Spin machines: Both sides claim victory

Sens. Mitch McConnell, John Warner claim victory (AP)Republicans and Democrats alike are claiming victory as Congress moves toward passing this week a final Iraq spending bill that funds the war and does not order troops home.

"Democrats have finally conceded defeat in their effort to include mandatory surrender dates in a funding bill for the troops, so forward progress has been made for the first time in this four-month process," said House Republican leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

But as Republicans celebrated, Democrats said the final bill was an example of how far they had been able to push the White House, which initially demanded no restrictions on war funding and opposed the more than $20 billion in domestic and military spending added by the Democrats.

The estimated $120 billion measure would fund about $17 billion in domestic and military-related spending that Bush did not request. It also would threaten to withhold reconstruction aid if Baghdad fails to make progress on political and security reforms.

"I think it's a giant step to begin the end of this war," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Lawmakers were on track to pass by week's end legislation that would fund the war through September. Unable to override another presidential veto, Democrats agreed not set a date for U.S. troop withdrawals.

The estimated $120 billion measure would fund about $17 billion in domestic and military-related spending that Bush did not request. It also would threaten to withhold reconstruction aid if Baghdad fails to make progress on political and security reforms.

The White House initially was cool to the idea of imposing consequences against the Iraqi government for failing to meet benchmarks, even though the president would be allowed to ignore the restriction if he wants.

The agreement capped weeks of closed-door negotiations among White House aides and Senate and House Democratic leaders.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Democrats now will focus on 2008 defense spending to try to force an end to the war. The House plans to consider the military's annual budget this July and delay debate on 2008 war funding to September, just as the White House delivers a critical progress report on Iraq.

"I think we have moved debate very substantially forward, and we will continue to do so" in the upcoming spending bills, said Hoyer, D-Md.

Pelosi's declaration of victory was in spite of her inclination to vote against the war funding measure because it does not include a timetable for troop withdrawals. Other House Democrats said they too would oppose it.

"I'm not voting for anything unless it ends the war," said Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.

In order to secure the bill's passage, House leaders are planning to orchestrate two votes on Thursday. The first vote will be on war funding, while the second will decide whether extra money should be spent on domestic emergencies, military base closures, veterans care and other projects.

While Pelosi, Waters and other like-minded Democrats are expected to vote against the first amendment on war funds, GOP members will likely make up for the losses. On the second vote, it is anticipated Democrats will be unified in their support for the measure and overcome GOP objections to the extra spending.

Under the plan, the Senate would receive a single bill and cast its own vote by Friday. If Senate Republicans want to block the added domestic spending, they would have to block the war funds as well.

Tying U.S. aid dollars to Iraqi progress was a concept pushed last week by a group of moderate Republicans but rejected by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as too weak. On Tuesday, as Reid firmed up a deal with the White House and House leaders, the Democratic leader said passage of the proposal still marked a turning point.

"It's a lot more than the president ever expected he'd have to agree to," Reid, D-Nev., told reporters.


  1. Steve Horn

    Just an aside – as both parties had blow hards claiming “victory” nine Americans died in Iraq. At least that’s the count as of 12:54 –

    So “mission accomplished” for the Dem’s – let’s put Pelousy on a carrier so she can pound her chest and proclaim her victory.

  2. Carl Nemo

    Simply take a look at the photo associated with this article and you are looking at the face, of aged, well-seasoned corruption. When I listen to Senate or House hearings on C-SPAN, I’m always amazed at the endless blustering, pompous introductions, and duty ass-kissing that’s prevalent at these proceedings. In many cases they almost apologize while they butt-kiss the person in the hotseat, thanking them for their many years of service to the country etc…blah blah ad nauseam ad infinitum.

    All of them, old, evil, corrupt-to-the-core men and women controlling America’s purse strings and policies. So when you get a corrupt administration on top of these aforementioned mattoids, you end up with corruption to the second power.

    America is in “harms way” with these people in D.C. I hope when future elections come around that Americans remember these people and their actions, then kick as many out of office as possible regardless of how many years worth of “pulled pork” sandwiches they’ve been pitching back home, courtesy of the U.S. Treasury “deli”.

    I guess what we are witnessing is linked to my favorite expression for this phenomena; i.e., the “The Empire of the Rising Scum” effect…! : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  3. Steve Horn

    Carl – nice bit – what most Americans seem to forget (except for the period between January and mid April every year) is that the “Deli” is really more of an invitational buffet – and that we the people are the ones funding the feast – to which we are not invited.

    I do find it interesting that the meat in question is “pork”. The connection between flatus and pork consumption is well documented. This could explain the foul, hot wind that blows from the halls of congress!

