Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Christopher Dodd’s Make or Break Moment

 

President Bush is no chump. He has figured out how to emasculate the Democrats (those that aren’t already eunuchs). Instead of making a decent estimate of the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and asking for it up front for the 2008 fiscal year, he is asking for it piecemeal, giving Democrats opportunity after opportunity to turn him down and end it all, knowing all the while that they’ll cave and give him his war money.

Each time he does this, and each time House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s minions deliver, the Democrats sink in public esteem, to the point that they’re now approaching single-digit approval ratings.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), a veteran legislator and son of a senator, and a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, has shown, however, how to fight back. Not on the war funding, although he claims to want the war ended immediately, but on the issue of the Constitution, and specifically the warrantless spying on Americans by the National Security Agency.

Dodd, last week, announced that he was placing a “hold” on new permanent legislation developed by the Democrats, in coordination with some Senate Republicans, saying he would not let it pass unless a provision granting immunity to telecom companies that had been aiding the NSA in their spying activities was removed. He vowed to filibuster the bill if his colleagues tried to move it to a vote.

In so doing, he gave the lie to the fraud that has been perpetrated by Pelosi and Reid that they and the Democrats are “powerless” to stop the war unless they have “60 votes” in the Senate. (That canard has been spouted so many times, and repeated so often uncritically in the media, that many Americans now actually think it takes 60 votes, not a simple majority of 51, to pass legislation in the US Senate!)

What Pelosi and Reid are alluding to actually is the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture on a filibuster. They are claiming that efforts to end the war cannot succeed because any bill calling for withdrawal would be filibustered by Republicans and that the Democrats, with a 51-majority caucus in the Senate, could not stop a filibuster. Dodd, however, is showing that they can prevent bad legislation by being the ones doing the filibustering, and that they then only need 41 votes–something they clearly could muster if the party’s leadership were behind it.

So Dodd is testing out this theory on the stinking betrayal of a bill the Democrats have come up with for the NSA. If he succeeds in blocking that bill, he will finally have to put his money where his mouth is, and anti-war bonifides by placing a similar hold on Bush’s new request for $46 billion more for the Iraq War.

That in turn would put the Democrats to the test. If, after running a campaign last fall promising they would end Bush’s war, and after failing miserably to do so for the past 10 months in power in Congress, they did not support a filibuster against further funding, they would stand exposed as the worst kind of charlatans and fraudsters.

Dodd, meanwhile, just two and a half months ahead of the start of the primary season, has a golden chance to vault himself to the head of the Democratic pack by making a genuine, concrete effort to end the war.

It wouldn’t matter if he failed. If Sen. Dodd were to put a hold on funding for the war, and were then to stand in the well of the Senate and filibuster any effort to pass such a bill, forcing his Democratic colleagues to expose themselves finally as being either for ending the war or continuing it, he would be an instant star of the anti-war movement. The 80-90 percent of Democrats who are opposed to the war would stampede to his support. Obama and Clinton, who are in the Senate with Dodd, would be forced to decide whether they wanted to continue to play to the party’s right wing and its corporate funders, or whether they would cast their lot with the peace wing.

So Sen. Dodd, this is it. Blocking the NSA from spying on us without probable cause is a good thing, and we thank you for that. But there is an even more urgent matter: Americans and innocent Iraqis are dying every day in a criminal and pointless war. If you can use Senate privilege to block the NSA bill, you can use it to block further funding for the Iraq War. And if you really want to end that war, as you keep saying you do, you have proven that you have the power to do it.

Are you just another big talker, or are you going to do it?

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s newest book is “The Case for Impeachment“,
co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@mindspring.com

 

 

More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

October 22, 2018
Henry Giroux
Neoliberalism in the Age of Pedagogical Terrorism
Melvin Goodman
Washington’s Latest Cold War Maneuver: Pulling Out of the INF
David Mattson
Basket of Deplorables Revisited: Grizzly Bears at the Mercy of Wyoming
Michelle Renee Matisons
Hurricane War Zone Further Immiserates Florida Panhandle, Panama City
Tom Gill
A Storm is Brewing in Europe: Italy and Its Public Finances Are at the Center of It
Christopher Brauchli
The Liars’ Bench
Gary Leupp
Will Trump Split the World by Endorsing a Bold-Faced Lie?
Michael Howard
The New York Times’ Animal Cruelty Fetish
Alice Slater
Time Out for Nukes!
Geoff Dutton
Yes, Virginia, There are Conspiracies—I Think
Daniel Warner
Davos in the Desert: To Attend or Not, That is Not the Question
Priti Gulati Cox – Stan Cox
Mothers of Exiles: For Many, the Child-Separation Ordeal May Never End
Manuel E. Yepe
Pence v. China: Cold War 2.0 May Have Just Begun
Raouf Halaby
Of Pith Helmets and Sartorial Colonialism
Dan Carey
Aspirational Goals  
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Chris Gilbert
In the Wake of Nepal’s Incomplete Revolution: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian 
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
Ralph Nader
Unmasking Phony Values Campaigns by the Corporatists
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail