Democrats get Mugged on the Floor of the House
By Mike Whitney
" -- -- It will be a while before they clear away the
carnage from the floor of the House of Representatives, but the
mighty birds are already circling overhead eyeballing the carrion
Last night, the Democratic Party, that rudderless,
ideologically-challenged coterie of losers and sycophants, killed
whatever chance they may have had of leading country out of the
Iraqi nightmare. In a grossly lopsided vote of 403 to 3 the
Democrats helped to defeat a bill that demanded the immediate
withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Their vote ignores the 63%
of Americans who want to see a speedy exit from Iraq and it
strengthens the Republican agenda of open-ended support for the
President. In the process, they further disgraced the one man who
towered above the wretched chatter of beltway politics and defended
the soldiers dying in the field, John Murtha.
Murtha has been the most hawkish of the Democrats, staunchly
supportive of the president and his war. Last week, however, he
surprised everyone by publicly denouncing Iraq as “a flawed policy
wrapped in an illusion” and calling for an immediate withdrawal.
Since then, Murtha, a decorated combat veteran, has been viciously
trashed by the Bush-Rove smear machine; another victim of the
ruinous “swift-boat” strategy.
Yesterday, on the floor of the House Rep. Jean Schmidt suggested
that Murtha, the recipient of two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star,
was a coward.
She reiterated the message she had received earlier in the day from
a Marine Colonel who told her to “send Congress a message; Cowards
cut and run. Marines never do”. Schmidt’s remarks caused pandemonium
in the chamber.
The battle lines are drawn between Democrats and Republicans and the
acrimony has never been greater. So, why did the Democrats retreat
from the bill and leave the impression that Murtha was left hanging
out to dry?
In fact, the Republicans cleverly changed the wording of the Murtha
bill by saying that all troop deployments should be “terminated
immediately”; substantially different from Murtha’s call for a
coordinated withdrawal leaving a rapid “reaction force” in the
region. As it turned out, even Murtha voted with the majority.
But, the wording was immaterial. The vote was mainly symbolic
anyway; we’re not leaving Iraq anytime soon. The Democrats had the
opportunity to be a credible opposition party and give Bush a bloody
nose in the process. Instead, they blew it. They slinked away from
the brawl and headed for the exits. They continue to ignore the mood
of the country and fail to capitalize on the vulnerabilities of
The American people aren’t in the mood for compromise and they don’t
give a hoot about perfectly written legislation. They are looking
for someone to stop Bush any way possible.
That’s it; just say No.
The nation is pouring blood and treasure into a bottomless sand-pit
with no prospect for success. In less than two years American
citizens will have to have “papers” (standardized Federal ID) just
to travel around the country. National Security Letters and “lone
wolf” provisions in the Patriot Act allow the FBI to search through
all of one’s personal belongings or records without judicial
approval. The administration has set up a National Security Service
(NSS) that provides Bush with his own KGB style secret police force,
independent of congressional oversight. And, the court has decided
that the president can indefinitely imprison American citizens
without charging them with a crime.
This is no time for the blundering Democrats to seek out a “nuanced
political position”. We’re looking for roadblocks, not policy.
The reality is there is no leadership in the Democratic Party. The
people at the top, Clinton, Biden, Dodd, Edwards and Kerry, are all
“go-along, get along” toadies who’ve caved in on every issue of
consequence. All of them have been staunch supporters of the war and
refuse to even whisper the word “withdrawal” fearing their powerful
constituents will throw them overboard.
There’s no chance the Democrats will lead us out of this quagmire;
they’re in it up to their axels. They may moan about “being misled”
by the president, but don’t take that as a condemnation of the war.
They’re already preening their rhetoric about a “victory strategy”
followed by the steady increase of American servicemen deployed to
the desert meat-grinder.
So, who cares if they take a drubbing on the House floor?
They are a party adrift; steadily sinking from the arrogance and
ideological vacuity of their leaders. It would be better for
everyone if they just packed their bags and went home.
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