S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Republicans are choosing

Republicans - and Democrats - in Congress have a terrible dilemma on their hands. Its name is the war in Iraq. This article lays out the problem for everyone in Congress. It begins with the headline, "Ending The Iraq Debacle: What the Senate Can Do, What the House Should Do," written by "Big Tent Democrat" in the blog, TalkLeft - the politics of crime. (The blogger's War In Iraq section is an excellent big-picture reference).
The situation in the Middle East is an incredibly tragic consequence of disastrous leadership by those voted into office in 2000. The Bush administration mismanaged the nation's response to the attacks of 9/11/01, and the Republican-led Congress sat on its hands regarding the Bush administration's actions, inaction and mistakes.
Republicans are no longer in charge in Congress. Now they are more free to act responsibly during the remainder of this administration's tenure. Republicans that behave independently, such as Oregon Senator Gordon Smith, are to be celebrated. A Republican conservative blog, The Right is Right, posted a list Wednesday that is a useful reference to Congressional Republicans the blogger terms, "White-flag Republicans." To quote,
Here's a quick look at the Republican senators and representatives who voted with the Democrat 'cut & runners'.......In brackets is their lifetime ACU Rating; a subjective measure of how Conservative their voting pattern is (100 being the best).
Senate: Norm Coleman (78), Susan Collins (55), John Warner (81), Olympia Snowe (50), Arlen Specter (45), Chuck Hagel (86), Gordon Smith (75).
House: James Walsh (67), Walter Jones (93), Wayne Gilchrest (62), Michael Castle (57), Richard Keller (97), Philip English (77), Rohald Paul (83), Frederick Upton (74), Thomas Davis (71), Mark Kirk (61), Howard Coble (89), John Ducan (87), James Ramstad (69), Steven LaTourette (72), Robert Inglis (80), Timothy Johnson (65), Thomas Petri (77).
Let us give all these legislators a hand, folks! They choose again and again. There will be many more opportunities to raise their hands and be counted over the course of the war in Iraq. Will they stand by and let administration troop level decisions in Iraq go unchallenged for the next year? "The surge," the Bush administration's planned troop buildup, is examined in this article by David Cloud and Michael Gordon, writing on March 8 for the New York Times. To quote,
The day-to-day commander of American forces in Iraq has recommended that the heightened American troop levels there be maintained through February 2008, military officials said Wednesday.
. . . The confidential assessment by the commander, Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, reflects the military’s new counterinsurgency doctrine, which puts a premium on sustained efforts to try to win over a wary population. It also stems from the complex logistics of deploying the five additional combat brigades that are being sent to Iraq as part of what the White House calls a “surge” of forces.
Republican Representative Buyer gave the back of his hand to wounded warriors being treated at Walter Reed Hospital. John Aravosis at Americablog (3/7/07) writes that a GOP congressman, who was responsible for Walter Reed oversight, now says the uproar is just politics. Steve Buyer has charged that Democrats are using the issue for political purposes. To quote from the post,
Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., the former GOP House Veterans Affairs Committee chair in charge of making sure that Walter Reed and the rest of our military hospitals didn't abuse our soldiers . . . DID abuse our wounded troops under Buyer's non-watch . . . The thought that he is still to this day playing politics with our soldiers' lives is sickening.
Senator Chuck Hagel's hands are not tied when it comes to independent thinking. "Faiz" at Think Progress (3/6/07) posted a story headlined, "Hagel Suggests Possibility Of Bush Impeachment: ‘He’s Not Accountable Anymore’ ." Faiz' post engendered 145 comments. In it he quoted Hagel's words from an article in Esquire,
“The president says, ‘I don’t care.’ He’s not accountable anymore,” Hagel says, measuring his words by the syllable and his syllables almost by the letter. “He’s not accountable anymore, which isn’t totally true. You can impeach him, and before this is over, you might see calls for his impeachment. I don’t know. It depends how this goes.”
Independent Vermonters and others are raising their hands for impeachment. See this article headlined, "Vermont's Impeachment Insurrection" Dan Dewalt at The Huffington Post, from which I quote:
Yesterday the citizens of Vermont launched an impeachment insurrection. 40 Vermont towns have now called on Congress to impeach the President and Vice-President. Another 20 or so have passed resolutions calling for our troops to come home now and be taken care of when they get here.
Senator Specter yesterday raised an independent hand for the cause of justice for detainees. "Habeas Corpus Can't Wait" by Aziz Huq (3/5/07) from TomPaine.common sense. Senators Arlen Specter and Patrick Leahy want to introduce legislation to restore the right of habeas corpus, taken away in legislation last fall that was spearheaded by Senator Lindsay Graham. Predictably, Graham vehemently objected to Senator Specter's initiative. To quote from Huq's post,
So Congress too must act, and there is much that it can do now. The court proceedings are no cause for delay. A comprehensive solution necessarily involves multiple branches of government, and the sooner legislators act, the sooner America can remove the moral stain of Guantánamo from its plate.
Journalists' hands are tied regarding the right to inform the American public about what the military will be doing tomorrow at Guantanamo. Events are moving rapidly with this unfolding story. Josh White authored a story headlined, "Hearings for 14 Guantanamo Detainees to Be Held in Secret, Officials Say" in the Washington Post (3/7/07). Quote,
Military tribunals are scheduled to begin Friday for 14 high-value foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but the hearings to determine whether they are enemy combatants will take place behind closed doors because of the risk that top-secret information could surface, defense officials said yesterday.
Courageous Republicans in Congress deserve a hand when they cast principled votes and when they speak out for what is right. Why not go to "Government Guide" for info on how to contact and thank them. It surely will make a difference to them to know that citizens are not always purely partisan.
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betmo said...

they sure do deserve a hand- and do you know what they are getting? a label. limbaugh said today that these 'stray dogs' need to be pulled back into the fold and tow the line- and that he is going to highlight the repubs who side with the dems on his show. this will put pressure on the party to only back 'pubs who do what they are told- and the brave ones will be forced out of office eventually. nice huh?

Carol Gee said...

I had not heard this. Thanks, b.
It has been so fascinating to me who amongst Republicans have had to become courageous members of the minority. These folks are the ones who seem to be voting their consciences, rather than just to stay in office. I think there must be a lot of party shame out there, causing members either to act out in shame (like Limbaugh), or out of principle (like Specter).
Speaking for myself, all I ask is that someone I vote for honestly votes his/her convictions, even if it disagrees with my view.
Maybe every elected official should have a day job to go back to, so they are free to vote more conscientiously.