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I'm borrowing the title from Steve Soto, who has put forth an idea that I find myself in general agreement with. I'm told this is the largest online podium in the country, so what better place to promote it?

  1. Democrats should convene early hearings at Ike Skelton’s House Armed Services Committee and Carl Levin’s Senate Armed Services Committee in mid-January to pin down the Joint Chiefs on what they told the White House about an escalation;
  1. Then use those hearings to force the escalation votes ahead of his 2007 State of the Union speech as a way to kneecap him prior to the speech and undercut his influence for the remainder of the Congress.

I've taken just a key excerpt for the sake of brevity, but reading Soto's full post gives you a much better flavor for the political atmospherics he sees in this. My temptation was to take the whole thing, but really, it's just a wee little click, people.

Now, it may very well be that active military brass will not feel at liberty to answer the questions they way they'd like to. (Here it's probably wise to consider the trial practitioner's rule of thumb for cross-examination: never ask a question you don't already know the answer to.) And it's almost certainly true that the "administration" would (perhaps properly) regard any votes we took as a result to be of no effect as against the "inherent powers" of the presidency, especially with regard to war fighting.

Also worth noting: any votes resulting from such hearings will almost assuredly not be on the repeal of the AUMF -- at least not by the early date suggested (quite shrewdly, I'd say) by Soto. And now's as good a time as any to remind ourselves that certain voices inside the "administration" never bought into either the need for authorizing the first Gulf War or the more recent AUMF to begin with, so repealing it certainly wouldn't change their minds, even if it were possible to accomplish (say, over a veto).

So what sorts of votes could grow out of such early hearings? Probably not much more than an opening salvo of "Sense of" resolutions, i.e., non-binding declarations of, well, what the "sense" of the House, Senate or both concurrently, actually is on the subject at hand -- in this case, the escalation Bush proposes in the face of near-universal opposition.

But imagine the impact -- not on Bush, of course, since nothing pierces the bubble with him -- but on the public, when they see Bush plodding on about the need to escalate, right in the faces of the Congress that they know just rebuffed him, and the Joint Chiefs, right there in the front rows?

The State of the Union address is usually a pretty boring event -- one that I stopped watching a long time ago. But inside the House, it can sometimes be a pretty lively affair, with real and readable dynamics like cold silence from half the chamber while the other half gives a standing ovation, the rare but delicious opportunity for ironic applause, and even occasional hoots, hisses, boos or outright dismissive laughter. These days, even faithful observers of the State of the Union address (most notably our media literati) watch it less for the content than for the impression that both the speech and the post-game spin give to the public.

With that in mind, I think this, being the first SOTU Bush has had to deliver on "away" turf, is an extraordinary opportunity to deliver an unmistakable message to the purveyors of elite opinion in DC, and not to be squandered.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:12 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Take away the keys (8+ / 0-)

    Friends don't let war criminals drive drunk.

    "This is not a political problem, it's a social problem." -Deacon

    by jcrit on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:13:39 AM PST

  •  The Democrats (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hester, MD patriot, sodalis

    won't do anything.  Just watch.  My guess is they're content to let Bush run this country and his party into the ground so that they can engage in more GOP bashing to win the 2008 elections.

    Or maybe I'm just a cynic.

    The greed of men destroys the wealth of nations.

    by ivorytower on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:17:05 AM PST

    •  I believe you to be right, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gogol, MD patriot

      unfortunately.  The democrats will just let the Bush administration continue to function in all of its dysfunctional mode.

      For Impeachment of George Bush!

      by Retiredgrunt on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:22:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, you're a cynic. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MD patriot, jcrit, MO Blue, ivorytower

      Not without some justification, but give 'em a chance, especially the new ones.

      "You can't talk to the ignorant about lies, since they have no criteria." --Ezra Pound

      by machopicasso on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:30:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If the Dems let this go on.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MikePhoenix

        And enable Bush to drive the country into further ruin, THEN WE WILL VOTE FOR INDEPENDENTS, AND VOTE BOTH THE REPUBLICANS AND THE DEMOCRATS OUT OF POWER FOREVER.

