61 thoughts on “Today’s Political Question

  1. Okay, I’ll take a swing at this.

    You don’t beleive it because you have heard this kind of rhetoric before and have lost all faith in Congress.

  2. Would it be because Reid and the rest of the DNC have proven to be utterly spineless on the issue of Iraq? They’re so afraid of being labled “anti-troop” that they won’t take any substantive action.
    Oh yeah, and Harry Reid is useless as a leader. He has failed repeatedly to get the DNC organized in any way, except perhaps to take shots at each other.
    Do I win?

  3. Because Bush would definitely veto this, which would make it veto #6 of his presidency, and out of the previous five vetos, only one has passed Congress.

    I approve of Democrats in Congress, but they’re really not getting a lot done these days.

    That and I generally think Bush is a bastard. But that’s just my personal opinion. =)

  4. I love that line, “to overcome procedural hurdles in the Senate.”

    What it actually means is “To overcome the standing Republican threat of a filibuster.” Glenn Greenwald has done some very good writing on this subject.

  5. I don’t believe it because it’s the equivalent of holding a gun to a soldier’s head and shrieking, “If you don’t do what I say I’m going to kill this poor soldier… for whom I care deeply because I am a patriot … and it will be your fault!”

    Surely no one is really that big an asshole. I mean for hell’s sake, if you’ve got the votes to pass this bill, you should have the votes to do something constructive, like force the state department to actually control the infrastructure construction programs instead of just throwing more money at them.

  6. There’s an old saying from Tennessee, or perhaps Texas, that applies here:

    “Fool me once, shame on … shame on you. Fool me … you can’t get fooled again.”

  7. Duh. It’s a creature as rigid as a jellyfish speaking. One who moves his mouth and pretends to use words, but whose sounds have no meaning and no effect in the real world.

    Fergossake, JS, I would worry about your grip on reality if you believed it!

  8. There is a stupid party and an insane party. That’s the two party system.

    Democrats are addicted to earmarks. If you wonder why Democrats perplexingly vote for some bill, follow the pork.

  9. Maybe John doesn’t believe it because he clings desperately to the idea that the US government is inherently based on the enlightened principle about how it is always better in the long run to convince somebody of something than to force somebody to do something they think is wrong.

    Or something. Possibly including bits about unicorns and leprechauns.

  10. Because the Democratic leadership would like us to see them as Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, but in reality, despite the fact that they are nominally the majority party opposing an extremely unpopular president, they more closely represent Bill Paxton in True Lies, specifically in that scene where he is being held over the dam in his boxers, wetting himself and blubbering and confessing to having an abnormally small penis?

  11. Is it because Latin American and China Funds have been having a better year and with the poor dollar and the car bombings, you just don’t see Iraq funds as the hot new market?

  12. WHen the Pussocrats change their logo from a donkey to a spine that grows a big pair of brass balls then I will believe it.

    I was talking with my chiropractor today about how every candidate is a complete and utter disappointment. I know America can do better than this.

  13. Umm, I’ll guess its because these guys could fuck up the procession of a one car funeral. But, then again, I’ve hung up my cynic’s hat until after the primaries.

    Then I’ll set to trying to calculate how to keep the Senate and the Presidency in control of opposite parties. I have this crazy idea that the founders of our Republic attempted to make it difficult to pass laws. Because legislators in their time (or MPs, I guess they were) could also fuck up the procession at a one carriage funeral.

  14. You don’t believe it because it reminds you of Charlie Brown, Lucy, and the football, or at least it would if, instead of pulling the football away, Lucy stood up and delivered a solid kick to CB’s cojones.

    It’s bad to look spineless, but even worse to look weak when going up against someone who’s approval rating is somewhere below the magma layer.

  15. You don’t believe this because one trip through the Creation Museum was not enough to turn your brains to mush? (Perhaps if you tried again, you might find renewed faith in Congress…)

  16. A promise from Bush means nothing. He can “clarify” in a signing statement that he will define what “withdraw” means, so one soldier gets an early leave in December ’08. And as others point out, the current Congress seems unwilling to follow through on threats, whether they are contempt charges or defunding the war. So a promise means nothing from both sides. Sigh.

