Harry Reid shows us how it’s done; Barack Obama loses the Democratic nomination

by Jay Stevens

It’s time for the Senate to stand up and represent the American people.

President Bush, of course, has threatened to veto the recently passed Iraq War supplemental funding legislation that puts a timetable for American troop withdrawal from Iraq. This is the bill that most Americans want.

Harry Reid responded by co-sponsoring Russ Feingold’s bill to cut funding altogether for the war, and put it up for vote in the Senate.

If that vote comes to the Senate, it’s going to be gut-check time for the lawmakers. They’ll have to be bold, and either approve or disapprove of the war, once and for all, right next to their names for us all to remember and hold accountable. That is, knowing the popularity of the war with the electorate, it’s going to be very difficult for Senators up for election in 2008 or 2010 (if funding continues) to continue their support for Iraq.


The Iraq Supplemental + benchmarks + withdrawal plan is extremely popular with voters. If Bush gives them the finger, it’ll give congressional Democrats more political leeway in approaches toward ending the war, up to and including defunding.

Meanwhile, Obama has just lost the Democratic primary. Kos says this little stunt doesn’t make Obama a “non-starter” for his primary vote, but it’s a monumental act of betrayal to the party, to the country, to the servicemen and -women serving in Iraq.

(Watch this video and tell me that the war’s worth it, right after you tell me what the h*ll it’s about.)

Wulfgar! — naturally – finds the proper emotional tone when considering Obama’s stupendous gaffe:

People are dying here. America is bleeding money here. The Deciderator wants that to continue such that he might secure his legacy by leaving this clusterfr@ck to his successor. More lives, more money, and so goes the circle of life, death and civil war in a country we have no reason to be in. And, on the one issue that matters most to the American people and America’s future, Barrack Ray Vaughn Obama has signed off on whatever Bush wants. I cannot, I will not, support this man for President.

Or take Colby’s perspective:

Yeah, that is the way to force the President to change his Iraq policy; issue completely empty threats that he doesn’t have to take seriously. Any decent parent could tell you that threats without follow-through are a useless way to change someone’s behavior. No wonder this President thinks he doesn’t answer to anyone, apparently he doesn’t have to!

Don Pogreba:

Insane. If we’ve learned anything that past few years, it’s that “The Decider” doesn’t much care about pressure, or politics, or policy. Obama’s statement is a clear admission that he will, as the Democrats have done over and over, simply cave before the threat of the White House’s crude and illogical rhetoric.

This is a historically weak President, supporting and unpopular and profoundly wrong policy. If this isn’t the moment to stand up, when is?


I flatter myself thinking Obama’s people are out there checking in on the blogosphere’s reaction to his unprincipled stand. But if you are, you all just got flamed by Montana Democrats. That’s bad news for you folks, because not only do we like backbone in our politicians, we’re a d*mn good barometer of how the country will fall. And this post is coming from a guy who was this close to backing you, early.

Obama, we’ve been hammering away at our representatives for years now to represent us for a change, and you’ve thrown it in our faces. Thanks. Good luck with that.

  1. Colby Natale

    Bravo, good roundup. Nice to see such a strong reaction to such an insulting statement.

  2. Right now, only 28% of Americans favor a move to cut-off funding. However, over 60% oppose the war.

    The Democrats would be better served by impeaching this President (and VP) and then withdrawing troops on their own terms.

  3. Turner

    John Edwards, anyone?

  4. Right now, only 28% of Americans favor a move to cut-off funding. However, over 60% oppose the war.

    The Democrats would be better served by impeaching this President (and VP) and then withdrawing troops on their own terms.

    I think Kos is right when he says that, if the President vetoes the funding bill that sets a withdrawal timeline, a vote on yanking funding will seem more reasonable, given the rogue President.

    Even if it fails, it makes the possiblity more real by pushing the envelope on what Congress can realistically consider.

    As for impeachment…well…it’s time-consuming and iffy. I think the President should be impeached; but are there enough votes?

  5. Squid

    The democrats either have to s**t or get off the pot. Impeach Bush and cut off the funding…NOW!!!

    Figure the odds, the gutless leadership would rather keep up the incessant whining from dusk to dawn rather than take any action that could be the least bit confrontational. This is the leadership the democrats say the American people elected to get the job done? That weasel Hairy Reed makes me want to throw up the most, closely followed by any you name him or her democrat in Congress.

