Standing Up

Anyone living within a reasonable distance of southeast Virginia may have heard a heavy thudding sound.  That would be the sound of my jaw hitting the floor, and if it disturbed you, I apologize.

At first glance, I wasn’t impressed.  I had read a couple times through the day that a few Democrats in the House were planning on passing a surtax onto the American people in order to pay for the Iraq war.

Ooh, I thought.  A tax that will get vetoed and still see the continuance of this ridiculous war, however could we get so lucky?  Maybe I can have a pony next, but someone will go and take it to the glue factory before I get to enjoy it.  Glorious joy!

But there’s more, and here comes the money quote:

Obey and Murtha also said that they would not move an Iraq supplemental funding bill, needed to pay for combat operations in 2008, unless a “goal” of having all U.S. combat troops out of the country by January 2009, troop deployment times are shortened, and President Bush demonstrates that will engage in “an intensive, broad scale diplomatic offensive involving other countries in the region.”

Obey signaled that he will not move the Iraq supplemental bill, estimated at $190 billion, this year, and will dig in and refuse to budge when the bill comes up for debate in early 2008.

“As chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I have no intention of reporting out of our committee anytime in this session of Congress” any war funding that “simply serves to continue the status quo,” Obey said.

In other words, unless I’m completely and totally misunderstanding this, Obey has essentially declared that he intends to personally close the purse strings on this war by not letting any bill that maintains the status quo out of committee.

Bloody brilliant.

Though, don’t worry, I’ve been sweet talked before, and while I enjoyed approximately 48 seconds of glee, the old skeptic returned.  Now, a full three minutes after reading this, I find myself already back to “I’ll believe it when I see it” mode.

In truth, I hope both tactics work.  The congressmen make a solid and powerful point that has been among much of the grumblings on the left for some time, and I remember touching on it in my final 9/11 rememberance.  The terrorist attacks of September 11th have left us with indellible wounds, and the Iraq War will undoubtedly be remembered as the conflict of a generation.  And through it all, we as a nation have not been asked to sacrifice.

We’ve been told to go to Disneyland, and to keep buying American.  That, along with the ceding of our sacred civil liberties, has been the sole thing asked of us.  What have you been asked to give?  What great contribution have you been asked personally to make during this epoch of American History.  For the members of the military and their families, you have been asked a great deal, for everyone else, you’ve been asked to be little more than a spectator that dutifully hits the snack bar between innings.

Further, we know that waging war and lowering taxes at the same time is virtually unprecedented throughout human history, and yet here we are, the President slashing taxes, particularly for the wealthy and the corporate, while taking the money used to fund his war of adventure and applying it directly to the National Debt.

And on closing the purse strings.  I’ve been skeptical about it.  I truly believe that if push came to shove and the funding were yanked right out from under Bush, he would keep troops over there regardless.  But you know something, Bush has lasted six and a half years as President without having his mettle tested against a hostile Congress.  I think it’s about time.

For now, all we can hope for is that when this gets ugly, they keep standing up.

5 Responses to “Standing Up”

  1. Laura says:

    I agree with you, KyleE. taxes=shared responsiblity=shared benefit=uhoh=socialism= communism. (Sorry, I’ve had the government programming my thoughts.) You are so right. I enjoyed reading your post. I wonder if I was the only one who upon hearing that proposal, thought for a moment, “How weird, raise taxes to pay for the war? Wow.” It felt so strange to even consider it after all this time.


    Man, okay, you can’t do this while I’m trying to leave work. Will comment in full later.

  3. mick says:

    Actually, this is the money quote:

    The three lawmakers…have not cleared their proposal with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic lawmakers….

    IOW, it’s a rogue operations and most likely more Kabuki that they will back off of once the hammer comes down. Altho…Obey’s a tough cookie when he wants to be and Murtha’s not exactly a shrinking violet. Hmmm. This could be interesting. A crack in the wall…..

  4. Laura says:

    Nancy said, “No.”
    Harry said, “…that’s good enough for me.”
    Laura said, (Guess.)

  5. You’re right Mick, and I didn’t give that enough spotlight in the post, though I was thinking it as I wrote it. We’ve gone back and forth on what it would take to get things in order. I think you’re more hopeful about the prospects of a third party than I am, but it’s gonna have to be measures like this I think that will start changing things for the better.

    What I think needs to happen is that people are willing to send letters to congressmen who screw up, I think a solid message can be sent through a strong letter writing drive that these are the kind of Democrats and Democratic actions we expect to see and will vote for again and again.

    Heh, there should be a drive, “Thank Congressmen Obey and Murtha and McGovern for finding the Democratic Party’s collective spine, and ask that they keep a good tight hold on it.”

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