Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Soapbox

Giving Defeat a Chance
By Joe Shehan

I feel I am becoming a broken record when it comes to the Iraq War, and the Democratic efforts to end the war. But, I would be remissed if I allowed yet another cowardly episode on the floor of the House to go unchallenged.

On the night of November 14, 2007, the House of Representatives voted in favor of H.R. 4156, the Orderly and Responsible Iraq Redeployment Appropriations Act. The final tally of the vote was 218 for, and 203 against. Not enough to sustain a veto, if H.R. 4156 should get out of the Senate and on to the Presidents desk (which is not likely). To many Conservatives who are working on the Hill, this attempt to tie war funding to withdrawal was yet another attempt by the Democratic Majority to play politics with our troops lives and score some cheap points with their base.

Now many of you out there would say that their base is pretty large when it comes to the war, and with that claim I would say you only have half of the truth. According to the most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 55% of Americans want most troops withdrawn from Iraq by the beginning of 2009. Well, if many people were paying attention they would know that the President, at the urging of General Patraeus, announced two days ago he will begin to draw down troop levels this year. If the President follows Gen. Patraeus’ recommendations, we could have close to 25,000 troops home by July of next year. However, the Democrats wanting to steal some of the credit from President Bush pushed their legislation through.

Still, there are those out there who believe the Congress should take command from the President because 68% of the American people do not agree with how the President is running the war. Well, I am sure there are more people than that who don’t agree how Bill Belicheck or Wade Phillips coached the previous night’s game, but the owners of the New England Patriots or Dallas Cowboys don’t take away their command of their team.

The real motivation behind these moves is a cowardice that is informing the leadership that they are losing and therefore must tuck tail and run. This cowardice is so prevalent that it is affecting the way many in the Democratic leadership are thinking. Their thoughts are completely upside down. Point in case is a quote in CQ Today where a spokesman for Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D- Maryland) said,

“We will not leave here until we have seen whether Senate Republicans are once again going to obstruct a majority of the Senate from passing a bill that provides funding for our troops as well as a strategy for success.”

Let’s take a close look at this statement. First the spokesman accuses the Republicans of “obstruction”. This is a charge that every Republican should take pride in. When faulty and poor legislation is brought to the floor we should everything in our power to prevent it from becoming law. The line about “funding for troops” is especially rich, because if they were genuinely interested in this they would pass a bill for funding with out any caveats for withdrawal. Lastly (and this where is gets upside down), they are calling their strategy of retreat a “strategy for success”. I am sure that the Generals and Admirals at the War College would agree that the only way to win a war is to retreat, especially when you are seeing tangible success. As long as the Democratic Majority of the House and Senate continue to think in these terms, they will continue to see the lowest approval rating in the history of Congress.

It is important that those of us out there realize that the Majority of the 110th Congress is not operating in our best interest, but in the best interest of their campaign war chests. Completely entrenched in survival mode they are doing everything in their power to placate to their base, and to show the American people they have a purpose. But as long as their legislation continues to be vetoed, they will have to work harder to find the real “middle ground” if they want to avoid being the most insignificant Congress in American history.

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