Saturday, February 17, 2007

Senate ducks debate on 'surge'

After a brutal week of listening to Republicans in the House of Representatives struggle to defend the Bush administration’s “surge” strategy, Republicans in the Senate have voted to spare themselves the same embarrassment. AP reports:

“...For the second time in two weeks, the Senate voted not to debate a non-binding measure that would repudiate Bush's recent decision to send 21,500 troops to Iraq to bolster security in Baghdad and Anbar province. The Democrats had wanted to bring the measure to the floor but failed to overcome Republican resistance. The vote was 56 in favor and 34 against. Under Senate rules, 60 votes were needed to bring the resolution to the floor for debate.”

I listened to a lot of the debate in the House and I found it to be quite entertaining. Perhaps that’s due in some part to the fact I agree with the side that prevailed. But in a larger sense I am glad to see such matters being discussed on live television with a record being made of where and how each speaker stood.

Therein can probably be found the biggest reason the Republican senators blocked the debate from reaching their floor. The unlucky Republicans still defending Bush’s folly, who are running for office next year, do not want to supply their opponents in primaries and general elections with footage of them saying things in 2007 that will sound awful in 2008, when support for the failed Bush policy in Iraq may be down to 15 to 20 percent.


Eoghann said...

How is it that something described as "non-binding" can be called a success? Wouldn't you agree that something that's "non-binding" could also be called "meaningless?"

F.T. Rea said...


No, I do not agree. I heard that said many times from the Republicans during the debate in the House. Having each legislator go on the record, now, for the first time since 2002, is important and quite useful.

To me the debate showed the world that democracy, the will of the people, is thriving in the USA. And, I have no doubt that the American voters do not support the "surge" as a solution to our problem in Iraq.

Eoghann said...

But whether you agree with the surge or not, if the purpose of the exercise was simply to put congress on record, then it seems much to do about nothing. Posturing for the next election.

I think that if they're going to go on record, then why not make it binding? I'd think that the opponents of the war or the "surge" would simply want the Dems to do what was now in their power to do, end it. Stop the funding, hold Bush's feet to the fire, and make him bring the troops home.

But we both know that's not going to happen; like voting on anything related to Social Security. It's simply not how things are done in Washington. Just more of the same politics as usual.

F.T. Rea said...


Politicians do politics. I don’t know why anyone would expect Democratic legislators to stop being politicians, just because they have taken control of Congress away from the Republicans.

My sense of what the Democrats are doing is that they want to move step-by-step. Having the resolution debate on television aired out the arguments from both sides of the aisle for all to see and hear. The Democratic leadership must have believed that process would benefit their side of it.

I think they’re right. Going for the most extreme measures first would have been a strategic mistake.

Also, by moving in a deliberate way -- by holding more hearings and looking more deeply into the problems associated with Bush’s policy in Iraq -- the Democrats don’t come off as a pack of hotheads, just looking to make trouble. But anyone who wants the Democrats to stop acting like politics matter, too, is hoping for something more than solutions. They are looking for miracles.