Dems Drop Timetable Demand in War Funding Bill
In a major victory for the Bush administration, Democrats have officially abandoned their effort to include a non-binding timetable for withdrawal from Iraq in the war spending bill. On Tuesday, Democrats said they would accept a Republican plan to fund the war through the end of September. The measure would also establish benchmarks for the Iraqi government. The Democrats made the concession after President Bush vetoed an earlier bill that included a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Democrats say they do not have enough votes to override a veto and want to avoid accusations of denying funding for U.S. troops. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she may even vote against the bill because it doesn’t include a timeline. As many as one hundred-twenty Democrats are also expected to oppose the bill. Democratic leaders plan to divide the measure into two votes so that domestic spending is separated from war voting. The domestic provisions include a federal increase in the minimum wage. In a statement, Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin said: “There has been a lot of tough talk from members of Congress about wanting to end this war, but it looks like the desire for political comfort won out over real action.”
Report: Pentagon Plans Near Doubling Iraq Troop Size
Meanwhile the Hearst news bureau is reporting the Pentagon is quietly planning to nearly double the number of combat troops in Iraq this year. A new deployment order shows plans are in place to boost the number of combat troops from fifty-two thousand to ninety-eight thousand. With support troops included, the number of U.S. troops in Iraq could top two-hundred thousand by the end of the year.
"It should be obvious to anyone who reads this space on a regular basis that as a Christian, I'd have liked many times to have told Falwell to get off my side because he was making it look bad. But as a Democrat, I often wondered why Republicans didn't think the same thing.* Other Horton:
After all, he was making their party, a party of less intrusive governance and sensible spending and limited social programs, the party of hucksters who relied on fraudulent messages from God to tell them what to do. He was making their party the party of backward-thinking buffoonery, of paranoid visions of homosexuality around every corner.
He brought in a lot of votes while he did so, but in the long run, was it worth it? When the word "conservative" was so tarnished by the 2000 presidential election that candidate George W. Bush had to append "compassionate" to it in order to make it palatable to anyone with a smidgen of sense? When even now Republican primary candidates are expected to genuflect at the altar of Falwell's movement by speaking at his "university" and mouthing praises of his work lest his followers howl?
Is it worth it, the temporary electoral successes he helped to foster, if association with the means used to achieve those ends requires sensible Republicans to say, "Sure, I'm a conservative, but I'm not one of THOSE conservatives?"
Maybe it is. After all, the modern Republican Party fell all over itself to eulogize and honor Falwell after his death, and the mainstream press, for the most part, focused on his influence rather than strictly on his actions in ambivalent stories. Certainly, before he died, Falwell was enjoying the four-year ritual kissing-up that accompanies the coming of the Republican presidential primary. No one was jumping over anybody else to distance himself from the so-called moral "majority."
But with Falwell gone and the Republican Party mired in unpopularity, GOP candidates may have to find some other way to appeal to the masses without talking like tent-revival preachers facing down Satan with just a piggy bank in hand.
They could start by finding a way to make "conservative" a watchword for something other than the division Falwell preached."
"We’ve long passed the point at which the only appropriate reaction is outrage."