Folding Chair Party

It wasn’t really a difficult guess. I said, here, that the Democrats’ proposed timeline for withdrawal from Iraq, which put the end date at August, 2008, indicated that they weren’t really opposed to the war because they didn’t like the war or thought it was hopelessly lost, but actually liked the war — for the political benefits they think it brings them.

    Instead, they are wasting their breath on stuff that won’t do squat — which tells me that, while they might not like the war, they never were serious about actually doing anything about it in the first place.

    Besides, they’d much rather have the war as an issue in the 2008 elections!

And here:

    The answer is ridiculously simple: the Democrats don’t like the war, but they do like the idea of having it as an issue going into the 2008 elections. And because the legislation contains loopholes, President Bush could extend the “deadline,” (which you know the Democrats hope he will do) until right up until the election.

Well, after two appropriations with limitations President Bush would not accept were vetoed, it appears that the Democrats are going to give Mr Bush the money he wants, with some added porcine spending to bring in a few recalcitrant members; they got a fig-leaf of respectability for their base with a minimum wage increase built in (a major campaign promise, but one that really doesn’t mean anything, since the economy is already well ahead of the minimum wage).

    Bush lends support for Iraq war spending bill
    Presidential contenders now face critical votes on war funds

    WASHINGTON – (AP) –President Bush said he supports a $120 billion Iraq war spending bill on track to to pass Congress Thursday, ending weeks of wrangling with congressional Democrats on how long U.S. troops should stay.

    The bill funds the war through September as Bush wanted and does not set a date for troop withdrawals. In exchange for dropping restrictions on the military, Bush agreed to some $17 billion in spending added by Democrats to fund domestic and military-related projects.

    “By voting for this bill, members of both parties can show our troops and the Iraqis and the enemy that our country will support our service men and women in harm’s way,” Bush said in a Rose Garden news conference.

    The bill includes the nearly $100 billion that President Bush requested for military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as billions in domestic spending, including $6.4 billion in hurricane relief and $3 billion in agricultural assistance.

    Republicans were unhappy about the added domestic spending, but said they were relieved the final measure did not attempt to set a timetable on the war.

    “We cannot and will not abandon the Iraqis to be butchered by these terrorists in their midst,” said Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif. “And we cannot and will not abandon our mission just as real progress is starting to be made.”

    While the measure does not include a timetable on the war, it does threaten to withhold U.S. aid dollars for Iraq if Baghdad fails to make progress on political and security reforms. The president, however, could waive that restriction.

Of course, the President has already said that it would be difficult for the Iraqis to meet the benchmarks set — which means that he has set the table for waiving the restrictions.

Our friends on the left are having a hard time with this, as you’d expect: Andre of the Constitution Club simply said Ugh. Blu thought that Andre was referring to the House Democratic leadership by the slang term for female genetalia. Georgia at The Lost Kos is very upset:

    Like the good folks over at MyDD and throughout the blogs, I’m stunned that any Democrat would seriously consider voting in favor of a Republican bill.

    Democrats just don’t get it.

    When I say “Democrats,” I exclude the growing number of Democrats who are calling for defunding or redeployment, such as Senators Kerry, Dodd, Feingold, etc. and the Out of Iraq Caucus in the House. I refer to the Democrats who voted against the McGovern bill, against Reid-Feingold, and those who intend to vote for the Capitulation Bill.

Kos himself was, shall we say, disappointed:

    I’ve never been under any illusion that this war would end before the next Democratic president took charge. But when a party wins control of Congress on ending the war, I thought they would at least work to make that happen.

    That way, they’d show the American people that hey — these guys will really fight for what they were elected to do!

    And that’s why today is so disappointing. Congressional Democrats made a promise to force change in Iraq. Had they done their job, Bush would’ve found a way around it — signing statements, ignoring them, spurring a drawn-out Constitutional crisis, whatever.

