We have observed the same song and dance so many times before it’s hard to believe more didn’t see it coming. The Democrats once again let down their constituents and all the other voters who ushered them in to power last November — believing, in utter stupidity, that they would somehow halt the madness of the Iraq war by challenging the Bush administration and their Republican allies in Congress.
By now we should all know about the ugly stunt they pulled last week. The Democratic majority in the House passed an appropriations bill that would give Bush more money to continue his war. The legislation, which will likely be knocked out by the White House, calls for the troops to come home later this year. Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi, believed this would somehow appease their antiwar base. Regrettably their smarmy attempt has absolutely no teeth whatsoever. Having been one of the unfortunate geeks who actually read the bill, I can tell you only one thing — it’s a complete farce.
In order for troops to come home the Bushies would have to confirm whether or not “progress” had been made in Iraq, not Congress. So with more money in hand and sole authority on deciding whether or not the war in going as planned, the White House, even if Bush signed the bill, would never have to end the thing. The proposal wasn’t a compromise as many have claimed, but a dagger in the heart of all those of us who want to bring this war to a screeching halt.
Fortunately these are the sorts of betrayals that fuel activists like Cindy Sheehan and CODEPINK in to putting their energy in opposing the Democratic leadership. Nancy Kricorian, who manages CODEPINK’s ListenHillary.org, a site dedicated to challenging Sen. Clinton’s stance on the Iraq war, recently told me why she believes it is imperative that we take on the Democratic stalwarts like Hillary Clinton.
“Hillary is the current Democratic frontrunner for the Presidential nomination and because she is one of the most powerful people in the Party so we feel it is important to hold her accountable for her voting record on and her public statements about Iraq,” Kricorian said. “We hope that by pressuring her to change her stance … we will have an impact on the [Democrats]. We are tired of convoluted rhetoric and empty words — we want Hillary and the Democrats to stop buying Bush’s war.”
Cindy Sheehan reiterated a similar line when I recently spoke with her. “We need to take Hillary and (Nancy) Pelosi on to reflect true progressive anti-war values, not AIPAC or neocon values,” she said. “It is important to keep the pressure on her and the others, because number one, she needs to be exposed, and two, she needs to know that we are not fooled by her.”
As Election Spectacle 2008 takes center stage over the next year, let’s not buy the Democratic bull that they are going to do anything substantial to end the war in Iraq, even if Barack, Hillary, and rest of the gang promise as much. We gave them an antiwar mandate and they still want to give Bush the sole authority in deciding when the time is right to bring the troops home and billions more to continue the war.
The Democrats aren’t a party of opposition, but a party of capitulation.
JOSHUA FRANK is the author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush and edits www.BrickBurner.org