Monday, April 30, 2007


Bush says he's going to veto any bill for war funding that has even a hint of a timetable for a withdrawal of our troops. And he points out that Congress doesn't have enough votes to override a veto.

Okay. So what?

He's the one who wants to continue the war. He can't do that without funding approval from Congress. They don't need to override a veto in order to deny him funds for the war. His veto already does that; if he doesn't want the money with the conditions then the withdrawal becomes a done deal -- ahead of schedule as far as the majority of Congress goes.

Bush -- and it appears, most of the press -- seems to assume that a veto will automatically get him the funding bill he wants, without any demands that he make a plan to end the war eventually. But it doesn't do that at all. There's no reason for Congress to give Bush the unrestricted funding bill he seems to think they have an obligation to give him. They have no such obligation. Not a legal obligation, not a moral one, no obligation at all.

No, I think it's likely that the Democratic leadership of Congress will cave and give Bush what he wants, but they might not. I don't think they have the balls to do the right thing, but they might fool me, and fool Bush.

Bush is counting on these legislators to be afraid of being accused of being unpatriotic and unsupportive of the troops if they don't give him a funding bill he wants. And I'm sure that if they just send the bill right back to him after he vetoes it that he will accuse them of just that, and so will the entire Republican Smear Machine. But so what?

Recently Nancy Pelosi got wide criticism for her trip to Syria; from Cheney, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, even generally liberal Matt Lauer jumped on the bandwagon to trash Pelosi. But how did the public react?

Comparing public approval ratings between January, and right after Pelosi's trip, one poll found that although Pelosi's approval took a dip from the high point right after her swearing in as speaker, the public's attitude about Bush's foreign policy performance was flat, and the public's attitude about the foreign policy performance of Congress improved.

Not exactly strong evidence that the public will turn against Congress just because Bush calls them names.

It's really time for the U.S. Congress to stand up. If Bush vetoes the Iraq funding bill, just re-vote and send it right back to him. Let him veto it again, and again if he wants to.

Bush wants to be the decider. Well, Congress needs to let him decide. He can fund the current activities in Iraq or not. But what he can't do is have an indefinite war.

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