    But at least people would have a clear distinction between the Bush party, and those trying to clean up the mess.

    But today, that trust of the voters was betrayed. Democrats proved that they won’t fight for what is right, nor will they fight to keep the promises they made the electorate.

    They proved that they are as weak, as unprincipled, and as ineffective as Republicans and the media have claimed they are. They reinforced myriad negative talking points, and gave voters a new reason to distrust them.

    But hey, they didn’t “relish” being criticized by Mr. 28%. Thank heavens that will now be avoided!

And far-left Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) lamented it as well, also writing on The Lost Kos:

    This situation is a collapse for Democrats. We had a strong start, pushed back against the President’s failed policy and held our ground that the supplemental should include binding language to end the war. But now, as Congress gets ready to send the President a bill that does nothing to get our troops out of Iraq, we are just folding our cards.

Don Surber used Mr Feingold’s lament to write:

    (The Democratic) party should be called the Outdoor Chair Party because it folds so easily.

:) That’s got to be the best line of the day! [Hat tip to Sister Toldjah!]

Some of our friends on the left have simply left the issue alone; as of this writing, neither The Liberal Avenger nor Pandagon has a post on it. I’m speculating here, but they might be just too plain disgusted for words.

The Democrats are caught in a logical conundrum here. If they believe that the war is lost, just flat lost, they ought not vote even a single penny to continue it; such would be throwing away more American lives and treasure, for no good purpose. And if they don’t believe that the war is lost, then they ought to get the Hell out of the way and support the Commander-in-Chief, and try to help win it.

21 Comments

  1. One point I failed to mention, though it’s been on my mind: if the Democrats forced us out of Iraq by the end of the current fiscal year, and there was a major terrorist attack in the United States, the Republicans would hang that on them, as the result of their “cut and run” policies. The Democrats know this, and are terrified by the prospect.

  2. Kennedy was sweatin’ bullets all day acting like he was the majority leader and Harry was no where to be seen. I guess the Dems thought they better get something done (they thought they could brag about) before they got home this weekend to catch the ration from their constituents.

    The trade-off was a pathetic and rushed immigration bill that will need to be refined/revamped……..better than nothing? Who knows.

    Now (at least) GW can tell General Petraeus the political games the left has been playing with the lives of his troops (and 30 million Iraqi) is over for a bit. Now the General has the summer to win the war/peace, ’cause it will be up to the Iraqi’s to carry their own ball after that.

    Three cheers for the sane portion of the democratic party that finally came to their senses, well most of them. Hillary voted not to support the troops and that may be a defining (Kerry) moment for her ambitions. MOVE-ON THAT!

    linked and excerpted

  3. Eh. As someone else on another blog pointed out, the point at which the Democrats in Congress lost this argument was when Bush spun his decision to defund the troops as somehow their fault – his belief that unless he was allowed perpetual war in Iraq (at least, war to the very end of his Presidency) he was entitled to veto bills funding the troops. This reckless disregard for the welfare of the troops in Iraq is nothing new for him or for his administration, and should have been the subject of every Democratic Representative speaking about the bill. Bush started a war, can’t win it, doesn’t want to be told he has to end it, and is prepared to risk the welfare of US soldiers if anyone tries to tell him he cannot play war games with live soldiers forever.

    Of course the Democrats are at the disadvantage with the mass media so strongly slanted to support the conservative/Republican POV, but they should not have so tamely accepted the Republican spin that any damage Bush did to the troops by vetoing heir funding was somehow not his fault.

  4. Of course the Democrats are at the disadvantage with the mass media so strongly slanted to support the conservative/Republican POV, but they should not have so tamely accepted the Republican spin that any damage Bush did to the troops by vetoing heir funding was somehow not his fault.

    Want some cheeze to go with your whine?

