Defeated >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Well, as you've said before (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 08:42:55 AM EST
    the Senate is not going to be the body to end the debacle. Nevertheless, I'm happy that Reid and Schumer were able to show the "moderates" for what they are. The cots were on the front page of both the newspapers I read this morning.

    You are anticipating (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 08:55:17 AM EST
    my next them - the House must uphold what IT believes - that the Debacle must end.

    And it can do that by announcing a date certain when it will no longer fund the Debacle.

    If it does not do that, or something like that, how will it be different than Warner and Co.?


    We have to lean (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by andgarden on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 09:00:15 AM EST
    on our own moderates. Not funding cannot be prenegotiated.

    Oh The Hand Wringing! (1.00 / 3) (#5)
    by talex on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 10:52:33 AM EST
    Let's get realistic here.

    To begin with no one expected one Repub to step up and say anything negative about Iraq in July. Most including myself expected nothing until September. So what we have got from them stepping up now is accelerated positive press 24/7 on ending the war in a bipartisan manner. That type of press not only clarifies who it is holding up a change of course but it also puts pressure on all the Repubs. That is an unexpected gift at this time and we should be thankful for that regardless of their votes.

    Next as I have said more that a few times we will not get their votes until we craft bipartisan bills. It's that simple. They must have some ownership in the process. With their surprise 'coming out of the closet' we had no time to sit down and talk and compromise and craft such bills. We had our plan for July mapped out months ago complete with bills to be presented and full coordination with both chambers. That is the plan we had and that is the plan we went forward with as we should have. No one, and I repeat no one, including the Dems in DC ever expected any of our bills to pass in July. They were simply statements being made. They were all a part of a long term process leading to September.

    Now when a handful of Repubs did come out the Dems were astute enough to take advantage of that and are using it to leverage our message. They are also using it to put additional pressure on the Repubs. That along with the 24/7 press is also a gift. July has turned out to be much more fruitful than anyone could have imagined.

    Armando - as for your crazy idea of defunding I am still waiting for you to explain how you can accomplish it without hanging the troops out to dry. Again if the House were to pass a bill specifically to withdraw it would never make it through the Senate. You know that. And if the House just does not fund the war any further then there is no money to sustain the troops past September and there is no money to bring them home.

    Now if you have away around those two things - you have never explained them. And if you don't have a way around those things how can you sit here day after day and call for a plan to end the war - when it can't end the war without putting our troops in jeopardy? You say you support the troops but yet you don't 'account' for how you will get them home. How is that supporting the troops?

    You know Iraq is completely off-budget. You know every penny comes from supplementals. You know that law forbids ample monies to be transfered between DOD accounts for good reasons.

    So please explain where the money will come from to sustain the troops while they are there for the 6+ months it would take for them to redeploy and then where the money will come from to actually bring them home. Where?

    Because if you can't explain that then you are not only supporting a plan of choice that no other responsible person is - you are supporting a plan that just won't work. And if you are 'knowingly' supporting a plan that just won't work then you are not really supporting the troops are you?

    Do you want to support the troops? Then support a plan that can actually bring them home instead of a pipe dream.

    Where the money will come from? That's the question. Can you answer that?


    You do know that (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 10:54:48 AM EST
    I will not respond to you on substance.

    Meteor Blades pegged you and I can not improve on his characterization.

    You have 3 comments left today.


    let my properly re-quote your last comment (1.00 / 1) (#14)
    by talex on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 12:48:25 PM EST
    "I cannot respond to you on substance."

    And you can't. And neither can anyone else on this site. If anyone could they would. sure everyone can say it can be done - they just can't explain how. That means it's vapor. but hey if you want to support the troops while not supporting the troops at least you know what it is you are not doing.

    Armando - re: Meteor Blades. Why am I not surprised you admire name callers?

    Dadler - I wish your brother well. But you too do not explain where the money will come from. if you are so informed by your brother why don't you explain where the money will come from? If you have full knowledge it shouldn't be that hard to do. But then of course if you are blowing smoke like so often happens on this defunding fallacy you wouldn't be the first. I'll await your simple answer to where the money will come from. It should be interesting because you know Jim Webb who, as a former Secretary of The Navy and someone who has a son in Iraq, who certainly knows more about these things than you and your brother said there was no other money to fund the troops other than the supplementals.

    Militarytracy - Well said:

    defunding lies will cost other human beings

    So do you know where the money will come from to bring your hubby home if we defunded? If so tell me because so far on this subject you have never offered that information. Or are you relying solely on what other people have told you? And if so and that information is not true then your quote above could be very prophetic if they had their way.