  17. Fred, actually earmarks proliferated just after the Republicans took control of the legislature. They’re the ones truly in love with directed/pre-assigned spending. This is said as someone that is truly grateful for the one earmark our Republican Representative used for our Village (to help with a water project).

  18. You don’t believe it because no congressperson will ever vote to cut off supplies to troops in a war zone. This would be, and properly, political suicide.

    That does not in any way endorse a war that by today’s (13 November 2007) count will cost the American people 1.5 trillion dollars. That’s right-trillion! A debt that will be paid by at least the next two generations.

    All this because the Republicans lacked the courage to call for universal sacrifice.

    Does that answer your question?

  19. Experience? Because you haven’t been in a coma for the past year? Because the new sheriff in town has turned out to be fundamentally identical to the old one? Because of repeated fumbles on earmark reform? Because they’ve achieved in months a level of corruption that it took Republicans years to attain? Because they’re more concerned about perceptions, “legacy”, and re-election than with doing their fucking jobs?

  20. Steve, Pelosi and company made noise about cleaning up congress and have done nothing. That’s why THEIR approval rating is lower than Bush’s.

  21. Because many Democrats are not anti-war and as such Congress does not have an anti-war majority.

    The Democrats won Congress not because of anti-war sentiment, but because for the first time in a long time they put up candidates that were electable in area where they hadn’t done so in a long time. But by doing so, they got Democrats elected that are not representative of their leadership.

    Then, of course, Pelosi and Reid are awful leaders.

  22. Brett L @ 17 I have this crazy idea that the founders of our Republic attempted to make it difficult to pass laws.

    Correction: They made it difficult to pass laws that did not have a solid majority of support.

    Steve Buchheit @ 22 Fred, actually earmarks proliferated just after the Republicans took control of the legislature.

    That’s ridiculous, earmarks is the way Congress has done business for a very long time. It is the most insidious form of corruption.

  23. Frank, it may be ridiculous, but it’s also true. Earmarks have been around for decades. However, the number, variety, and outrageousness of the earmarks started growing at an exponential rate after Republicans got control of Congress in 1994. They thought they could use earmarks to buy a permanent majority. They were wrong.

  24. the number, variety, and outrageousness of the earmarks started growing at an exponential rate after Republicans got control of Congress in 1994

    In the famous words of Rod Tidwell: “Show me the money”

    You seem to forget that prior to 1994, Democrats had a majority for somwhere around 40 years. How do you think they did that?

    So just show me the data where “earmarks started growing at an exponential rate after Republicans got control of Congress in 1994″

    And we can be done with this.

  25. Because even if there is a sincere interest in getting U.S. troops out of combat that is no sincere interest in getting the U.S. out of the empire business. Meaning that there will remain U.S. troops in combat. Dubya is just the tip of the spearhead of the problem.

  26. “We don’t need members of Congress telling our military commanders what to do,” he [Pres. Bush] said. “We need our military commanders telling us what to do so we can win the war against these extremists and radicals.”

    Am I the only one who is scared by that statement?
    Altough it makes sense from his point of view – I guess the commander in chief is a military commander…

  27. Harry Reid is a small, mean spirited, bitter man. That contrasts well with the avaricious evil witch from California over in the house. Not that the Republicans are much better. They are hypocritical cowards who don’t truly support their espoused beliefs.

    It is unfortunate that our political system is such that the people best able to serve and run the government wouldn’t touch it with a very long pole. It is kind of like a big home owner’s association. The people that desparately want to tell their neighbors how to live are certainly not the ones that should be doing so.

  28. Everyday, when I wake up and look out the window I discover anew that the sun has risen. I have become so accustomed to this occurrence that I have begun to expect it.

    I have become equally accustomed to Congressional leadership threatening to withhold funding for the war, only to have one of their trademark changes of heart.

