Senate stalemate benefits Bush

An ill-tempered Senate stalemate may have bought President George W. Bush two more months for his Iraq troop “surge” but a pivotal and even more testy showdown looms over the war’s fate in September.

Democrats failed on Wednesday to overcome blocking maneuvers by Bush’s allies, as a thinning line of Republican support held firm against their latest drive to get most US troops home by the end of next April.

A hoopla of pull-down beds, candlelight vigils and a gruelling all-night debate could not disguise the fact that Democrats, handed the reins of Congress by voters last year on a mandate to get troops home, lack the power to do so.

Even though a majority of Senators (52 to 47) voted in favor of a Democratic bill to start a withdrawal within 120 days, Republicans flexed the Senate’s arcane procedures to require a 60-vote supermajority.

The vote set of a new round of high-wire politics, with Democrats frustrated at their impotence, but wary of fiercely anti-war sentiment among their core supporters.

Republicans meanwhile, gambled on supporting Bush one more time, but cast a fearful eye at 2008 congressional elections which they desperately hope will not become another referendum on their backing for the unpopular war.

The immediate beneficiary of Wednesday’s crumbled Democratic bid to end the war was Bush, who likely got what he wanted — another two months to prove that his escalation strategy in Iraq is working.

“The consequence of it, I believe, is to kick the can down the road another two to three months,” said Democratic Senator Joseph Biden.

“In the meantime, many Americans are going to be injured and killed … that could be avoided.”

Senate Democratic Majority leader Harry Reid angrily pulled a Defense policy bill from the floor of the Senate after the vote.

The surprising move means that several other attempts to change war strategy, including one demanding a new plan by Republican veterans Senators John Warner and Richard Lugar likely will not get a vote.

While that gave Bush breathing space, Democrats appear to be calculating that softer, non-binding plans would actually be ignored by the White House, and so ease pressure on the president.

Their strategy to pin blame on Republicans for blocking an attempt to block an unpopular war carried its own risks however.

Republican Senator John McCain immediately accused Reid of “abandoning” battle weary US troops by slowing debate on the mammoth funding bill.

Democrats also know that Republican slowing tactics on numerous draft laws risk making their tenure in Congress look futile — a new Zogby poll this week found 83 percent of Americans think Congress is only doing a fair or poor job.

The House of Representatives will likely take up the charge with a couple of war related bills before an August recess, after passing their own troop withdrawal timetable, which Bush has vowed to veto, last week.

Republicans are also playing a dangerous political game.

While a hard core of party voters may be happy for them to stick with Bush and revile anything that smacks of defeat in Iraq, the war’s unpopularity with the wider public makes support for the conflict going into 2008 look like a losing proposition.

Bills like that framed by Warner and Lugar, and defections of several veteran Republicans in recent weeks, sent a subtle message that after September, Bush may not be able to count on a Republican firewall.

“We need to lay the groundwork for alternatives, so that when the President and Congress move to a new plan, it can be implemented safely and rapidly,” Lugar was to say in a congressional hearing on Iraq on Thursday.

September is crucial because it is then that US commander in Iraq General David Petraeus and US ambassador to Baghdad Ryan Crocker, will return to Washington to deliver a progress report on the surge strategy.

Republicans have already signalled that a change of strategy might be needed after the report — though Bush has vowed not to change any direction until he has heard from Petraeus.

An interim report on the surge last week made uncomfortable reading for the White House — saying Iraq had made only meager progress on a set of political and military benchmarks laid down by Congress.

14 Responses to "Senate stalemate benefits Bush"

  1. gene  July 20, 2007 at 8:31 am

    Made me ill just to read the above article, especially when names like McCain are mentioned, even the word Republican makes me sick. I have literally grown to hate these bastards that continue to allow young men and women from this country to die for nothing. Their are also many innocent humans (women, children, the elderly) in Iraq that are murdered everyday. I know even without the presence of this nation, Iraqis would be killing each other anyway but we surely haven’t helped the situation.

    God what a horror show based on the greed, arrogance, self-rightiousness and lies of evil men who care nothing but for the cravings of their on bellies. So much is said in regards to terroist groups around the world when we have one right here in this pathetic nation, Washington DC, specifically the white house with Bush and Cheney as the greatest of terroist.

    Most of the citizens in this nation have been brainwashed, especially over the last 3 to 4 decades to believe in something called the “American Dream”. This so called dream was supposed to include the love of humanity, ie. caring for others, charity, honesty, values, morals amd for sure (sensible behavior) with a strong desire to make good choices through out life.

    Oh well so much for dreams. We now live in a perpetual nightmare. I know, I’m just repeating what I have said before but it does help. I have true friends here at CHB. God now I think I’m going to cry.

  2. LurkingFromTheLeft  July 20, 2007 at 8:35 am

    The picture was enough

    …for me -

    LFTL

  3. Steve Horn  July 20, 2007 at 9:56 am

    “but a pivotal and even more testy showdown looms over the war’s fate in September” – balderdash. The Democrats will bluster and rant, the Republicans will circle the wagons and bluster back and nothing will change. Nothing except for the ever increasing body count resulting from one lunatics obcesssion to control the world and 537 weak kneed cowards inability to do their job and control him.