    Look at those smug, fat faces, those hollow, empty eyes and ask yourself, do they look like leaders? I think not. Most leaders I’ve known have true fire in their eyes and a strong passion for what they’re doing. They lead by example rather than shoving from behind. They stand for and by what they say and are willing to engage in true debate. If proven wrong, they’ll accept, admit and, if need be, offer an apology. Those are not traits of Senators and Representatives. From those pickled brains behind those hollow, dead eyes all one gets is the sense that they’ll do anything needed to absolve themselves of blame while passing it off to someone else, so they can retain power.

    Next election cycle, look into the eyes of the candidates, listen to their words, compare one oration to another, search for the consistent, the rational, the fact based arguments, search for a candidate with a fire in their gut to do the right thing – then abandon party prejudice and vote for integrity and reason, rather than the same old shit.

    Time has come to shut this buffet down.



  4. marta

    Other than Waxman, Kucinich, Boxer, and a few others, I feel I wasted my time voting the Democratic ticket.

    Mary Landrieu and Joe Lieberman are more in Bush’s pocket than Chuck Hagel and Ron Paul.

    Why hasn’t Kucinich’s bill to impeach Cheney not getting the support it needs?

    Somebody please tell me just what the Democrats have done to stop the war? And, while you’re at it, why IS Pelosi declaring victory?
    I would rather hear a “Sorry, guys, we tried but didn’t have the votes” than this “Victory Bulls**t”. She must be a fool to think that the voters will believe her… Or have American voters become that gullible?

  5. Joe Sedlak

    Feelings are mixed about the latest effort by Congress to get Bush’s attention about changing policy and tactics on the so-called war in Iraq. Any effort to balance this administration’s policies has to be seen as a victory – not necessarily a full victory – but another small one leading up to the big one – getting our troops home.

    Who says the new funding is to support the troops anyway? How much of the proposed new funding would actually support the troops – rather than the contractors, the mercenaries, etc., etc.??? Would the new funds be used to properly equip our troops? to train the Iraqis? to build a humongous US Embassy? to build new bowling allies in the green zone that is off limits to our fighting troops?

    What is with the neo-com republican rhetoric that people can’t see through the smoke screen? It is absolutely impossible to withdraw funding immediately. “Cut and run” is pure nonsense – it just can’t be done!

    I am so sick of hearing journalists talk about withdrawing funds for the military as a sudden, one-time action – as though anyone in Washington, including the president, had the power to suddenly pull the plug on funding anything.

    Cutting off funding of any federal program is a long complicated process – taking many months or even years. If the funds for the war were cut off today at midnight, it would take a couple of years to gradually implement the decision – and of course any withdrawal of troops would necessarily be a gradual process.

    In my continuing frustration over this mess, why doesn’t at least one or two journalists start questioning their own rhetoric?

  6. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    When Danger Rears its Ugly head Nancy & Harry Turned and fled

    The Democrats have F*cked us, I think we have to be creative and one thing the Democrats would take note is Democratic constituents changing their party en masse; perhaps Republican posters at CHP would also do same from their party.
    It may be vain, but what is their to lose except mabye putting off
    getting a chocolate chip cookie or watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail tomorrow.
    The Democrats sure have taken to heart a famous phrase from
    Monty Python & the Holy Grail which is: ‘RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY”

    I have already changed my voter registration to ‘decline to state’.
    It can be done online, after you complete this on-line form, a typed registration form will be sent to you. After you receive the pre-typed form, just sign it and mail it to your county election official.


    This Link is just for California, but take the initiative and do a Google Online search for online voter registration in your state.

  7. jverner

    My party has sold me out. I am disgusted and will let them know.

    What’s wrong with the Congress? To steal a line from another context, “Just Say No!”

  8. Ardie

    I understand there is a growing split among the Democrats in Congress. The anti-war Democrats have run out of patience, and rightly so. This may turn out to divide the party, seriously. And maybe it is a good thing. I mean who are these war supporters working for, the Military-Industrial complex? The voters have spoken. We understood that George W. Bush was going to oppose the will of the people. We understood that there is going to be a huge crisis. We are prepared for conflict. Bring it on. Those who support this war are my enemies. I don’t want compromise.

  9. Steve Horn

    I heard it in a song years ago “ain’t nobody right if everybodies wrong” – so (to carry further) “you better stop children look around everybody look what’s going down ….” (CSNY).

    If both sides claim victory then rest assured, the citizens of this nation and world have suffered a defeat.