    So come on Tracy you keep calling me a liar - prove it. You know if someone showed me how defunding could really work I might just buy into it. But so far here no one has.

    Now I know that congress upon the ending of the war can appropriate money to bring them home and that that Bush would have to sign that bill to release the money. But that would first take Bush agreeing to end the war. We are not there yet are we. So, again, if we send him a bill to end the war he will not sign it because he does not want to end it. And if we just quit sending him bills altogether, which is what you are suggesting, then the money stops. At that point either Bush gives in and signs a bill to provide money for their return - or - we go back to the same funding fight we had in May. Which he would win because as of right now the public does not want to play chicken with your hubby there. Do you?


    2 comments left for today (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 12:51:40 PM EST
    What's all this talk of more money? (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by scarshapedstar on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 10:16:30 PM EST
    How many billions do they have on hand now? How many is Bush authorized to release?

    Bush is holding a gun to our soldiers' heads and you're telling us that we'd better give him everything he wants or their blood will be on our hands? You've lost it.


    IMHO (none / 0) (#13)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 11:39:14 AM EST
    If talex keeps doing this obvious lying and trolling he should be banned. How many times is this now?

    4 comments a day (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 12:53:08 PM EST
    I can live with.

    Besides it gives you a chance to post that valuable information.


    Well, there is that I suppose (none / 0) (#17)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 01:13:23 PM EST
    Along with the fact that talex only does this because he supports an Iraq debacle without end, as he admitted here.

    He is, in my opinion, a democrat in name only, if even that. More likely a neocon and republican mole intent on hijacking the Democratic Party now.

    Since they have destroyed the GOP the Democratic Party is the only fertile ground left to use in the hope of retaining power.

    Tens of thousand of dead and maimed American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians are nothing to them except a perceived ticket to power.

    Human lives have no value to talex and people like him. People like Dadler's brother are nothing to him.


    Please, please, please adopt BTD's philosophy (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by oculus on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 02:50:51 PM EST
    re responding to this poster!

    talex, (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 11:06:36 AM EST
    every question you asked above has been answered repeatedly for you by multiple people here at TalkLeft, and elsewhere.

    You repeatedly ignore those answers and try to pretend you never saw them.

    You are a liar and a troll. Intentional on both counts.


    My brother thanks you (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by Dadler on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 11:14:29 AM EST
    He's about to serve his third tour.  Defunding won't leave him hanging out to dry, even he knows that, and childish, ignorant, safely protected liars and cowards like you do nothing but act as everyone else's sh*t stinks but yours smells of fresh lilac.

    The notion that funding occurs on a minute by minute basis, that the course of defunding war AND FULLY FUNDING WITHDRAWL will mean something worse than what we have, is both a wretched falsehood and a pathologically unimaginative piece of brain death.

    Thank you for spread the kind of disinformation that makes it more likely my brother will get killed.

    Thank you so much.

    I'll make sure to let him know.


    Excellent post about what spreading (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 11:35:42 AM EST
    defunding lies will cost other human beings.

    What TALEX repeatedly ignores... (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 11:20:11 AM EST
    Defunding Iraq: Misperceptions, Disinformation And Lies
    The TROOPS are funded by regular appropriations. DOD budget. Emergency supplemental funding has nothing to do with "funding the troops".
    Defunding the occupation of Iraq and withdrawing or redeploying the troops does not hurt the troops. It helps them to stay alive.
    Emergency supplemental funding is only for the occupation. When Bush says differently, or when the Democratic Leadership says differently, or when a troll here says differently.... it is a lie.

    The "war" has been funded with emergency supplemental funding for years. There is plenty of money for withdrawing in regular budget without the emergency supplemental the Democrats recently passed.

    War And Occupation Funding: More Cooking The Books By Bush And Pentagon?
    "Since 9/11, Congress has passed at least one emergency bill to cover war costs, making supplemental spending the method of choice for the majority of funding for operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the war on terror," Alexander added. "Of the $510 billion spent thus far, $331.8 billion (about 65 percent) has come from supplemental spending legislation. If the so-called "bridge fund" included in the fiscal year 2007 appropriations bill is included, the total rises to $401.8 billion. That means nearly 80 percent of all funding for these wars was the result of emergency and supplemental spending, not regular budgetary means.

    More of what talex repeatedly ignores (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 11:30:48 AM EST
    There will also be even more funds available for withdrawal than just regular budget.