  5. J’s funniest comment ever:

    Of course the Democrats are at the disadvantage with the mass media so strongly slanted to support the conservative/Republican POV,

    Let’s see, most of the major dailies supported John Kerry, ABC News is actively undercutting President Bush’s policies, CBS News went so far as to fabricate a story based on forged documents to try and unseat the president in 2004, and, when that didn’t work, tried to sit on a story critical of the administration until the Sunday before the 2004 election, and our good friend Jesurgislac thinks that our “mass media (are) strongly slanted to support the conservative/Republican POV.” :)

    Whatever she’s smokin’, it’s some powerful stuff!

  6. Of course the Democrats are at the disadvantage with the mass media so strongly slanted to support the conservative/Republican POV

    As Jack said, COMEDY GOLD!

    I wrote about this at my blog, as well, and commended Speaker Pelosi for letting the bill go to the floor even without the support of a majority of Democrats. That’s more than Speaker Hastert did, and, in my opinion, shows leadership (i.e., she is the Speaker of the Entire House, not just the Democrats).

    You are correct that Democrats could do nothing but give the President a bill he would sign. They didn’t have the votes to override a veto, and, considering this president has vetoed few bills, they would look rabid and ridiculous to hold up funding for the troops over this issue. The final point is that, of course, the president is the commander-in-chief and it isn’t Congress’ role to try to usurp that.

  7. If the Dems were oh so serious about getting out of Iraq, they would not have even brought the Bill up for consideration. Doing NOTHING would have been more effective than any timeline. Or they should have passed a Bill financing the pullout immediately. Well, since neither happened, the Dems are happy with what is going on. Or, they are keeping the status quo.

  8. Eh. As someone else on another blog pointed out, the point at which the Democrats in Congress lost this argument was when Bush spun his decision to defund the troops as somehow their fault

    It is not just J who frames the argument as “defunding the troops” others do it, Republicans too. It seems to me to be a self serving way to put things. It is as if the war funding is cut off that ‘da troops will suddenly run out of bullets. They won’t have gas money to get home. We will have 100,000 plus people hitching a ride home on tramp steamers.

    Do any reasonable people think we will really just leave? Do reasonable people think that ‘da American people voted to just leave last November?

    Are we not taking politics just a little too seriously? Will even a Democratic Congress with a Democratic President just leave?
    Dana said…

    One point I failed to mention, though it’s been on my mind: if the Democrats forced us out of Iraq by the end of the current fiscal year, and there was a major terrorist attack in the United States, the Republicans would hang that on them, as the result of their “cut and run” policies. The Democrats know this, and are terrified by the prospect.

    There is politics and there is reality! The baby and the bath water, eh?

  9. pgw: Do any reasonable people think we will really just leave?

    Do any reasonable people think the US can just stay in Iraq indefinitely? Bush does – but then, his “indefinitely” expires January 2009, after which I daresay he thinks he need not even pretend to care what happens. It’s not even clear, given his attempt to foment a new war with Iran, if he understands how badly things are going in Iraq: I doubt if anyone has spelled out to him (he’s never come across as someone who welcomes bad news) that that it’s possible the US military may have to withdraw before his Presidency comes to an end, or else he will be known not only as the President who took the US into a war of aggression and lost the war, but as the President who lost the US army.

    We can’t say how bad things will be in Iraq when a new President enters the White House in January 2009. Nor how much more Iraq will have cost the US, both in dollars and in the more expensive coin of American lives. But one thing is certain: to save the US military from destruction, the next President will have to evacuate the occupation from Iraq fast. Presumably, Republicans are hoping that this evacuation can be blamed on the Democrats.

    It’s ironic that Dana should refer to the Congress that gave in to Bush’s blackmail as the “folding chair” party, when the Republican Party has behaved like the doormat party: at least the Democrats have made some attempt to stand up to Bush, while the Republicans lay down flat and provided a soft floor covering for him to scrape his feet on.

  10. A surrender monkey is a surrender monkey. The Dhimmicrats gave in on the funding just like they gave in to the terrorists. Too bad it took the President so long to find this out.

