As if it wasn’t enough for the \”Dimocrats\” (thank you, Earthside, for that timely gloss) to sell their voters out on Iraq, get a load of how they plan to mask their craven vote today through the magic of parlimentary rule making. Seems like they’ve been learning big time from the mechanisms of Tom DeLay when the Repubs were in charge..probably the only thing that they got from watching \”Bug Spray\” roll them over for so long.
Today is the day House Democrats are expected to vote on Iraq – except, news out of Washington this morning says the leadership has come up with a nifty little trick to try to prevent the public from seeing who voted for giving Bush a blank check, and who voted against it. If you thought Democrats were behaving like cowards by caving into a President at a three-decade low in presidential polling and giving him the very blank check they explicitly promised not to give him during the 2006 election, you ain’t seen nothing yet. We are watching the rise of the Dick Cheney Democrats – that is, the rise of Democrats who endorse governing in secret and hiding the public’s business from the public itself.
Here’s how it is expected to work today in a process only Dick Cheney could love (though you never know – it could change at the last minute). Every bill comes to the House floor with what is known as a “rule” that sets the terms of the debate over the legislation in question. House members first vote to approve this parliamentary rule, and then vote on the legislation. Today, however, Democrats are planning to essentially include the Iraq blank check bill IN the rule itself, by making sure the underlying bill the rule brings to the floor includes no timelines for withdrawal, and that the rule only allows amendments that fund the war with no restrictions – blank check amendments that House Democratic leaders know Republicans will have the votes to pass.
This means that when the public goes to look for the real vote on the Iraq supplemental bill, the public won’t find that. All we will find is a complex parliamentary procedure vote, which was the real vote. Democratic lawmakers, of course, will use the Memorial Day recess to tell their angry constituents they really are using all of their power to end the war, that they voted against the Republican blank check amendment which the rule deliberately propels, and that the vote on the rule – which was the real vote for war – wasn’t really the important vote, when, in fact, they know very well it is the biggest vote on the war since original 2002 authorization for the invasion. It is a devious, deliberately confusing cherry on top of the manure sundae being served up to the American public, which voted Democrats into office on the premise that they would use their congressional majority to end the war. To read more on these deliberately complex machinations, see Congressional Quarterly’s piece just out on the web.
All of this is happening at the time top Republican leaders are making ever more sociopathic statements at odds with mainstream public opinion. Today, as just one example, House Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (R-FL) cheered on the blank check, telling Roll Call that “You drop Murtha [troop readiness standards], you drop withdrawal, the troops win.” He doesn’t explain how popular proposals to better equip and train American soldiers for combat and force the Bush administration to come up with a plan for redeploying troops out of harms way means “troops win.”
Oh, and just so you think that this sort of behavior by the Dims only applies to Iraq (and soon to come, Iran), well Sirota bursts that bubble real quick.
If this secretive behavior seems familiar, it should. You may recall that in the past two weeks, the same Dimocratic leadership that is now trying to hide its votes on Iraq negotiated a secret free trade deal with the White House, steamrolling its other key Election 2006 pledge to stop lobbyist-written trade policy. The legislative texts of the trade pacts in question remain concealed from the public, though K Street lobbyists have told reporters they have received “assurances” that any of the much-touted provisions that purport to protect labor and the environment will be written to be unenforceable.
Oh, and did I forget to mention the betrayal on oil company price gouging, too?? See this CounterPunch article on that.
But, anyways…the Dim leadership already has a plan ready to face up to their pissed off constituents. Mostly, lie through their teeth and rant about \”it’s all Dubya’s fault\”:
Not surprisingly, Democrats are reacting to questions about why they are trying to secretly defy the will of the public and disrespecting their Election 2006 campaign in the same way they always do: Like wailing infants. Last week, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) took to PBS to lace into critics of the secret trade deal he negotiated, saying he should have “ignored” his own Democratic colleagues raising questions because they are “wasting my time.”
On the war, same thing. Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL), for instance, today criticized Moveon.org in Roll Call newspaper for asking Democrats to vote down the blank check proposal, saying “I would urge MoveOn and others to recognize that the person who is extending this war is George Bush.” This is the same Artur Davis who whined to reporters that it was “unfortunate” he was exposed for taking thousands of dollars of credit card industry cash in exchange for his support for the credit card-industry written Bankruptcy Bill in 2005.
Oh, how really touching for MoveOn.org to finally rise up in opposition. Now, if they hadn’t been so damn busy pimping the Dim establishment and torpedoing the likes of Woolsey, Waters and real progressive Democrats in offering a genuine antiwar bill that would have REAL:LY cut off funds to Dubya’s war, maybe it wouldn’t sound so farcical and hypocritial today…
But, then, Davis is trying to pull the same kind of rhetorical trick that so many other Democrats pull: Attempting to make us believe they are merely innocent bystanders, and that there isn’t that document known as the “Constitution” that gives Congress the power of the purse over George Bush. We’re all just supposed to be totally psyched that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) says she is unhappy that this is all happening, even though Pelosi is simultaneously using her power to schedule this vote, and set it up in a way so as to hide it from the public. She would have us believe that September will be “really the moment of truth for this war,” as Congressional Quarterly quotes her saying – as if it’s no big deal that more troops will die because she and her colleagues are willing to drag their feet from the comfortable guarded confines of the U.S. Capitol. We’re all just supposed to wildly applaud when Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) goes on national television to say that the bill they are pushing is “the beginning of the end of the president’s policy in Iraq” – we’re not supposed to know that he and his colleagues stripped out the timelines for withdrawal and even stripped out waivable troop readiness standards.
Sirota later goes on to pin his hopes on either 20 Dems voting with the Repubs — who would rather an open debate rule for baiting the \”cut-and-run party\” for \”abandoning our troops\” and for cutting out all the \”pork barrel\” spending (including the increase in the minimum wage — to kill this rule and start fresh (yeah, right); or, failing that, a filibuster in the Senate by the likes of Sanders, Feingold, Dodd, and Kerry. Boy, is he the eternal optimist, considering the record of the Senate Dims on holding on to principle (as displayed so explicitly in the Supreme Court nomination \”fights\” against Alito and Roberts). And besides, doesn’t he know that Joe Lieberman can still switch parties and give the GOP Senate control anyway??
This is your \”lesser evil\” party, folks. What ‘cha gonna do about it??