        America!  WAKE UP!  THIS ISN'T about a STUPID POLITICAL PARTY.  It is about our country, our future, our security, and our lives.

        Fuck the Dems and the Repubs.  We need people who can GOVERN, AND HOLD CRIMINALS ACCOUNTABLE.  If they can't do the job, or refuse to do the IMPORTANT JOB, then we sure as HELL DON'T NEED THEM.

        We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. -Martin Luther King.

        by Eyes Wide Open on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 07:04:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  you are a cynic (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gogol, MD patriot, sodalis, ivorytower

      you are also right.

      what a nightmare our elected reps have created. how can so many people lack courage? how is it possible? i know, they are thinking about the next "election".
      bastards / bitches.

      •  Wait (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hester, gogol

        <-- START da.snark</p>

        I don't think the Dems should to anything until they get enough polling data. They need to do more polls first! The Madam Speaker saw the raw poll data on impeachment and came out with a bold statement that it was off the table. Now that's leadership!

        So please, let's not ask our representatives to take any action until they know what the polls say. Then they'll know what's best.

        END da.snark -->

        PEACE ALREADY GODDAMN IT!

        by Pescadero Bill on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 10:46:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  That IMO Would Be A Mistake (2+ / 0-)

      They were elected on the hopes that they could change the Iraq occupation around. To make an attempt to change the policy and be overridden by the President would be to their advantage. To do nothing would be viewed by the public as not doing what they were elected to do. It would also force members of the GOP to go record on this issue.

      I'm as cynical as you are and you are probably right. I still think it would be a big mistake to take a do nothing policy.

    •  If Democrats don't impeach, they are complicit! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jcrit

      If Republicans are faced with supporting Bush to remain in office having clearly lied to the American public, they MAY do the honorable thing and convince Bush and Cheney to resign.  I won't hold my breath but I will write my congressman, again, and my two senators.

    •  Not quite willing to believe they'll do nothing (0+ / 0-)

      I'm very willing to believe they'll do nothing effective, though.

      What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell

      by RequestedUsername on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 09:22:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rhetoric will substitute for action (0+ / 0-)

        And many loyal anti-war Dems will take it, because they don't feel they have any choice.

        I'm not willing to give any credit to elected officials who talk against the war but refuse to do anything against the war (by which I mean voting "no" to Bush's war-funding bill).

  •  I wonder if the price of any troop escalation (8+ / 0-)

    should be the removal of Bush as Commander-in-Chief.

    •  At least the price should be to (6+ / 0-)
      rename him the Commander-in-Mischief.

      Power ought to serve as a check to power - Montesquieu, 1748

      by mimi on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:28:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "King Complex" (9+ / 0-)

      Recognizing (for those who haven't already) that Bush has a "king complex" should be an obvious consequence of Bush's escalation in opposition to 1) the advice of the generals, 2) the new Congress, and 3) American voters. Soto's proposed course of action is an excellent way to illustrate that point. And once the general public recognizes Bush in those terms, it'll be a lot easier to combat the White House's insistence on "the power inherent in the presidency", warrantless wire-tapping, etc.

      "You can't talk to the ignorant about lies, since they have no criteria." --Ezra Pound

      by machopicasso on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:37:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I believe it can and should play out that way (4+ / 0-)
      If there is to be an escalation, Congress should ask Bush the following questions :

      - Mr. President, by your recent statements and actions, you have implicitly acknowledged that this war has been managed poorly at the very top levels. Are you ready to acknowledge this, and if not, why should you be entrusted with the lives of even more American troops?

      - Mr. President, how can you assure the American people that you're not wrong again about this war?

      - Mr. President, are you so certain that sending more troops is the right decision, that you and Mr. Cheney are willing to make it the last one that either of you make in office?

      Lying about WMDs changed everything.

      by Nowhere Man on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 10:53:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely. My thinking exactly. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nowhere Man

        If there is a military solution in Iraq (and I, along with no insignificant number of generals and armchair pacifists, question that possibility) would it not have been reached under Bush' command by now? Was he purposely denying a military solution?? Or just incompetant in command???