  11. Sharon wrote:

    You are correct that Democrats could do nothing but give the President a bill he would sign.

    No, not at all; they could have given him no bill at all — in which case the President would have to withdraw the troops by September 30, 2007, when the appropriations for FY2007 expired.

    This is what a lot of our friends on the (far) left wanted to see, but it wasn’t the kind of challenge the Democrats had the stomach for.

    As NK pointed out, a cheese-eating surrender monkey has experience in giving up; it should be no surprise that people who advocate surrender would themselves surrender when faced with a more powerful will.

  12. Do any reasonable people think the US can just stay in Iraq indefinitely?

    False dichotomy. Of course there are a host of options between an immediate departure and “indefinitely”, aren’t there?

  13. Pingback: Iowa Voice » » The Folding Chair Party

  14. Of course the Democrats are at the disadvantage with the mass media so strongly slanted to support the conservative/Republican POV, but they should not have so tamely accepted the Republican spin that any damage Bush did to the troops by vetoing heir funding was somehow not his fault. Jes

    Posting from Bedlam?

  15. But one thing is certain: to save the US military from destruction, the next President will have to evacuate the occupation from Iraq fast. Presumably, Republicans are hoping that this evacuation can be blamed on the Democrats.

    No, presumably, Republicans are hoping that the “evacuation” won’t occur until we can leave behind a reasonably stable government in Iraq. Otherwise, we’ll be returning to finish the job later, after the “killing fields”, when it’s even tougher.

  16. Of course there are a host of options between an immediate departure and “indefinitely”, aren’t there?

    There are, yes. But as Bush will only allow the troops to be voted funding if the war continues indefinitely, no other options permitted, Republicans who continue to support Bush are stuck supporting an indefinite war.

    Republicans are hoping that the “evacuation” won’t occur until we can leave behind a reasonably stable government in Iraq.

    Then Republicans should have insisted that the Bush administration try to set up a reasonably stable government in Iraq in 2003, and when it was clear that the Bush administration either could not or would not do so, should have selected someone else to be President in 2004.

    There is now no way in which the US military occupation can create a stable government in Iraq. The chances were thin to start with, but the Bush administration wasted them all years ago.

  17. Jesurgislac wrote:

    Of course there are a host of options between an immediate departure and “indefinitely”, aren’t there? (Harry)

    There are, yes. But as Bush will only allow the troops to be voted funding if the war continues indefinitely, no other options permitted, Republicans who continue to support Bush are stuck supporting an indefinite war.

    Indefinitely? George Bush has one year and eight months left in office; he cannot be re-elected. In one year and five months, we are going to elect someone to replace him as President. That person may (or may not) have a different policy when it comes to the war in Iraq.

  18. Dana: Indefinitely? George Bush has one year and eight months left in office; he cannot be re-elected. In one year and five months, we are going to elect someone to replace him as President. That person may (or may not) have a different policy when it comes to the war in Iraq.

    Is this an admission from you that the only reason you can see that Bush wants to prolong the war in Iraq is so that he can get to the end of his term without publicly admitting that he lost the war?

  19. There is now no way in which the US military occupation can create a stable government in Iraq. The chances were thin to start with, but the Bush administration wasted them all years ago.

    So you say …

    Is this an admission from you that the only reason you can see that Bush wants to prolong the war in Iraq is so that he can get to the end of his term without publicly admitting that he lost the war?

    Bush may very well be stubborn about whether we have “lost” or not but to assert that he wishes to prolong the war is not within your knowledge set. I suspect that he still believes, as I do, that the war is not lost and therefore, with a change of military strategy and leaders, worth continuing while there is a chance that we and the democratically elected Iraqi government can prevail. Certainly Gen Petraeus seems to agree with that assessment or he would simply have retired and avoided the potential for failure and its personal and professional risks.

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