Sticks, Stones and Chicken Bones
The game of “Chicken” being played by the Congress and the White House just got a lot more interesting. With passage of the war supplemental by the Senate last week, the next move looked to be the President’s. Bush declared that he would veto any bill Congress sent to his desk that included a timetable for withdrawal of our troops from Iraq, and without the votes necessary to override a Presidential veto, it looked as if the Democrats would be forced to provide funding for the war with no stipulations. That may still be the case, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid upped the ante today by announcing that if the President vetoes the supplemental, he will cosponsor legislation with Senator Russ Feingold that seeks to cut off the funding for the continued occupation of Iraq. Way to go Harry, I didn’t think you had it in you. The only way to win this game is to commit, and floor it! Make President Bush choke on the chicken bone the way he did on that pretzel.
In an op-ed in Salon today, Senator Feingold compares the Feingold-Reid bill to one passed by the Senate in 1993 that cut off funding for military operations in Somalia. The White House and Congressional Republicans can continue to spew their faux patriotic crap about “supporting the troops” but with a real debate on ending the war that is put front and center by the Democratic Leadership, comes the possibility of solid and vocal support from the public. That the Republicans are engaging in the most hypocritical of arguments for allowing the Bush administration to continue on its disastrous course when they cut off funding for the troops in Somalia is to be expected, but exposing and harping on that hypocrisy can only be good for efforts to end the occupation. Nothing will convince the 20 percenters that Bush’s policies are NOT in fact ordained by God, but the other 80% can be made to shout, “Enough is enough already!”
The question has never been, will the public support cutting off funding for Bush’s failed Iraq policy, but instead has been, will the Democrats find the stones to do it? There is no one in the Senate with more credibility on Iraq than Senator Russ Feingold and I’m encouraged that leadership has finally decided to support his efforts (I suspect it was the carrot on the stick to secure Feingold’s support for the supplemental in the first place). I don’t know if Harry Reid’s skills are as honed as Nancy Pelosi’s when it comes to whipping the support necessary to get a bill passed, but I’m certainly looking forward to finding out.