01 May 2007

Hey Congress: Time To Sit On Your Hands

For those who practice not-doing,
everything will fall into place.

Tao Te Ching, 3

So George XLIII has vetoed the appropriations bill funding his war. So, no timeline. So, no funds for the war.

So what?

Are you as mystified as I am at our Dem congresscritters scurrying around to try to override the veto, and then going to the White House to talk things over? Why don't they just do nothing at all, and let the President sweat it?

Too many people, especially our own congressional representatives, have fallen into this RWCM frame that Congress has to "do something" if they want to end this war. Nothing could be further from the truth.

They don't have to find a bill that Bush won't veto. They don't have to try to get enough Republans to defect to override the veto. That's just spin.

The bill that Harry & Nancy sent to the Oval Office on "Mission Accomplished Day" was not a bill to end the war.  In fact, it was a bill to fund the war for another 6 months or so, just with a few conditions. It's not even clear how binding those conditions were, but they at least strongly encouraged the executive branch to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq in several months, or the money would run out, maybe next summer. The president, being the kind of guy he is, didn't even like having those kinds of softball conditions, so he vetoed it.

So where does that leave us now?

With only enough funding to prosecute the war until this summer.

So the war ends this summer, not next summer. And better yet, the president is the one who cut off funds to the troops.

Now whether your primary concern is ending the war, protecting the troops, or just screwing the Republican Party, I can't imagine a better outcome for us than the situation we have right now.

How can our Dems in Washington be so stupid as to go crawling to the President to ask what they can do next? They hold all the cards now. If the president wants the war to be funded even through this summer, he's the one who needs to come on hands and knees begging for another appropriation.

The only reason they need a majority, still less a super-majority, is to pass a bill. And the money only flows if the appropriations bills get passed. To do nothing, they just need enough parliamentary power to keep the bills from even getting to the floor, and we saw with the previous Congress how that could be done.

Or to make it even simpler:

No majority = No bill
No bill = No funds
No funds = No war

Now, what about Murtha's plan, or others, that say we should now send even stronger conditions on bills to the White House? Well, if you can guarantee that they will in fact be stronger, that might work. But we don't know how the votes will turn out. Same thing goes for Edwards' plan to just send the same exact bill back time and again. We don't know how many people might try to make some little changes, or might cave in to the Pundit Opinion Vortex in Washington instead of the nation.

And even if those bills did go forward, they would still be prolonging the war by funding it. And if Bush did sign them, he'd be accepting Congress's plan, and could share the blame.

I'll say it again, right now we're in the best possible situation for ending the war and scoring political points at the same time.

So, please contact your Reps and Chris Dodd and tell them to keep any war appropriations bills off the floor for the foreseeable future. Congress already approved the money the president asked for. If he tears up the check, that's his own damn problem.

Now I live in Shay's district, and I'll call him, I may even picket in front of his office tomorrow, but we have enough of a time trying to keep him from backpedaling away from his campaign promise to go with the timeline approach. And when I try to call the offices of the reality-based members of our delegation, they just laugh at me as being out-of-district. So other than Dodd, I got nobody to tell (but I'll still try).

Those of you who live in the more fortunate parts of Connecticut, with Larson and Rosa and Courtney and Murphy, please get to work. Tell them not to let the Speaker go crawling to a 28%-approval-rating president, or even consider another bill without major concessions on his side. Please Please Please.

Because if we do nothing about the veto, everything falls into place nicely.

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