  6. Turner

    Let’s see. If we successfully impeach Bush we’re stuck with, uh, President Cheney?

    I’m not sure he’d be any worse. Actually I’d rather see both these rascals canned, leaving us with (drum-roll) President Pelosi! Yay!

  7. Squid

    I think Ms. Botox would probably make a good president. Of what, I don’t know. She does represent the San Francisco area, so with all the deviancy that goes on there, I’m sure there is something she would find comfortable presiding over. You know, something similar to the job she has now, as leader of the House democrats.

  8. Seems like what you’re interested in, Jay, is making sure that the Dems no way no how get any political capital out of this. And you’re pissed at Obama for telling it like it is because if you think Pelosi is about to sponsor a vote on cutting off all the funding and therefore endanger her majority (not to mention probably lose the vote), well, you’re not watching very closely.

    Could be there are more important things than the race for the Democratic nomination and they might require greater strategic tact. Pickett’s Charge went badly the last time I checked.

    You deceive yourself if you think the Senate managed to get this through based on anything except the expectation that it would be vetoed and only further sully Bush. From the beginning, the timetable has been about politics and the endgame, once the vote in the Senate was cast, has been easy to see because there will be more opportunities to press for a timetable. Not like this President is going to remove the
    troops under any circumstances anyway.

    While that sucks, you might want to resist the urge to immolate someone with the frankness to say what everybody knows instead of sticking relentlessly on message. I’m holding out for politics with substance and that requires something more than repeating tired talking points.

  9. I don’t believe it’s politically astute to cave into a President with less than a 30 percent approval rating. Reid is a smart political animal; what’s needed here to send a message to Bush about consequences. The plan voted on by the House and Senate has all the elements that are popular — that’s why the Senate Republicans rolled over on it and are going to let the Prez take the hit for it. Even a failed vote will tarnish those that continue to support the President. In the end, the negotiation will have to be over concrete timetables, not if there are timetables.

    And how could these talking points be “tired”? They’re only now being used by Democrats.

    I’m immolating Obama, not for not being anti-war enough, but for going against party leadership on a crucial issue requiring unity and backing a popular stance. Tacking with Bush on foreign policy has been a disaster; and now it’s unpopular. So…why?

  10. It’s just political theater and you’re pissed because Obama flubbed his lines. But the show will go on and no new ending is in the works.

    The Dems already set the timetable as late as people in Washington effectively seem to be able to think, near the end of the next election cycle. I guess they could move them back until after the election or demand some less drastic trajectory but then that would also yield a later withdrawal.

    As for the talking points business, I’m betraying my general ambivalence about politics in the age of endless repetition. All talking points sound tired to me, just as soon as I hear them. This may in fact be a metaphor that is itself worn out and I shall endeavor to come up with some new way to characterize words chosen for their effect rather than meaning.

    Overall, I am betraying an even greater indifference because, while I am glad the Dems got this legislation through, I don’t believe this war is about to end. In fact, I think there is a fairly good chance not even the election will do that but certainly Bush will not withdraw. New leadership is the only way out, and it will have to be someone with the frankness to say what everybody knows, the wisdom to find choose another strategy and the humility to admit the mistakes that both of those things will mean. Saying what he thinks instead of what he’s been programmed to is a demonstration of the qualities of an effective executive, which is after all what the president is.

  11. Fair enough. Point well taken.

    Tho’ I quibble that Obama’s statements fulfill your hope for “new leadership.” His stance is the old, roll-over-whenever-a-Republican-suggests-you’re-not-strong-enough-on-defense act, hardly a new line of thought. Running away from your values because you might appear weak, IMHO, is not the quality for an effective executive. But Obama’s “real” motives are moot. We’ll just have to see how he handles himself in the near future.

  12. Lauri

    boy, you guys sure called this one!


  13. Last I checked, McCain leads Obama in the state.

  1. 1 On the Iraq War, Congress, and the U.S. Constitution « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Harry Reid shows us how it’s done; Barack Obama loses the Democratic nomination […]

  2. 2 Reconsidering Obama and the funding of the war « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Harry Reid shows us how it’s done; Barack Obama loses the Democratic nomination […]

  3. 3 Open thread: the Reid/Feingold Iraq bill « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Harry Reid shows us how it’s done; Barack Obama loses the Democratic nomination […]

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