Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Stepford Republicans

Just finished watching Joe Scarborough on MSNBC with his usual trio of suspects- Joan Walsh of Salon.com, Michael Crowley of The New Republic, and Pat Buchanan of.... well, we all know Pat Buchanan. Discussing the recent vote on the Iraq war funding bill (with non-binding benchmarks), Scarborough made the justifiable point that the Democrats had no Plan B. He was implying that it was the party's duty to know they might fail- as they did- and have an alternate plan in mind, and it certainly seems the Dems do not. Buchanan argued that the Democrats showed a lack of courage in failing to act in unison and defeat the bill but also that they did not want to get stuck with the blame if the soldiers were withdrawn (by timetable) and sectarian fighting worsened, as he has been arguing it would. Scarborough asserted that it is the responsibility of politicians to stand up for what they believe, vote as they think they should, and be willing to take the political heat, in this case to be charged with "failing to support the troops" (not necessarily his phrase).

Not to give the Democrats a free pass for failing to defeat this bill (what was John Murtha doing voting for it?) but, as Joan Walsh argued, the party should not be roundly condemned for their insufficient nerve in mustering enough votes as the Congressional majority and defeat it. It's pretty tough to handle the inevitable, partisan, vicious attacks they would have faced when there were.... two (2) Republicans (one of whom was Ron Paul, incidentally) in the entire House of Representatives voting "no." Even the eleven Republicans who recently traveled to the White House and reportedly, allegedly, told the President he can't go on like this rose up as one and voted for the bill. If Democrats showed insufficient courage, what is there to say about House Republicans, who, we are frequently told, fear being portrayed as Bush toadies when they run for re-election in 2008?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm always amazed to think that Joe Scarborough was once a Congressman. I've listened to him in the morning as they quickly try to find a successful replacement for Imus, and when he's not talking about Lindsey Lohan or Rosie O'Donald, he seems to enjoy comparing our situation in Iraq to that of the Allies in North Africa during WWII. I see his point about being bogged down and diverting resources that could be used elsewhere to combat terrorism, but I don't think the comparison really fits.

I think it is fair to say that democrats aren't completely united on getting out of Iraq, but it's not as though Republicans are all holding hands and happy. Although they lost the funding battle, to me it is an encouragement to see the Democratic leadership attempting to take a moderate route that doesn't involve doing whatever it takes to get out of Iraq. I'd rather see them attempt to compromise then to watch them pull the funding.

Besides, we can't forget that the Bush administration has essential boxed themselves in by continually stating that by September we should be able to tell whether the surge is working.

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