Friday, September 21, 2007

A Disgraceful Week

Not long ago, I speculated that the Democrats would never exclude Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich from their increasingly tedious “debates,” if only to keep the press corps’ interest up. I applauded the prospect. After all, Gravel is the only Democratic candidate who speaks truth about the other candidates, and Kucinich is by far the best of the candidates on the issues – especially foreign policy. But I was wrong: conformity beat out box office. Thus neither of them were invited to appear at several recent events in Iowa, including the AARP candidates’ forum. [Barack Obama wasn’t there either, but his ill-advised absence was voluntary.] Therefore, when the questions turned to health care, and stayed fixed on the subject, nobody was around to advocate single-payer insurance. Hillary Clinton, whose 1993 plan pandered to insurance companies so blatantly that it (she) set the cause of universal health care back a generation, is at it again – this time with a plan that is “simpler,” but that panders just as egregiously. John Edwards has a much better plan. However the obviously right plan is off the agenda; they won’t even let a non-electable advocate for it.

That’s disgraceful, but not nearly as disgraceful as the rest of the Democrats’ week. Their “strategy” was to back down from the timid proposals they advanced earlier this summer for “timelines” for withdrawal; instead they would propose only that tours of duty in Iraq be shortened enough that, as per the old rules, soldiers and marines would spend as much time at home as “in country.” This was the idea of Ronald Reagan’s former Navy Secretary, James Webb, the new Democratic Senator from Virginia. Arguably, this new plan would work as well, or nearly as well, as timelines for forcing Cheney and Bush to change course. But the Webb proposal failed to get the support of enough “moderate” Republican Senators to avoid a filibuster and/or a Presidential veto.

The lesson should have been to act more, not less, boldly. But when the Senate had a chance actually to do what it is supposed to do according to the Constitution – to provide or withhold funds for war – the Democrats folded. As he had done before, Russ Feingold (WI) tried to amend the latest funding bill in order to require a timeline for withdrawal. Twenty Democrats joined with the Republicans and the sanctimonious “independent” (Likudnik) Joe Lieberman to defeat the Feingold amendment 21 to 75. I am ashamed to say that among the Democratic miscreants was the feisty little Babs Mikulski (MD), my own, much despised Senator. But if that wasn’t disgraceful enough, both of my Senators -- the other one is the terminally boring Ben Cardin -- joined with even more Democrats, 25 altogether, to condemn an advertisement had placed in the New York Times that called the vaunted General Petraeus, “General Betray Us.” was right to insult the hapless General, but they were wrong about their claim; it’s not Petraeus, it’s the Democratic Party, who are the betrayers. is wrong about many things; they all follow from a quasi-pathological reluctance to speak truth to Democrats, including the party’s Clintonite/Pelosiite wing. You’d think the lesser evil party would therefore have some loyalty. But, for many Democratic Senators, support for militarism and the mindless "support the troops" shibboleth swamped other, more sensible concerns. It also swamped genuine concern for the troops, for their victims, and for the larger interests of the United States. No one should be surprised. But the Democrats’ doings are no less disgraceful for that.

1 comment:

dl004d said...

Kucinich and Gravel were not invited to the Iowa event because neither has an active campaign in Iowa! That seems like a perfectly reasonable explanation.