November 19, 2005


Pullout rejected 403-3 (Stephen Dinan, November 19, 2005, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

The House last night overwhelmingly voted down a resolution calling for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, as Republicans tried to draw a line in the sand after a week's worth of back-and-forth charges over the war.

The resolution failed 403-3, with six voting present. Those voting for it were Democrats Cynthia A. McKinney of Georgia, Robert Wexler of Florida and Jose E. Serrano of New York.

House Rejects Iraq Pullout After GOP Forces a Vote: Democrats Enraged By Personal Attack (Charles Babington, November 19, 2005, Washington Post)
As Democrats physically restrained one colleague, who appeared as if he might lose control of himself as he rushed across the aisle to confront Republicans with a jabbing finger, they accused Republicans of playing political games with the war. [...]

Though even many Democrats think Murtha's immediate withdrawal plan is impractical, it struck a chord in a party where frustration with the war and the Bush administration's open-ended commitment is mounting fast. [...]

Members were heatedly debating a procedural rule concerning the Hunter resolution when Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) was recognized at 5:20 p.m. Schmidt won a special election in August, defeating Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett, and is so new to Congress that some colleagues do not know her name.

She told colleagues that "a few minutes ago I received a call from Colonel Danny Bubp," an Ohio legislator and Marine Corps Reserve officer. "He asked me to send Congress a message: Stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message: that cowards cut and run, Marines never do."

Dozens of Democrats erupted at once, pointing angrily at Schmidt and shouting repeatedly, "Take her words down" -- the House term for retracting a statement. For a moment Schmidt tried to keep speaking, but the uproar continued and several GOP colleagues surrounded her as she sat down, looking slightly dazed. Presiding officer Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) gaveled in vain for order as Democrats continued shouting for Schmidt to take back her words. Rep. Martin T. Meehan (D-Mass.) yelled "You guys are pathetic!" from the far end of the Democratic section to the GOP side.

Just as matters seemed to calm a bit, Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) suddenly charged across the aisle to the GOP seats, jabbing his finger furiously at a small group of GOP members and shouting, "Say Murtha's name!" Rep. David R. Obey (D-Wis.), who had led the chants for striking Schmidt's comments, gently guided Ford by the arm back to the minority party's side.

At 5:31, when order was finally restored, Schmidt rose again and said softly, "My words were not directed at any member of the House." She asked that they "be withdrawn" from the record.

As the House temporarily moved to other matters, a calm Ford said in an interview that he confronted the Republicans because he was angry that they were using a ploy to avoid "a real debate" about the war. "I said, 'If you believe it's about Murtha, then talk about Murtha, don't hide behind a resolution,' " Ford said.

That Mr. Murtha voted against his own idea is a dispositive demonstration that it was mere bluster to begin with.

White House plays chicken with a war hero (Derrick Z. Jackson, November 19, 2005, Boston Globe)

THE WHITE House is so deluded, it actually believes it can turn a soaring hawk into a scrounging chicken. Stung by the call by US Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania to pull out of Iraq, Scott McClellan, President Bush's press secretary, said this week, ''It is baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic Party."

Talk about playing the chicken-hawk card. A White House where most of the architects of war avoided combat in their own lives dared to associate two people who are worlds apart in world views. Moore made the anti-Bush ''Fahrenheit 9/11," which infuriated the right wing by breaking box office records for a documentary film. Moore was booed at the 2004 Republican National Convention.

Murtha is the 73-year-old recipient of two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for combat duty in Vietnam. He is a Democrat whose three decades in office are marked by support of President Reagan's policies in Nicaragua and El Salvador. Murtha was a top Democratic supporter of the 1991 Gulf War. He wants a constitutional ban on burning the American flag.

The sound you heard in the Houyse chamber last night was Mr. Murtha clucking. Cynthia McKinney may be a racistr, anti-Semite nutjob, but she's got the courage of Derrick Jackson's convictions.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 19, 2005 8:30 AM

I thought the bill was a version put out by the Republicans, not Murtha's own, and that the Dems pouted and decided to vote against it to try and downplay the significance. So, I don't think it's an accurate portrayal of how the voting would have gone down otherwise, but I sure how people take it that way. Based on my limited view of the whole thing, I think the Dems had no choice to look silly here.

Posted by: RC at November 19, 2005 8:46 AM

Yes, the Democrats wouldn't even put forward Murtha's idea so the GOP did it for them. The vote was exactly as it would have been.

Posted by: oj at November 19, 2005 9:14 AM

This was the first set in the game of "politics in wartime": Chickenhawks vs. Chickensh*ts.

Posted by: AllenS at November 19, 2005 9:17 AM

The whole idea on the Democrats' side was for Murtha to go out there and make his statement, and use his war record and his 2002 vote in favor of the war to spin it as a major change of heart and a dagger to the heart of Bush's Iraq war plan. But then it came out that Murtha had been doubtful on the Iraq war in 2002, and spoke out against it in 2004 in words similar to those on Thursday, albeit minus the call for withdrawal.

