July 19, 2007

An Entire Night of Dirty Politics

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After President Bush and Democrats agreed to a compromise on funding the Iraq War back in May, the issue theoretically should have been closed until a comprehensive report on Iraq was issued in September. Unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided to backtrack and raised the issue again in July. Although funding for our troops does mix well with politics, Reid attached an amendment from Senator Jack Reed and Senator Carl Levin to a Pentagon spending measure, requiring troop withdrawals to begin in 120 days. And although Democrats privately knew the Levin-Reed amendment had no chance of passing, Reid not only put a chokehold on troop funding by refusing to pass the spending measure without the amendment, but he also decided to call for an all-nighter in the Senate to consider the amendment, amounting to the worst political stunt in the history of the war in Iraq.

First of all, you will often hear Reid claim how he cannot ignore the voices of the American people opposing Iraq, citing statistics on how America loathes the war in Iraq. Beyond the fact that Reid obviously did not use the same logic on illegal immigration, he also ignored the voice of the American people by deciding to not wait until September. By a margin of 51 percent to 38 percent, a poll from the Rasmussen Reports indicates that Americans believe that U.S. should wait until September to change the Iraq policy. As much as people hate Bush for steadfastly ignoring public opinion on Iraq in favor of what his generals think (and they have been more outspoken lately against a premature troop withdrawal, especially Gen. Lynch), at least he consistently listens to his generals, rather than pick and choose polls about Iraq.

However, some Republican Senators can sympathize with Reid. In fact, Reid has even publicly invited Republicans to join him. Perhaps some of them will stand with him. While Reid had some success as four Republicans did defect, when you look at who did not, Reid obviously failed to capitalize on internal divisions among Republicans on Iraq.

Take for example, Senator Voinovich. Voinovich, who opposed the original nomination of John Bolton as U.N. ambassador, privately said that the Bush Administration “f***ed up” up the war in Iraq, and warned Karl Rove that Bush’s legacy stands on the line with the Iraq War, had this to say about the Reid’s proposal: “You wonder if they are more interested in politics than dealing with the substance of this.”

Or consider Senator Lugar, the former chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, as well as Senator Warner, who holds the same distinction on the Armed Services Committee. The two drafted a proposal that would require Bush to create alternative plans for Iraq, including troop withdrawal. Bush would have to finish these plans in October and have them ready to use next year. Even better for Reid, Bush rejected this legislation. However, neither Warner nor Lugar then supported the Levin-Reed plan for Iraq. In fact, the two could not even get Reid to sign on to their own plan.

In addition to the Warner-Lugar proposal, other proposed plans would enforce the proposals of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group or alternatively revoke the 2002 authorization to the Iraq War. After wasting the Senate’s sleep trying to pass a proposal that Reid knew did not have enough votes to pass, you’d think he would consider one of these proposals with no strings attached. Think again. He instead completely pulled the bill from the floor, effectively ending the debate with no resolution, no funding for our troops, and no consideration of other plans. That drew even more criticism from one of the four Republicans who actually supported the Levin-Reed amendment, Senator Susan Collins.

This is not the first time Reid has done something like this either. After all, he did publicly proclaim that the war in Iraq is “lost.” Not going poorly, not losing right now but that can change, just flat out lost. I can certainly understand many Democrats like Obama and Biden who oppose the war but support our troops, but at the same time, no politician who says the war is “lost” can honestly support the troops. As bad as the conditions may be in Iraq, the only surefire way to guarantee defeat is to adopt Reid’s attitude, which goes beyond pessimism and criticism into pure defeatism.

If you asked Republicans which politician they consider the worst, the most frequent answer given is Hillary. The Republicans do not need a strong candidate in ’08 to fire up the base; Hillary winning the Democratic nomination will more than do that. However, in spite of all of this, Republicans should seriously consider putting Reid at a level below even Hillary. They still would have more respect for him than he does for our troops.

Correction Appended: The “Levin-Reed Amendment” was mistakenly referred to as the “Levin-Reid Amendment.” The Sun regrets this error.

  • Brian S

    It’s called the Levin-Reed amendment, referring to the Sen from Rhode Island.

  • Marcus

    Nice flacking, Mikey. Maybe if you keep it up, you can score that big position at a think tank when you graduate! The world could use more people like you.

  • Pat

    Your argument loses luster when you don’t bother to do some basic homework.

    It is the Levin-Reed amendment. Sponsored by Sen. Carl Levin D-MI and Sen. Jack Reed D-RI.

  • Marcus

    He is probably also still wondering where Obama bin Laden is located.

  • a girl from atl

    journalists never get the facts right, huh?

    jack reed and carl levin….harry reid had nothing to do with this amendment.

  • Sensible

    For Republican toadies like Wacky Mike, raising issues and making people take a stand is “dirty politics.” Sending troops into harm’s way with no clear goal or strategy and issuing delusional reports of progress is “supporting the troops.”

