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Bush vs. Congress: the Iraq spending bill
April 24, 2007 10:37 AM   Subscribe

Elizabeth Drew analyzes the current confrontation between the White House and Congress over continued funding for the Iraq war. Under Nancy Pelosi's leadership, Congress has reached an agreement to pass a bill which approves $124 billion in funding for the war, but sets a timetable for withdrawal. Following the passage of the Senate bill in March, Bush gave a more-than-normally petulant speech against the Democratic proposals—prompting Pelosi, like a mother scolding a teenager, to urge Bush to "calm down with the threats" and to "take a deep breath." This was the first public suggestion by a prominent elected figure that the President lacks maturity—a widely held view in Washington.
posted by russilwvong (54 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bush plans to veto the bill and blame Congress for the lack of funding: "They know I’m going to veto a bill containing these provisions, and they know that my veto will be sustained. But instead of fashioning a bill I could sign, the Democratic leaders chose to further delay funding our troops, and they chose to make a political statement."

Paul Krugman quotes Lincoln: "A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, 'Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!'"
posted by russilwvong at 10:37 AM on April 24, 2007


I absolutely love, love, love how Pelosi gets all "grandma don't take no mess" with Bush.
posted by jonp72 at 10:43 AM on April 24, 2007


Elizabeth Drew is one of my favorite political writers. Thanks for this post.
posted by blucevalo at 10:44 AM on April 24, 2007


George still doesn't understand that he was merely elected, not coronated.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:45 AM on April 24, 2007


I also loved Pelosi's "Calm down with the threats" statement. One of her most brilliant moments, perfectly modulated, perfectly executed.
posted by blucevalo at 10:45 AM on April 24, 2007


Since the Democrats are doing exactly what polls say the public wants, a veto just puts him in more hot water. So he doesn't get re-elected again in 2008, which is great, but then what do the Dems do next? He's not going to cave to public pressure, as illustrated by Gonzo.

So do the Ds do what I (and Feingold, btw) have suggested which is just resubmit the same bill and let him keep vetoing it? Or do they "get serious", as some "moderates" advise and give him what he, but neither the American people nor reality, wants?

(Of course, the first step is to hold a veto override vote to again put the Rs on record as supporting Mr 33%)
posted by DU at 10:46 AM on April 24, 2007


Sorry, got a little carried away there. I'll RTFA now.
posted by DU at 10:48 AM on April 24, 2007


"So he doesn't get re-elected again in 2008"


buh?
posted by stenseng at 11:02 AM on April 24, 2007


So he doesn't get re-elected again in 2008, which is great

It's also the law.
posted by NationalKato at 11:04 AM on April 24, 2007


NationalKato - For the moment.
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:05 AM on April 24, 2007


What will form the basis of our economy when the war is 'over'?
posted by buzzman at 11:05 AM on April 24, 2007


Lacks maturity? What he lacks is sense or an ability to reason.

I know Downs Syndrome people with a better grasp on reality.

That a timetable gives "foreknowledge" to our enemies is absurd. He may have been correct if any of the Administrations plans demonstrated ANY sort of understanding or strategic competency. But at this point our enemies don't need "foreknowledge."

And, if his critique of timetables is that it gives insurgents a ready made strategy to wait us out then why, oh, why did he announce plans for his god damned surge (AKA: reinforcements) five months in advance? He told them exactly where these guys were gong and when they were getting there. And what did the insurgent groups do? They relocated from Baghdad and adjusted tactics but never let up in the slightest. That was Bush's "success?"
posted by tkchrist at 11:07 AM on April 24, 2007


Bush fumes when he doesn't get his way (and takes covert revenge), and rewards those who are loyal to the pack, no matter their qualification. It's classic nepotism. Thanks to our founding fathers for the Constitution and term limits.

According to historical rankings of US Presidents Bush is ranked 22 out of 42, about the same as Clinton.
posted by stbalbach at 11:09 AM on April 24, 2007


"So he doesn't get re-elected again in 2008, which is great"

Gentlemen, I present: The Joke
posted by DU at 11:12 AM on April 24, 2007


/sarcasm on

I'm sooo glad we have Elizabeth Drew to 'splain everything.

/sarcasm off

I stopped reading after the second sentence when she claims to know what the majority of both parties favor "no matter what they say publicly". I guess she's psychic.
posted by tadellin at 11:17 AM on April 24, 2007


For folks like me who don't really know what you're talking about: Pelosi "calm down" video.
posted by Anything at 11:25 AM on April 24, 2007 [2 favorites]


According to historical rankings of US Presidents Bush is ranked 22 out of 42, about the same as Clinton.

Based on two polls, done in 2002 and 2005. Methinks (hopes?) future polls with this catastrophe in the rear-view will be more realistic.
posted by inigo2 at 11:26 AM on April 24, 2007


I stopped reading after the second sentence when she claims to know what the majority of both parties favor "no matter what they say publicly". I guess she's psychic.