    Tomorrow the sun will rise. All of my previous experience in this matter directs this expectation.

  29. Frank,

    Ask, and ye shall receive. If you want a second source, here’s one we can both believe. Citizens Against Government Waste, which uses a much stricter definition of pork, says that the number of pork projects in the federal budget went from 546 in FY1991 to over 2600 in FY2007.

    You seem to forget that prior to 1994, Democrats had a majority for somwhere around 40 years. How do you think they did that?

    A combination of effective political maneuvering (including earmarks), the general political climate, and primitive gerrymandering. Probably more than a little election fraud mixed in, too.

  30. wolfwalker @ 38

    Ask, and ye shall receive. If you want a second source, here’s one we can both believe. Citizens Against Government Waste, which uses a much stricter definition of pork, says that the number of pork projects in the federal budget went from 546 in FY1991 to over 2600 in FY2007.

    Excellent! I concede the point. No question, I think you are correct. I did some additional research myself and I can find nothing to contradict your data.

    I will propose, however, that those who are fighting pork, or more precisely are attempting to make sure all pork is ascribed to the proposer and each appropriation is voted on are all Republicans: presumably those Republicans who actually take what their party supposedly stands for seriously.

    Also, though the incoming Democratic leadership ran on busting pork, they have done nothing to act on their promises.

    If we look at the Club For Growth’s RePork card on the Senate,:

    # Only three senators received a perfect score of 100% (and were present for a majority of the votes): Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK), Jim DeMint (R-SC), and Richard Burr (R-NC).

    # The only senator receiving a 0% was Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) who voted against all 10 anti-pork amendments he was present for.

    # The average Republican score was 59%; the average Democratic score was 12%.

    # The best scoring Democrat was Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) with an impressive 80%, tying with or scoring better than thirty-nine Republican senators.

    # Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) scored a 53%; Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) scored a 7%, voting for only one amendment.

    If we look at their RePork card for the House

    * Sixteen congressmen scored a perfect 100%, voting for all 50 anti-pork amendments. They are all Republicans.
    * The average Republican score was 43%. The average Democratic score was 2%.
    * The average score for appropriators was 4%. The average score for non-appropriators was 25%.
    * Kudos to Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) who scored an admirable 98%-the only Democrat to score above 20%.
    * Rep. David Obey (D-WI) did not vote for his own amendment to strike all earmarks in the Labor-HHS appropriations bill. Rep. Obey scored an embarrassing 0% overall.
    * 105 congressmen scored an embarrassing 0%, voting against every single amendment. The Pork Hall of Shame includes 81 Democrats and 24 Republicans.
    * The Democratic Freshmen scored an abysmal average score of 2%. Their Republican counterparts scored an average score of 78%.

    As you have shown, the Republicans raised pork spending to new and dizzying heights.

    Unfortunately, the Democrats are willing to buy that skyscraper.

    If you are looking to vote in a Congress that shines sunshine on all those earmarks, there will be few choices among the Democrats from which to pick.

  31. 1. Because the Dems will cave, as they have caved 100% of the time before.

    2. Because, even if the Dems don’t cave, the GOP will prevent the bill from coming to a vote by refusing to end debate.

    3. Because, even if the Dems don’t cave, and the GOP does allow debate to end and thus allow the bill to be voted on, Bush will veto it.

    4. Because, even if the Dems don’t cave, and the GOP does allow the bill to be voted on, and Bush doesn’t veto it, he will append a sgning statement rendering it meaningless.

    I think I’ve covered all the bases.

  32. I will propose, however, that those who are fighting pork, or more precisely are attempting to make sure all pork is ascribed to the proposer and each appropriation is voted on are all Republicans: presumably those Republicans who actually take what their party supposedly stands for seriously.

    Also, though the incoming Democratic leadership ran on busting pork, they have done nothing to act on their promises.