    Don’t they teach English at Cornell any more?

  • G Forbes

    To call the Democratic-lead session “the worst political stunt in the history of the war in Iraq” is hyperbole worthy of a FOX news “analyst.” Starting with press conferences showing the undeniable existence of WMDs all the way through to Scootergate, the Bush White House has made Iraq its own on-going political game. It’s been on amazing neo-con stunt after another … or hadn’t you noticed?

  • Anonymous

    I love reading the comments to articles like this. I especially love reading the leftist comments. Not one is ever correct, and they are almost always based on hysterics rather than fact.

    Oh, and please add more comments about how anyone who disagrees with you is always wrong, and is part of some kind of “vast right wing conspiracy”.

    And why *is* FOX news always accused of right leaning views? I guess it’s because after so many years of left leaning news shills, any organization that sits in the center looks “right leaning” to the hysterical, emotional left wing loonies.

  • Good Job with this article regarding the stupidity of Harry Reid and the rest of the Democrats in Congress. It is hard to get any non-liberal articles out of any colleges…especially Ivy League…so GOOD for you!!!

    What all these whining liberals fail to remember is how many millions of Iraqis our country freed and how we took the Ba’athists out of power when these whiners said for years it couldn’t be done without “somebody worse taking his place”…they applaud the millions of lives sacrificed to get rid of Hitler, but they whine about less than 5,000 Americans dead for the Freedom of millions (and they whine about torturing terrorists, etc.) and meanwhile, thanks to Bush and his policies, we’ve thwarted at least a dozen major terror attacks here since 9-11. Oh yeah, we freed Afghanistan too…the majority of Congress voted to go do the job…but they don’t have stomach to finish it! I hope Sudan, Iran, Syria, and Pakistan are next!!

  • Craig Cochran

    The truth about politics is that our system of government may be fine, but the people are running it have lost touch with what made America great!

    It’s certainly true that power has always been a component of politics but these days it seems to be almost the only component that counts. In fact, the objective most politicians hold dearest is getting re-elected. That translates, in their minds, to making the other party look bad! Honesty is an unfortunate victim of that mentality. And, as citizens, we are the victims of dishonesty.

    Our country has historically thrived because our elected representatives could argue different points of view and, in most cases, find a pathway that seemed to serve the majority of our citizens. That no longer even seems to be important to those in office. Instead, they slander their political opponents and hope it will take hold with the voters. We get “slivers of truth” frosted with a heavy dose of “spin” designed to pull the wool over our eyes and gain our vote. Unfortunately, we get so little unvarnished truth that we don’t know what to believe. So we pick a party and follow them blindly. That is dangerous for our country!

    Even 911 only slowed this railroad down. Most politicians, whether they believed him or not, jumped behind George Bush after terrorists ravaged our country. Unfortunatley, they didn’t mean it. They just needed a place to hide until they saw which way the wind was going to blow. Now we regularly hear claims that, even though they voted for the war, they didn’t mean it! And these people are “leaders”??? Better watch out. That is the kind of leadership that will guide you over a cliff – while they stand off to the side and watch you fall!

    Our politicians have completely forgotten that it is their responsibility to do what is right for America – not what is right for their careers!

    The behavior of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi has been pathetic. It has been a clear example of party first, country second. Unfortunately, that principle seems to apply to both parties these days. Reed and Pelosi just happen to be in power now. We are no longer “One nation ….” – and our politicians are perfectly happy with that! It serves their interests well.

    Americans had better wake up! Our future is at stake and right now, at least, it’s not in very good hands!

  • charley a

    The stunt of an all-nighter pulled by Harry Reid and the democrats is a solid indication that this group does not know how to handle success. I don’t recall(famous Clinton line) the Republicans ever doing such a thing when the dems filabustered judges. They won the power but have no plan for the piece….the piece of history that they are currently screwing up.
    History will show that despite all of the grandstanding and harping on the struggles of war, we and more importantly President George W. Bush was correct in deceiding to meet the challenge of a peaceful middle east head on. Once we have two peaceful,democratic nations established in that region things will slowly begin to change even more and for the better.
    We are still in Germany and Bosnia and many other nations that we have helped in the past. We will be in Irag for a long period of time. The old proverb says that patience is virtue………..the democrats have niether.

  • Dan Rhoads

    “And although Democrats privately knew the Levin-Reed amendment had no chance of passing, Reid not only put a chokehold on troop funding by refusing to pass the spending measure without the amendment, but he also decided to call for an all-nighter in the Senate to consider the amendment, amounting to the worst political stunt in the history of the war in Iraq. ”

    Oh, now that’s rich!!!! Bush lying to the country on every issue imaginable for 7 years is okay, but when he’s opposed, that’s a dirty political stunt. LOL

    Wake up and smell the coffee, Mr. Wacker. What we need is for Sen. Reid and others to develop *more* of a backbone, not less, and for someone to stand up to the braindead and corrupt Republican leadership. .