Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Democrats Blink First?

Apparently, standing up to a President with record low approval ratings on the issue of a war that is failing and increasingly unpopular is harder than it sounds. That's what the latest actions by the Democratic leadership would have me believe, anyway. Here's the buzz that one AP reporter is hearing-
In grudging concessions to President Bush, Democrats intend to draft an Iraq war-funding bill without a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and shorn of at least some of the billions they want for domestic programs, officials said...

Aka- the Democrats give up everything, and the President concedes nothing. Great! More-
The legislation would include the first federal minimum wage increase in more than a decade, a top priority for the Democrats who took control of Congress in January, the officials added.

That raising the minimum wage-- which hasn't been done in over 10 years despite inflation and monstrously increased cost-of-living expenses-- has to be snuck into this monstrosity instead of a stand-alone bill tells you everything about what Republican leaders have done to suppress even the most basic Democratic proposals.

While details remain subject to change, the measure is designed to close the books by Friday on a bruising struggle between Bush and the Democratic-controlled Congress over the war. It would provide funds for military operations in Iraq through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.

Democrats in both houses are expected to seek other opportunities later this year to challenge Bush's handling of the unpopular conflict...

Ahh yes, the fabled September in which we are to believe that Republicans will 'revolt' (as we've been hearing every six months for a year or so now they will do) and then the President will actually yield to congressional concern on the war. Keep dreaming, folks. President Bush is all in through January 2009. Not even the hand of God can change that. And the Republicans in Congress certainly aren't going to do a 180 either.

But back to the Democrats' bill, I'd add that many of the party leaders are opposing this.

And while I understand that Democrats are between a rock and hard place here, this is nonsense. What President Bush asked for at the beginning of all of this was a blank check to continue the war without any accountability, exit strategy, etc. It now appears more likely than not that he will get it.

Fears of a veto do not excuse this. Democrats passed a perfectly good bill at the beginning of this month. They should just keeping sending that to the President and leaving the funding ball in his court.

President Bush wants to run out the clock at the expense of many people's lives and our national integrity. Democrats shouldn't allow that just because fighting a lame-duck Decider is politically exhausting. If they can't manage this, they're in the wrong line of work.


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