Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Couple of Micconceptions

There are a few things that need to be cleared up on the Senate Iraq Debate.

1. This debate needed to happen when General Petraeus was confirmed by the Senate. If you did not like his plan, you should have told him at that point and denied his appointment. He didn't lie to anyone about his intentions. He was going to implement the Surge, and thus far has done an admirable job. If the Senate wanted to ACTUALLY STOP the surge, this was the chance.

Of course this never was about actually stopping the surge or doing anything but embarrassing the President in a manner that carried no risks to the Senate malcontents. Congratulations, Cowards. I hope my Democratic friends are proud of these Profiles in Courage.

2. Not allowing cloture on a bill is not "cutting off debate" no matter how many times Harry Reid or the Headline writers at AP say it is. It is in fact forcing more debate. In particular is the fact that Harry Reid is preventing further amendments and legislation to come forward other than the defeatist inconsequential nattering that passes for legislation in the 110th. Harry and his Democratic allies are, in fact, hoping to cut off debate. Anything said to the contrary is either said by the misinformed or those attempting to misinform.

3. John McCain not attending the vote today is of no consequence. He is the reason that Harry is going to fail. When the landslide of negativity was rumbling, he alone stepped forward and gave backbone to the senate which was quickly moving to the Warner disaster. Because of him, the Warner bill will die a deserved death, and Reid will be foiled. He knew the votes, and did his needed work early. He deserves to take a Saturday off.

Additionally, it would be nice for all of the constant McCain critics to give the man his due here. If one wishes to influence his behavior in a positive manner, reward him when he gets it right, he may be tempted to see things your way next time.

3 comments:

sirocco said...

1. Many of the issues _were_ raised during the Petraeus hearings.

Having said that, if someone is capable you don't (or shuold not) automatically turn them down for a position, even if you streneously disagree with their views. For example, I disagree with John Roberts' views, but I don't question his capabilities. Ergo, I have no real issue with his being named Chief Justice (and had I a vote I would have voted in his favor).

Petraeus is, by all accounts, capable. It's actually his responsibility to turn down the position (or resign) if he feels the task assigned him is inappropriate.

2. I agree not allowing cloture != "cutting off debate". It's spin. Of course, the R's are simply trying to introduce extra bills so they have more chances to say "I voted against the surge" even when they really didn't, so they are spinning too.

Of course, it's hard to have sympathy for the R's when they were spinning the same way when roles were reversed. Polls seem to indicate they are losing the public opinion battle on this one, and that's all anyone involved seems to care about.

Tell you what, I'll yell and scream about the D's calling it "cutting off debate (when it isn't) the moment R's stop referring to a vote against the surge as a "vote against our troops" or some similar formulation (it isn't).

I hate politicians.

3. This I agree with you about 100%. The math was well known by all, and if you weren't going to vite for cloture (McCain was not) you didn't need to be there. It's meaningless.

Framer said...

Sirocco,

You are way to eminently agreeable to be a Dem.

1. Indeed the discussion took place, but was pretty much dominated by Petraeus. He didn't quite run Roberts rings around his questioners, but he did outshine them. That is the beauty of being entirely qualified. You should know more in your area than the average senator.

However, if the Senate was ENTIRELY against the surge, this was the battlefield, where they may actually have gotten results. You could let him go through, but rough him up to send your point. Remember that Petraeus testified that this type of resolution would have a "detrimental effect on the morale of our soldiers." That should be enough cover for the Republicans to use the "against the troops" line. Has the media done many stories on how the troops feel about this resolution? I bet you won't see one, because we already know the answer.

Again, instead of anything of substance, Dems went for the non-binding resolution, and then whine when it is thwarted. Go strong or stay home. Everything else is wasting our time. I would think that Democrats should be more upset about this non-binding BS than Republicans.

2. Since you already admitted that Roberts being qualified is enough for a vote, this is easy. Republicans' major issue with the filibuster in past congresses has been with Judicial appointments. The large scale denial of cloture for these judges was unprecedented, and by your own admission largely wrongheaded.

To compare the use of the filibuster procedural move used against a Judicial appointment to the same move used for a non-binding resolution is apples to oranges.

3. A conservative Republican and a Democrat agreeing an something positive about McCain. There ought to be a monument erected somewhere :)

sirocco said...

Framer said:

"To compare the use of the filibuster procedural move used against a Judicial appointment to the same move used for a non-binding resolution is apples to oranges."

I think you are right, but in the wrong direction ...

A Federal judicial appointment is extremely significant. These are lifetime appointments, and have a long-term effect on the country. If, in fact, you strongly disagree with someone's nomination, I think the issue is important enough to merit a filibuster.

As you note, the resolution in question is "non-binding". It's symbolic. It will, at most, serve as an indicator of dissatisfaction with the administration and it's plans (and, of course, as a political lever). It doesn't have any effect other than what the administration opts to do in response, if anything ... given the administrations past record of "listening", one suspects any resolution vote will simply be ignored.

Now, if the resolution had binding effects (and aparently some being prepared for future consideration do), then I agree the matter rises to the level of meriting a filibuster for those who would legitimitely disagree with such restrictions. As things stand, however, it seems hard to justify.