  10. LurkingFromTheLeft

    …we need to remember THIS and all the other shit they’ll pull as we press/pull/whatever and vote –

    …get out the ones that sold us out – and sold out the lives of countless dead or wounded soldiers AND the damage done to a new generation of American: the children who’ve lost a parent or had W and His EvilDoers return a very wounded and/or troubled parent – AND how that impacts dynamics of the family – the REAL toll in dollar$ and lives can NOT be measured –

    …again, I still don’t see Jenna or BabsJr there –

    …Peace? – how I wish – but it is just more pieces –


  11. Donnat

    This is no time to concede anything to Bush. You were elected to stop this madman, not play footsie with him.
    You’ll be gone in November 2008 if you don’t remember that.

  12. Paolo

    Old George Corley Wallace had it right back in 1968. The Republicrats and Demopublicans are just two wings of the same party: the War Party.

    The Republican shrieking about “surrender” is almost unbearable in its mindlessness. So, Boehner (if that’s really your name), who are we “surrendering” to? Hmmmm?

    Just remember that war is the health of the state: both Republicans and Democrats know it. It’s all about power.

    A pox on them all (except Ron Paul).

  13. Peg

    Americans had such high hopes the Democrats would find a way to get us out of Iraq. They have done nothing,it seems as if they have no idea that soldiers are dying while they hurry the vote for the funds to keep them there so more can die. Has to be done by Friday so they can run away to vacation. SHAME on them.

  14. Steve Horn

    Didn’t you hear? They filled nine more body bags since they announced their “victory” today!

    The fact that they are dead is, well, just something congress won’t think about today, after all, the reality of the situation could ruin their vacations. Perish the thought, as they’ve worked so hard.

  15. impeachtoday

    My opinion and observation is that due to the dysfunction evidenced in years past, we’re about due for a third major party in america, the Independents. Independence was the basic concept and founding principle of our country, 230 years ago, close enough, but the concept was that we didn’t want the british government taxing us from afar for their imports, and otherwise wreaking havoc in our society anymore. The british were successfully expelled from the United States, the question is whether the oil companies and their various and sundry hangers-on can likewise be successfully expelled. This isn’t about democrats and republicans anymore, it’s about what amounts to a hostile corporate takeover of our country, and leaving consumers, nee citizens, basically twisting in the wind in terms of effective representation.

    Bush and his cronies, democrat, republican, foreign, and otherwise, want this war to go on and on and on, and won’t likely be leaving office early of their own accord, or reversing any of their policy decisions. While Congress, as a body, still does have the collective capacity and authority to thwart and nullify
    such policies, the chances of them actually unifying sufficiently to get that done is between slim, and none.

    The people behind all of this have been planning it for quite some time, and again they won’t go quietly. They have no respect for representative government, and apparently that’s a pretty fair assessment, as it concurs with the opinions of an increasing number of former voters who’ve lost faith in their so-called representations’ ability to withstand the influence of lobbying groups representing various concerns who are bent on war, or whatever you call what’s going on in Iraq today.

    That’s why I think the time is here for the Independent Party, as with a strong third party to provide much-needed dissent and disinterested oversight, the two existing parties, the GOP and the DNC, will have a force worth mentioning to reckon with. There’ve been too many aisle-jumpers who for years have been content to simply follow the money rather than raise their voices in support of adherence to common sense and basic principle, that’s part of how our country got so far in debt that we’ll likely never see daylight again. Once, the United States was the premier lender in the world, today we’re the biggest debtor. Reform on this and many other issues, such as actually enforcing the border, for example, will be hard to obtain, but worth the time and effort, long-term. Maybe Bush is willing to parcel off the United States, but we shouldn’t be.
    I don’t support this administration, as I’m far from convinced that we’ll be seeing anything resembling a straight answer on some issues out of them anytime soon. Public transparency and accountability are just as important, if not moreso, than any amount of oil revenue in terms of getting our country from one week to the next, and frankly when it comes down to that oil revenue, my view is that Cheney should have been asked to step down a long time ago, as he’s basically a walking, talking conflict of interest. Halliburton should be examined from all angles as the general threat to our constitution and way of life that it is.
    But, as they say, money talks, and B.S. walks, and the money talks very loudly in favor of continuing the Iraq war, as it’s VERY lucrative for certain parties, and promises to be very lucrative for the oil companies that the people in this administration seem to actually be working directly for, at the end of the day.
    Something stinks, and Congress has corral-duty…
    Nuff said.

  16. Bill Jonke

    I guess Congress wanted to be assured that they had a Memorial Day vacation coming.

    I’m sad to say that this is what it looks like, and Congress is no better than Bush and his cronies on this and everything else.

    Registering as an Independent is clearly a viable option to change the scent up on Turnip Hill.