Right, because politicians aren't the type to say one thing while believing exactly the opposite. Nor would they ever float their true beliefs out to journalists, off the record.

/sarcasm off
posted by Nahum Tate at 11:26 AM on April 24, 2007


tadellin, you better hope the majority of the Rs favor pulling out or they are going to get voted out and you can say hello to Democratic supermajorities in both houses pretty soon. You can doubt what the politicians think, but the American mood is pretty clear.
posted by DU at 11:29 AM on April 24, 2007


Er, don't-know-what-you're-talking-about as in did-not-see-it-back-then.
posted by Anything at 11:33 AM on April 24, 2007


I guess she's psychic.

Or just paying attention.
posted by NationalKato at 11:40 AM on April 24, 2007


That was a great read. Thanks, russilwvong.
posted by minda25 at 11:55 AM on April 24, 2007


When the Dems took Congress, I was happy to see a woman finally become Speaker, but I expected YA weak politico. To my surprise she (and Reid, to a lesser extent) have really wasted no time in getting the rank-and-file in line and going for the jugular on a weak foe. It's like someone finally read the GOP playbook.
posted by mkultra at 12:16 PM on April 24, 2007


Drew's work in the NYRB has been some of the most consistently astute political journalism of this administration. Thanks for the link.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 12:16 PM on April 24, 2007


This Elizabeth woman, does she maybe have a sister?
posted by From Bklyn at 12:16 PM on April 24, 2007


I stopped reading after the second sentence when she claims to know what the majority of both parties favor "no matter what they say publicly". I guess she's psychic.

Drew is incredibly widely respected as not only an astute observer, but as a great political reporter who takes the time and effort to really understand the stories she reports. But don't let that stand in the way of your ignorance.
posted by OmieWise at 12:24 PM on April 24, 2007


What will form the basis of our economy when the war is 'over'?

I suggest seizing the assets of Halliburton, KBR, and the rest of the war profiteers, and spending the take on renewable-energy technologies.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:32 PM on April 24, 2007


If the Democrats do this right, they will pass enough funding for three months each three months and watch as the hatred for the war grows. Then they will send the bill back to Bush with a withdrawal date.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:38 PM on April 24, 2007


"and the rest of the war profiteers"

Feinstein & her husband would be against that one, as they're among the war profiteers.

(If you want a citation, just google for "feinstein war profiteer" and take your pick.)
posted by drstein at 12:45 PM on April 24, 2007


Pelosi telling Bush to "calm down," a brilliant stunt IMO, was pretty much a modulation of Reagan saying "There you go again" to Carter.

Discuss.

Further, I think we can all agree that the American media doesn't do nuance. When Bush vetoes the military spending bill, headlines will scream "BUSH VETOES ARMY FUNDING." It will be structurally impossible, for better or worse, for any American headline to scream "BUSH VETOES ARMY FUNDING BILL WHICH HAS REASONABLE BENCHMARKS ATTACHED." Excepting Freep and LGF of course, but nobody reads those sites any more.
posted by bardic at 1:30 PM on April 24, 2007


bardic,
BUSH VETOES WITHDRAWAL TIMELINE?
posted by Crash at 1:58 PM on April 24, 2007


tadellin, you better hope the majority of the Rs favor pulling out or they are going to get voted out and you can say hello to Democratic supermajorities in both houses pretty soon. You can doubt what the politicians think, but the American mood is pretty clear.

You underestimate the power of gerrymandering.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:06 PM on April 24, 2007


Crash, s'possible. But I still think you'd be giving the American media too much credit. Dems send a check to Bush for him to sign and fund the US military in Iraq. He cancels said check. That's going to be damn hard for him and Rove to spin, and I think they know it -- it's why they've been so bed-wettingly shrill about all of this.
posted by bardic at 2:22 PM on April 24, 2007


Thorzdad—"Coronation" might not be the right word for it, but I don't feel like "election" is either.
posted by adamrice at 2:26 PM on April 24, 2007


But instead of fashioning a bill I could sign, the Democratic leaders...

Hey look, the guy's trying. He didn't call them Democrat leaders.
posted by mmrtnt at 2:47 PM on April 24, 2007


Is it just me, or does Pelosi sound more original and forceful than Reid? This isn't the first time I've thought to myself, "Wow. That was a dopeslap"

Reid, for all his stubbornness seems to come darn close to whining simply because the words he chooses, his intonation and sentence structure are weak. He just doesn't have the timing to effectively neuter someone with words. And I swear, if I hear him say "Rubber Stamp Congress" one more time, I'm gonna send him a thesaurus.
posted by mmrtnt at 2:56 PM on April 24, 2007


Bardic, I hope you're right. But I've been amazed at how the media has spun headlines in the past.

