Oh, by the way...
While you were distracted by the Democrats' capitulation to Bush on domestic spying and telecom immunity, you probably didn't even notice that they were also busy capitulating to him on the war. From the San Francisco Chronicle:
The House approved the largest war-spending bill to date Thursday, bending to President Bush's call for $162 billion in war funding with no strings attached and giving his successor enough money to wage the wars until July 2009.
In exchange, Democrats won Bush's blessing for several of their domestic priorities, including a 13-week extension of jobless benefits for workers who have exhausted theirs, and a new GI bill benefit allowing veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to attend a state college tuition-free.
The deal, negotiated between the White House and allies of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, takes the issue of the war off Congress' plate for the rest of this election year. Lawmakers also intended to give the next president some time to set a new Iraq policy before having to return to Congress for more money.
But anti-war activists called it a betrayal by Democrats, who had pledged to end the war. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, dubbed it "the biggest blank check ever." Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, said the vote was a "profound disappointment to the millions of Americans who put Democrats into power hoping we could force a change in Iraq."
Kudos to Lee and Woolsey. As for the Speaker? What can we say about a leader who can't stand up to the most unpopular president ever? No strings attached. In exchange for a few small bills that the Democrats could have hammered Bush for not supporting. If they weren't political imbeciles. But now the war is funded through July 2009. The biggest blank check ever. Because Nancy Pelosi took the war off Congress's plate. You have to love that metaphor. Because it calls to mind Pelosi's previously having taken impeachment off the table. Which set the table for this, as reported by The Hill:
Vice President Dick Cheney has won his battle to withhold records from the public despite efforts by Congress and other critics who say they should be open to scrutiny.
The Democrats are conceding defeat. The party’s top investigator in the House of Representatives acknowledges that there is nothing more he can do to force the vice president’s hand.
“He has managed to stonewall everyone,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “I’m not sure there’s anything we can do.”
Waxman said that despite Cheney’s turning this administration into “one of the most secretive in history,” there’s not much he or anyone else can do because the administration has only a few more months left in office.
Sure. And Waxman's one of the good guys. But there's nothing more he can do. Against perhaps the only government official in this country who is even more unpopular than Bush. Because once impeachment was off the table, it was clear that Bush and Cheney could do whatever they wanted. There are no consequences. So, they thumb their noses and laugh. They are above the law. And Congressional Democrats agree. But don't worry about it. Just another day in Washington. And please do enjoy your weekend!