Once it was obvious this was more political posturing than an actual seizmic change in the House, the Republicans simply took Murtha's claim to it logical excess and presented the amendment that the and Cindy Sheehan types really would like to see Congress pass, but which Democrats know doesn't have the support of the majority of Americans. Calling the bluff of the party's far left is what caused Friday night's meltdown.

Posted by: John at November 19, 2005 10:09 AM

Baredict Arnold was a war hero. After all, he was for the American Revolution before he was against it.

Posted by: Lou Gots at November 19, 2005 10:35 AM

Well that was better than anything else on Friday night.

Posted by: Sandy P at November 19, 2005 11:09 AM

On this AM's local TV they stated less than 2% of the American public would vote for immediate withdrawal from Iraq.

Kudo for the Republicans.

Posted by: Genecis at November 19, 2005 11:17 AM

But I thought all the polls said majority of Americans want to withdraw from Iraq immediately? That is what the MSM has been telling us repeatedly. I wonder why the politicians would not heed the wishes of their supporters.

Posted by: sam at November 19, 2005 11:21 AM

and that's how it's done in the bigs. what a slaughter.

Posted by: Nicolo Machiavelli at November 19, 2005 1:15 PM

Murtha pulled his stunt in an effort to get "debate" going, he claims. What he actually intended was to start another witch-hunt commission like the Fullbright Commission during the Viet Nam war to "expose" the wrongness of the war, get lots of TV coverage, and piles of "witnesses" which the Democrats could then harangue.

Republicans, seeing the true motivation, called Murtha's bluff and the whole scam came to a screeching halt - with the Democrats doing all the screeching.

Extra points for Pelosi were not awarded as her new-found shield against charges of being unpatriotic and anti-military was discredited and tossed aside. After her own home district recently voted to ban military recruiters from area schools, she had the gall last night to claim that bunch of clowns on the left coast actually supported the military. Hahaha!

And finally, the NRO has an article about the less-than-pure Murtha. Don't want the spotlight? Don't grandstand, Mr. Murtha.

Posted by: Michael at November 19, 2005 1:29 PM

That "debate" was a farce. I blame the media, honestly. Because as a group they know absolutely nothing about the military, they don't know how to react to a veteran criticizing war. They (& the left as a whole) has this bizarre image of the military as monolithically right wing and eager to blow stuff up. Which is nonsense on every conceivable level, of course. So the Democrats find a vet to criticize things, and it's suddenly a BIG STORY. And somehow it's been decided that a vet who criticizes things cannot be criticized except by another vet. As if Michael Moore's ideas suddenly become worthy of respect when mouthed by Wesley Clark. As I said last night, we are a nation cursed with a deeply unserious political & media elite. But we're still America, so things will somehow work out in the end...

Posted by: b at November 19, 2005 2:21 PM

The Dems need to get it through their thick skulls that their '70s nostalia campaign of "Hearings" and "Commissions" and "Investigations" and "Select Committees" only works if you control the Congress. Congress may be run by the Stupid Party, but they aren't (usually) so stupid as to be suicidal.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 19, 2005 2:31 PM

b: elites are always lame and will always put their self interest ahed of their country's. technology is eliminating their ability to keep the non-elites from communicating and co-ordinating. the day is coming soon when they will be driven from the hive, like the drones they are.

Posted by: Friedrich Nietzhe at November 19, 2005 2:52 PM

Is it fair to say that Rep. Schmidt will improve considerably in 2006 on her 52% showing in the special election? In fact, I'd take bets now that her 2006 vote percentage exceeds by 15% what Harold Ford will get in the Tennessee Senate race.

She oughtn't have mentioned Murtha by name (in no small part because it was against House rules) but it sure was fun.

Oh, and the next time the Dems want to pull a stunt like this, it might help to remember that 99% of the public doesn't know who John Murtha is and could care less what he thinks. Of course, after the inevitable book deal and cameo in a Michael Moore film, that might change.

Posted by: AC at November 19, 2005 4:29 PM

Watched CNN a bit today (no other choice where I was) and they were playing the "GOP dirty tricks" angle to the story. I think the GOP did the right thing by calling the Dems bluff and making them look stupid. If only the GOP senate would have the same stones to do this.

Posted by: AWW at November 19, 2005 5:29 PM

The resolution failed 403-3, with six voting present. Those voting for it were Democrats Cynthia A. McKinney of Georgia, Robert Wexler of Florida and Jose E. Serrano of New York.

In other words: A racist crackpot, a notorious publicity hound, and a confirmed Castro-lover were the only Congressmen voting in favor.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at November 19, 2005 10:05 PM

I can't believe Ron Paul didn't vote for it. Wow!

Posted by: kevin whited at November 19, 2005 10:30 PM

And finally, the NRO has an article about the less-than-pure Murtha. Don't want the spotlight? Don't grandstand, Mr. Murtha.

Wasn't Murtha pretty much implicated by ABSCAM, and saved via some hardball tactics by Charlie Wilson?

Posted by: kevin whited at November 19, 2005 10:32 PM