    In his post The Perfect vs. The Useless back in March BTD summarized his defunding proposal with, in part, this explanation:

    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.
    What this does is set a hard date certain by which the withdrawal is complete (e.g. March 2008) AND INCLUDES a commitment by Congress to fund, presumably with the LAST supplemental, up to that date and not beyond, while AT THE SAME TIME telling Bush he has until that date to complete withdrawal. Thus handing the ball to him, and putting the responsibility for the safety of the troops on him.

    How anyone can fail to comprehend how it works is beyond me, except intentionally, as talex does.

    His post in March continues with:

    Some argue we will never have the votes for this. That McConnell will filibuster, that Bush will veto [THE LAST SUPPLEMENTAL]. To them I say I KNOW. But filibustering 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 it will be Bush abandoning the troops in Iraq, we can win that politcal battle too.

    John Freelund's tactic is the perfect one to use to win the political battle:

    Pin Bush and Gates Down

    "Are you Mr. President, and Mr. Secretary, prepared to leave troops in Iraq without adequate supplies?"

    Watch them squirm, watch them dance. They will not be able to say "yes." This is what the media and the Democrats should have been asking, over and over again, to frame this debate properly.

    It is a simple, direct and effective plan, understandable by anyone. It requires only the Democratic will to do it.

    They have the power to do it.


    AND (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 11:34:04 AM EST
    REGULAR DOD BUDGET is much higher than normal now, since the last supplemental passed in the spring:
    "Since 9/11, Congress has passed at least one emergency bill to cover war costs, making supplemental spending the method of choice for the majority of funding for operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the war on terror," Alexander added. "Of the $510 billion spent thus far, $331.8 billion (about 65 percent) has come from supplemental spending legislation. If the so-called "bridge fund" included in the fiscal year 2007 appropriations bill is included, the total rises to $401.8 billion. That means nearly 80 percent of all funding for these wars was the result of emergency and supplemental spending, not regular budgetary means."

    The total funds requested by the Defense Department for emergency spending is $163.4 billion, including $70 billion already provided as part of DOD's regular fiscal year appropriations plus a new supplemental request of $93.4 billion.

    "If enacted, DOD's funding would increase by 40 percent above the previous year and would more than double from the FY2004 funding level," the Congressional Research Service (CRS) report says.


    dance cinderella dance (none / 0) (#26)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 19, 2007 at 12:38:40 PM EST
    And parse away.

    Failing to pass funding is defunding. Be it a date certain or a certain date.

    If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, quacks like a duck.... It's a duck!!!!


    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by scarshapedstar on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 10:12:47 PM EST
    To begin with no one expected one Repub to step up and say anything negative about Iraq in July.

    Wait, I thought "everyone knows you don't roll out new product in August." July is verboten, too? Sheesh.


    Exactly. How ::will:: it be different? (none / 0) (#4)
    by Edger on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 09:03:21 AM EST
    The point is to threaten the democrats support enough to force them to stop funding and end the occupation.

    Otherwise it doesn't matter whether the democrats or the republicans win next year - we end up with the same situation - two complicit parties giving the whole country the finger.

    And make no mistake, either the democrats or the republicans will win next year. Not a third party.

    If the occupation is not ended before the elections next year we'll end up with a "rethug" administration again if a republican administration is elected, and we'll end up with a "rethug" administration if a democrat administration is elected.

    It is a fantasy to think there will be a difference between them if the occupation of Iraq is still in progress then.


    Leaving the internet for the day (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 01:46:17 PM EST
    before I say something elsewhere that isn' "thoughtful".  See you guys tomorrow.

    Gotta love this (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by Alien Abductee on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 03:45:07 PM EST
    top headline that was on Google News World section a moment ago (at least on the .ca version): Republican Hypocrite Caucus Keeps George Bush's War Going. Now if only the rest of the headline writers could set it out that clearly...

    Not On My Google (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 03:52:08 PM EST
    Nothing close to that to be found where I sit. Nice that it happened if for only a moment.

    I switched to (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Alien Abductee on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 04:07:29 PM EST
    the U.S. version immediately to see if it was there too - no. Top story on it there was from VOA (eye roll).

    Norm Coleman's spinelessness (none / 0) (#20)
    by chemoelectric on Wed Jul 18, 2007 at 03:10:33 PM EST
    Norm Coleman is spineless, but only because he is an empty exoskeleton; where the spine would be there is air.