  4. SEAL  July 20, 2007 at 10:04 am

    Supporting Bush on the war is political suicide at this point in time. I can only think of four reasons why any of these senators would do that. They fear Bush (Rove). They actually believe he is doing the right thing. They are so ingrained with party above all else, they can’t break the habit. They are paying back their MIC supporters. Perhaps (e) all the above?

    I don’t see how anyone could be afraid of Bush by himself and as a lame duck president. Is it that Rove has such a hold on the party that he could affect the support i.e. money for reelection campaigns? Of course, the longer they drag it out the better the MIC likes it. Personally, I fail to see how any of them other than the deluded McCain could actually believe in Bush’s plans simply because they aren’t working. And it’s difficult to imagine that party loyalty or anything else could override their self preservation. Something is holding them together. Other than habit, I can’t figure out what it is.

    Come September, most of them will back off of their blind support of Bush but don’t expect them to give us what we want. They will offer plans that will not set any concrete deadlines for troop withdrawals or ending the war. They will make all the right noise about bringing the troops home and ending the war but continue to give Bush discretion and the Democrats will have to go along with that. No matter what, this war will last until the end of Bush’s presidency.

  5. ekaton  July 20, 2007 at 10:56 am

    “Something is holding them together.”

    Blackmail by Rove or Mossad or both, in my humble opinion.

    – Kent Shaw

    PS — Apparently my old user id expired and part of my email address is now used for the “submitted by” clause. Still the same old curmudgeon, Kent, though.

  6. bryan mcclellan  July 20, 2007 at 10:09 am

    Go ahead and cry Gene, I’ve found that my foresight increases tenfold through a veil of tears as they help to clarify my resolve to do what I can to help take back our country.Bushco is so adept at pulling rabbits out of a hat that I think we should turn the tables and demand without fanfare or warning that Smirks personal physicians (shrinks in particular) should be hauled before the house and questioned as to his suitability to further lead this nation.Of course we shall have to offer them immunity and put them in the witness protection program but leverage is where you find it and we can’t stop looking.Pathological lying is grounds for removal.We pull the Elliot Ness on this bastard and have the least of his crimes brought to the forefront to illuminate the larger ones..

  7. LurkingFromTheLeft  July 20, 2007 at 10:15 am

    And now September

    …has become November -

    …after all, General Petraeus’s report needs to be doctored before submitting to The Pentagon –

    …and translated into words Dumbass can understand –

    …might need the illustrator for The Happy Goat to do some cute pictures for him as well -

    …yep, we are so phucked -

    …even General P is getting tired of the pressure – as he said on NPR yesterday, everytime he hears about ‘his report’ it is another rock put in his rucksack -

    LFTL

  8. ekaton  July 20, 2007 at 11:00 am

    “even General P is getting tired of the pressure – as he said on NPR yesterday, everytime he hears about ‘his report’ it is another rock put in his rucksack”

    Maybe the next time, like before the U.S. attacks Iran, the generals and admirals will actually adhere to their vow to support and protect the constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic by refusing to go to war unless war has actually been declared by congress as the constitution stipulates. An “Authorization to Use Military Force” is NOT a declaration of war. Anyone who voted for the AUMF violated the constitution.

  9. bryan mcclellan  July 20, 2007 at 10:55 am

    The goat a is perfect symbol to describe smirk and his agenda.Careful Gen Petraeus you are about to see smirks razzle dazzle as you become Gen Betrayuos if you don’t parrot the party line.You are the next goat to be skinned alive, smirk needs a new bicycle seat cover to wipe his stinkin ass on.

  10. LurkingFromTheLeft  July 20, 2007 at 11:26 am

    So correct -

    …he’ll need to be sure his report says all the things THEY want it to say -

    …or it will be reworked to comply -

    …truth, logic, and HUMAN LIVES be damned -

    LFTL

  11. darknyt4  July 20, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    I look at Bush and Company, and I have the same thoguth over and over again.

    “…and they ask me why I drink!”

    ****************************************************
    As they say around the Texas Legislature, if you
    can’t drink their whiskey, screw their women, take their money, and vote against ‘em anyway, you don’t belong in office.-Molly Ivins

  12. gene  July 20, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    (darknyt4) strange log name but anyway you stated “and they ask me why I drinK” amen buddy!! If it wasn’t for my own personal brew and a couple of ativan I would be in one hell of a mess.

    This nation is on its way to the bottom. Just read on (msn.com) That Bush is going to have a colonoscopy (soon)and will turned the gov. over to Cheney. That makes me want a good stiff drink. Lets hope nothing happens to Bush (as much as I despise him) Cheney would be much worse, the devil himself incharge.

  13. ekaton  July 20, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    Don’t put it past Cheney to issue executive orders during the few hours he’ll be in charge. Hell, don’t put it past him to bomb Iran during those few hours.

  14. LurkingFromTheLeft  July 20, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    Guess I had better…

    …start my drinking early then -

    LFTL

    P.S. Do you think Nancy P will be playing with her DicKkk C voodoo doll during this little ‘procedure’ thing?

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