    And I’ll agree, on both counts. (Perhaps I should make clear that on financial matters I tend to the conservative side of moderate, and wholeheartedly approve of anti-pork efforts such as PorkBusters.) Which brings us back to one of the obvious answers to John’s original question: he doesn’t believe Reid’s bombastic rhetoric because the evidence indicates that Reid and all his fellow senior D’s are liars and cowards who mean very little of what they say, and haven’t got the guts or the clout to follow through on the stuff they do mean.

  33. Why does everyone insist on calling this a war? The war was over back in 2003. It has been an occupation ever since.

    I suspect people really don’t want to draw the parallels that what we’ve done is create Vichy Iraq.

  34. Why does everyone insist on calling this a war?

    I don’t. I consistently call it the Battle for Iraq in the overall War Against Islamists.

    That battle, though winding down, is still active.

  35. What battle against Islamists? Are you against them because they are an insane fundamentalist minority? You could easily turn your attention against the US, in that case. We’ve got plenty of troubles with insane fundamentalists that would just love to restructure the US more to their liking. Go read up about Dominionists sometime.

    I mean, seriously. If a few thousand people living in caves can bring down the US, then we have failed as a country.

  36. Like everyone has been saying – because experience has taught us that they’re all bought and paid for by someone who doesn’t have our best interests at heart.

    Remember in M*A*S*H, the scene where BJ is washing his socks and Hawkeye points out that he’s always washing them, but never wears them? BJ points out that, “…if I wear them, they’ll get dirty. But if I just keep washing them, they’ll stay clean forever.” It’s about the comfort that comes from knowing that, however bad things get, at least you have clean socks.

    So, like BJ, I’ll keep writing in Al Gore’s name in every election I come to. I know he doesn’t want to run, I can understand why, and I can respect that. But I want to vote for someone I think believes in what they say and would, if given the chance, live up to their promises. I don’t get that from the Democrats. I don’t trust them any more than I do the Republicans.

    Maybe he wouldn’t be any better. Maybe it’s best he doesn’t run. At least, in this small matter, I feel as if there’s hope.

  37. You know, I can’t let this one slide. Invading Iraq was a battle against Islamacists? Unbelievable.

    In the first place, Iraq was a secular country under Hussein. Yes, he was a bad man, a dictator that put people through plastic shredders to keep order. No one’s questioning that. Attacking him as part of fighting Islamacists? If that was your goal, it’s failed. Horribly. The attack on Iraq has done more to recruit people to the cause of radical Islam than just about anything we could have tried.

    If our intent was truly to fight back against radical Islam, our attention would have been better turned against another country.

    Consider this. 19 or so of the attackers on the planes that were used in the 9/11 attacks were from… Saudi Arabia.

    Osama bin Laden comes from… Saudi Arabia.

    So of course we attack… Iraq. Which destabilizes one of the few stable countries in the region, threatens Iran, and bolsters… Saudi Arabia.

    Yeah, I’d say we’re at 100% failure to battle radical Islam so far. Good job!

    Or something.

  38. Oh! I should say something about, I dunno, the actual topic at hand as well.

    In regards to the threatened denial of funds without some sort of commitment on the part of the Bush Administration to begin to draw down our occupying forces in what is nominally a sovereign nation, yeah. That’s going to go just swimmingly, I believe. The media will hammer the democrats for being weak, the democrats will fold on this issue as they have so many times before. The democrats will then try to spin it as the fault of the republicans, and the kabuki will come to it’s inevitable close; another blank check that our children and grandchildren will have to pay for.

  39. No way will Bush and Co. agree to any plan that would see combat end while on his watch. If they did, they might have to accept responsibility for the complete and utter mess they have created.

    Bush will drag this out so that combat ops are ongoing when he leaves office. That way, a (probably) democrat president inherits the war and either keeps it going (flip-flopper) or brings the troops home (cut and runner).

  40. I’ve already been through this. If you want my answer, and if John will indulge me, you can find it here

    Yeah, I used the term War in Iraq, but I wrote this over 3 years ago. I have recalibrated my thinking with regards to that terminology.

    The rest is still accurate with regards to my rationale.