A quick search of google news for Bush & Veto shows why I'm pessimistic:
As Bush readies Iraq pullout veto, angry words fly
Bush Again Vows to Veto War Spending Bill with Timeline for Iraq Withdrawal
Bush, Reid trade barbs over Iraq bill as veto looms

A few mention funding in the headline, but plenty leave that minor tidbit out. I'll leave out what I think the headlines would be if the Dem's didn't pass a military funding bill, since it's just speculation.
posted by Crash at 3:18 PM on April 24, 2007


I can't believe Pelosi would be so crass as to go all politics at this point. It is still too soon since the 2006 congressional massacre. It's like the democrats are dancing on the electoral corpses of republicans, Where is the sense of decency in the politics today?

The decent thing to do is to let the president have a couple of years of unchecked power so he can properly mourn the loss of his unaccountability. How would you feel if you were born on third base with a spoon in your mouth and you took too large a lead off and got picked off and then got repeated do-overs and finally found yourself in the batters box facing a fresh relief pitcher and a BALCO grand jury? Have some pity. It's not like he is responsible for anybody getting killed...

I predict that in the next six months the surge will show signs of evidence indicating the potential for the possibility of progress down the road if only we stay the course by turning the corner.

Then the pundits who accurately predicted everything that the administration has claimed has happed will be vindicated by the administration claims. Trust me they deserve your trust because they are trustworthy.
posted by srboisvert at 3:43 PM on April 24, 2007


"BUSH VETOES ARMY FUNDING."

not on planet Earth. on planet Earth the headline'll be something like "BUSH VETOES DEMS WITHDRAWAL BILL".

or, merrily, "BUSH VETOES DEMS SURRENDER BILL"
posted by matteo at 3:55 PM on April 24, 2007


"BUSH VETOES AID AND COMFORT TO TERRORISTS BILL"

/Fox
posted by zippy at 7:49 PM on April 24, 2007


Mhahaha, decency in politics. Good one. Maybe you didn't watch Pelosi's speech - fairly eloquent, reasoned and calm. Going politics at this point - Jesus, the word 'politics' translates with the 'ordering and maintenance of the city' - if you don't think the ordering of the Iraqi country isn't politics, then what the hell else would you call it?

I think we've given the president the opportunity for unchecked power. He can deal with his (un)accountability or lack thereof in front of the Hague as far as I'm concerned.
posted by rmm at 8:35 PM on April 24, 2007


rmm: Irony. Educate yourself.

... and that's one to grow on!
posted by mkultra at 7:11 AM on April 25, 2007


Thanks, mkultra. Knew what the word meant without the wikipedia entry there - unless of course you wanted to debate which particular form of irony this is.

What is with people who snark? What's with 'educate yourself'? Is that what constitutes a thoughtful reply?
posted by rmm at 8:24 AM on April 25, 2007


Is that what constitutes a thoughtful reply?

I refer you to srboisvert's post, and your response.

Do you understand, or do I need to spell it out in small words?
posted by mkultra at 8:40 AM on April 25, 2007


You underestimate the power of gerrymandering.

overly clever gerrymandering is what gave us the Dems the House.

Good luck gerrymandering [any more than it already is by design] the Senate, btw.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:10 AM on April 25, 2007


Sure, mkultra, spell it out in small words - I have a feeling you're about to do it for me anyway. Tell me, are you this condescending in real life, or do you just save it all up for the Blue?

For what it's worth, I'm not a huge ra-ra cheerleader for Pelosi or most of the Democrats, but I hardly think her doing her job is necessarily 'crass'. And like I mentioned, war is political - most everything in life has a political dimension.
posted by rmm at 12:02 PM on April 25, 2007


rmm: srboisvert was being sarcastic.
posted by russilwvong at 12:46 PM on April 25, 2007


Reid to Cheney: I'm not going to get into a name-calling match with somebody who has a 9 percent approval rating.
posted by russilwvong at 12:49 PM on April 25, 2007


rmm, you're adorable.
posted by mkultra at 12:50 PM on April 25, 2007


Why can't Bush sign the bill, then add a signing statement that he can ignore the withdrawal provisions?
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 2:06 PM on April 25, 2007


The House has passed the bill. On the final vote, 216 Democrats and 2 Republicans supported the bill; 195 Republicans and 13 Democrats opposed it. The Senate is expected to pass the bill today.
posted by russilwvong at 9:56 AM on April 26, 2007


Whoa! More Dem defectors than Repubs. Whattup wi dat?
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:05 PM on April 26, 2007


Democrats voting against:
Udall (CO)
Barrow; Marshall (GA)
Taylor (MS)
Boren (OK)
Carney; Holden (PA)
Matheson (UT)

There were also a lot of abstentions.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:39 PM on April 26, 2007


Bardic, just a quick follow up:

Yahoo news headline:
Bush vetoes troop withdrawal bill
NY Times headline:
Citing 'Rigid' Deadline, Bush vetoes Iraq Bill
Chicago Tribune headline:
Bush vetoes war funding bill
Washington Post:
President Bush Vetoes Troop Withdrawal Bill

So chicago got it right, but a quick check shows more headlines talk about the withdrawal then the funding. It's too bad the liberal media is so tough on Bush...
posted by Crash at 7:09 PM on May 1, 2007


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