Tuesday :: Jan 9, 2007

There Aren’t Supermajorities to Stop the War

by paradox

Atrios linked to Marty Lederman at Balkinization yesterday, who argued eloquently that Congress does indeed have the constitutional power and prerogative to stop the war. Atrios was irritated Joe Biden wasn’t with the program, who waffled on the issue.

I’ve been surprised and disturbed since the election at the grandiose and supremely confident statements from liberal pundits and activists as to how “the Democrats” had been granted the power to stop the war with the 2006 election results. The issue I have with it has nothing to do with what the electorate said last November, but everything to do with the assumption that “the Democrats” are a unified, adept political entity, capable in extremely hostile media and judicial environments to pull off one of the most extraordinarily difficult American legislative feats of all time.

Dianne Feinstein? Evan Bayh? Joe Lieberman? Jay Rockefeller? The election did not replace those four august, esteemed legislators in just the Senate alone, and they totally cripple any chance of the Democrats doing anything—the Democrats can’t lose even one vote in the Senate for just a majority on a war funding bill.

Assuming they got a majority in the House and Senate Bush will instantly of course veto the bill. Lederman builds his argument on a totally unrealistic (though constitutionally viable) tenet that “Over two-thirds of each House of Congress -- supermajorities that include numerous members of the President's own party -- are willing to vote to forbid him from taking such a fateful step.”

Assuming the Democrats got 51 votes for a bill to stop the war (one hell of an assumption), are there 16 Senate Republican votes to override the veto? Dream on. Assuming there is, what happens when Bush flatly orders the Army and Marines to stay in the war anyway even if there isn’t any money? As CIC he can make them do that. What would the Joint Chiefs do then?

Congress isn’t going to stop the war with bills that cut off funding, just forget it, it’s naïve and counter-productive to espouse they can. The Democrats are not capable of it, period, the Republicans will not go along and already a very hostile media environment is framing the election as one that “…reflected a desire among the American people for the congress to stop fighting and work together.” Yes, that’s our American “journalism” corps, such shining warriors of Truth.

There is a way to stop the war that Congress can adopt, but it has nothing to do with legislative funding tactics. The inimitable Al from Unclaimed Territory hit it a week ago: use investigative tactics that humiliate Bush to the point where he’s so politically isolated the Republican party gets rid of him and Cheney, stopping the war with a caretaker president who brings all the troops home immediately.

Extremely unlikely, yes, but still more realistic than the totally impossible scenario of Congress cutting off funding. The Senate and House could open up numerous investigations immediately on the NSA scandal, on war profiteering, torture of prisoners, signing statements…the list is almost endless in ways to humiliate Bush, enraging the electorate with gross offensive abuses brought to light day after day after day.

[Interestingly, this is the precise scenario Steve Gilliard has been predicting for years, Bush not completing his second term and being forcibly removed from office by his own people under heavy sedation.]

With enough abuses brought to light even impeachment becomes totally viable, another wearying battle call from the blogs. No one deserves impeachment more than Bush and the country would be much better off for it, but in this present reality the Democrats simply are not capable of it. Very unfortunately, Election 2006 didn’t transform the political talent and capability of the Democrats, it just didn’t. After watching them for the last six years, who among us would describe them as capable? Please.

I do think they could develop impeachment cajones, actually, if they’d just start investigations with a great media strategy. It’s the only way to bring down Bush: pass the war funding bills with as much restraint as possible, pass non-binding resolutions that the war should be stopped today, and then rip Bush apart on a daily basis with all the sickening abuses he’s inflicted on us all in the last six years.

It might work. The way to stop the war was to defeat Bush in 2004, and all that is left is this Hail Mary of investigations. If that doesn’t work it’s just at least two more years of this utter horror show. The country refused to see what Bush was (enabled by a lying propaganda "journalism" corps), especially in 2004, and now it’s really, really going to pay for it.

paradox :: 6:05 AM :: Comments (34) :: Digg It!