  41. Because, while there is a Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate, they have not changed from their defensive, minority party playbook.

    And it doesn’t help that too many people currently in office are much more interested in staying in office by trying to play the slippery middle to do anything constructive.

    And some folk in the Dem camp fit more the Republican mold: stupid, ignorant or evil.

  42. Richard @ 44 wrote: I mean, seriously. If a few thousand people living in caves can bring down the US, then we have failed as a country.

    Then by your logic we’ve failed as a country, because that is a very real possibility. It wouldn’t even take a few thousand people. It would take no more than a couple of hundred with the right plan. The only reason it hasn’t happened yet is the terrorists are too stupid, and our current security system is just barely good and lucky enough to handle such an abysmally stupid enemy.

    If you doubt this, then I ask you to consider just two data points:

    1) the localized chaos created in Washington DC by the Beltway Snipers

    2) the general economic troubles caused by the shutdown of the Port of New Orleans, and particularly the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), during and after Hurricane Katrina

  43. You have got to be kidding me. There are approximately 300,000,000 people living in the US of A. One thousand people aren’t a threat at all, unless we allow them to be a threat. Or unless a “threat” is manufactured and prolonged in order to keep a populace cowed.

    The correct way to handle the situation would have been to treat terrorism as a crime. Coordinate investigative efforts globally to track down terrorists, and bring them before judges, to be sentenced for their crimes. Invading Iraq has given legitimacy to the “Islamacists”, and weakened our own way of governance. Not to mention our way of life.

    Now we see corporations being given amnesty for violating laws, our country legalizing torture, and denying Habeas Corpus because it’s inconvenient.

    These are not good things. Oh no, not at all.

  44. I read your thoughts. While I can, to an extent, agree with Afghanistan, Iraq was, in a few words, POORLY HANDLED.

    Perhaps we could have done as you claim the Bush Administration intended, and begun a transformation of the ME. It would have taken a Marshall plan, which wasn’t even thought of, and 300,000-500,000 troops, which again, wasn’t even thought of. It would have taken staffing the reconstruction agencies with people who were, I dunno, experts in the ME. Instead, what we got were people who would sign “loyalty oaths” to George Bush, and a bunch of Objectivists who thought if they could take a country and remove all governmental controls, that immediately a John Galt paradise would emerge. Of course, that’s not even remotely what happened.

    So now we’re sitting on a not-so-much democraticed Iraq, that’s likely to splinter into three parts (not that it’s a terrible idea, but… wait, it’s a terrible idea, nevermind.) The kurdish part will help destablilize Turkey, by sheltering the kurdish terrorists, then SA and Iran get to fight over the rest. The whole while, we’re in the way of sectarian violence, jihadists who really really hate us now, and god knows what else.

    There’s no putting a Seal of Approval on a clusterfuck of this size. The people responsible should be falling on their swords, not planning on expanding the area of operations of the clusterfuck to yet another country.

  45. “He’s mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a horse’s health,
    a boy’s love, or a whore’s oath.”
    – King Lear

  46. Because ultimately it is just a big game of Chicken. Democrats and Bush both speeding from opposite directions head on into a crowd of soldiers. Past history has show Democrats are more likely to swerve, be it for political reasons or to protect the soldiers. Bush is far too self-righteous, stupid and stubborn to steer off course. So the status quo of stupidity is likely to remain.

  47. Hardly. Bush is callous and insane enough to allow a collision to occur and then blame the resultant crash solely on the democrats’ “willingness to play politics with the lives of our troops” even when he sends another ten thousand to IED deaths in a country they never should have invaded in the first place, all in the name of repeating the Vietnam farce because he wants to prove they were right the first time.

    Bush sent thousands of soldiers into harm’s way on a pointless quest “justified” by a tissue of lies and thus he has no right to talk about other people “recklessly endangering the troops”.

  48. Q. Why don’t I believe this?

    A. Because the Amazing Reid-ini’s carnival act involves slicing himself up with the swords he’s trying to juggle while faultlessly predicting that which shall never come to pass.

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