March 21, 2007


Democrats struggle to prevail on war bill: Majority not assured in showdown vote (Jeff Zeleny, March 21, 2007, International Herald Tribune)

The consternation among Democrats on both the left and the right has made the outcome of the vote far less certain than leaders had hoped, particularly after respected figures like Representative John Lewis, a liberal Georgia Democrat, declared his opposition, saying: "I will not and cannot vote for another dollar or another dime to support this war."

On the eve of the final debate, Democrats said they were short of the 218 votes needed to pass the legislation. Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the Democratic majority leader, conceded: "If you are asking me, do I have 218 people that I know are definite yeses right this minute? The answer to that is no."

The Iraq vote, which could be delayed until Friday to give leaders more time to build support, provides one of the most significant tests of the new Democratic Congress. The debate over influencing the administration's war strategy has unsettled the party's caucus, particularly the newly elected members who came to Washington on a wave of discontent over the war in Iraq.

Representative Carol Shea-Porter, a New Hampshire Democrat who defeated a two-term Republican last fall by waging an antiwar campaign, said the Iraq debate had proved to be more distressing -- and complicated -- than she imagined. Two weeks ago, as she suited up in body armor before climbing into a Black Hawk helicopter to fly into Baghdad, she said she began to plainly see both views, but wanted to support the troops and bring a responsible end to the war.

When she returned to her district last weekend and told constituents she planned to support the Iraq legislation because it had a specific troop withdrawal date, she said she encountered "no murmuring, but screaming."

Even her family was furious by her decision, she said.

"I was pretty clear that I was against this war and it is a shock for people to hear me say that I'm supporting the supplement," Shea- Porter said in Washington Wednesday. "I would have preferred it to happen faster, but I'm not a Congress of one."

There are few votes to spare from either side of the party's spectrum, with many members of the liberal Out of Iraq Caucus ideologically opposed to legislation they believe would fuel the war for at least another year and a half. Many conservative Democrats regard the measure as one that would tie the hands of the president, a notion that does not sit well in their districts.

Who won the election?

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 21, 2007 3:38 PM

Boy, Orrin, it sounds like your elected representatives are as wacky as mine these days!

No, mine are still wackier.

Posted by: Bryan at March 21, 2007 4:47 PM

Nobody "won" the election, which is why there is such consternation.

And the newly elected Dems are learning that they cannot just vote to 'end' the war, because they won't win again in 2008 (unless they are from districts like Lewis's - safe for life, absent any evil or nuttiness like Cynthia McKinney).

Being George McGovern carries a stiff penalty, and the Dems may not be willing to pay it again. Especially since the GOP isn't running Nixon next time.

And the press isn't going to have a 'Nixon' to kick around in 2009. Rudy, Fred Thompson, and even McCain will start with essentially a clean slate, and the blind hatred the press has shown Bush won't carry over well into the next administration. The Left will hate no matter what, but the media (AP, NYT, LAT, WaPo, the reporters at the WSJ, CNN, etc.) maintains their frothing at great risk. If Morgan Stanley can ever force the Sulzbergers to cede control at the NYT, watch out.

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 21, 2007 7:42 PM

Reality is an awfully hard wall for even the flightiest moonbat to run into.

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 22, 2007 7:12 AM

Reality is an awfully hard wall for even the flightiest moonbat to run into.

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 22, 2007 7:13 AM