        If -- in your opinion -- more troops are the only option for saving Iraq, Mr. Bush, will you remove yourself from command of those troops so that a military solution can be advanced by those with more knowledge of the military?

        And, George, remember Thailand this time.

      •  Sorry, pointed questions not enough (0+ / 0-)

        Have we really lowered our sights so far? Bush gets to send another 30,000 into the meat grinder, but the Dems get to ask some really snarky questions afterward.

        And we were all so hopeful on Nov. 8...

        •  Effectively demanding that he resign (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MrSandman

          isn't enough?

          I'm not saying it's worth putting 30,000 additional lives at risk just to get him to resign. The point of these questions is to force him to lay his cards down -- and, if he's serious that escalating this disaster is the right path, let him pay the price of his legacy.

          I'd like to see him impeached, but this would be a lot quicker.

          Lying about WMDs changed everything.

          by Nowhere Man on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 03:19:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes!!!!!!!!! Call his bluff. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eyes Wide Open

            Make Bush stand behind his actions to date. It's really simple: You want more troops when you haven't shown you can command and those who can command disagree??

            Then give up your role as Commander-in-Chief to those who know how to command.

            Which is at stake? American lives or the Bush legacy? Let the man choose. Clearly and absolutely.

          •  And, Nowhere Man, could you diary this? (0+ / 0-)

            I thought about trying to make this point in a diary but I'm really not much of a writer.

            You seem to have gotten the gist in spite of how inarticulate I am. Give Bush his Catch 22. I think you could write the argument far better than I.

            Please. I'll recommend in a heartbeat.

          •  He will just lie some more and the MSM (0+ / 0-)

            will continue to be his bullhorn.  When are we going to "GET IT?"

            THE ONLY SOLUTION IS TO YANK THESE WAR CRIMINALS, THESE THIEVES, THESE LIARS, THESE CON ARTISTS and THROW THEM IN JAIL.

            We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. -Martin Luther King.

            by Eyes Wide Open on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 07:15:26 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  with what? with whom? (0+ / 0-)

              How do you get that done if the media picture is that bleak?

              But there will come a point when the corporate powers that be realize that Bush no longer suits their interests. That time just might be coming.

              Lying about WMDs changed everything.

              by Nowhere Man on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 07:39:44 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Makes sense to me - sieze the intitiative (8+ / 0-)

    the nation is asking for leadership, so lead.

    -4.63,-3.54 If the people will lead the leaders will follow

    by calebfaux on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:22:30 AM PST

  •  SotU drinking game (9+ / 0-)

    If anyone is to watch the SotU, I highly suggest coming up with a drinking game.  Not only does it make it bearable (I can't watch Bush anymore.  His voice and face make me so angry I just can't concentrate on the mangled English that he speaks; it's like whenever he talks it's a boring puzzle missing half of the pieces.) but you will get drunk pretty quickly.

    As for the suggestion of voting early to kneecap him?  It's about time that someone started playing rough with the Chimperor.  He's had a free ride for too long; it's time Congress reasserted itself and tangled with him.

    Lobbyists need Republicans like pimps need whores.

    by electricgrendel on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:23:31 AM PST

  •  Carpe Annum (18+ / 0-)

    Sieze the year. Sieze the initiative. Never let him get both feet on the ground. A full court press; never let him take an unimpeded full breath.

    No commercials. No interruptions, no timeouts ... the war President cannot handle a war ... not here and certainly not abroad.

    "Sending 140,000 predominantly Christian troops into the heart of Islam and expecting them to be greeted as liberators - that is a faith-based initiative."

    by Carbide Bit on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:26:19 AM PST

  •  Speaking as a salesperson (15+ / 0-)

    One of the best things we can do, as early as possible, is reform the language, especially to resurrect all the negative connotations from Vietnam that the Administration avoids.  Escalation.  Quagmire.  Fiasco.  Killing fields.  Add your words here.

    The first step, before anything else, is to signal to the public:  We get it.  You want out.  We can help.  Despite what gets bandied about here, it's a subtle dance.  Since we can no longer fix Iraq, it's incumbent upon us to be clear about who screwed it up.

    "...We were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why." --Robert McNamara, In Retrospect (1995)

    by mspicata on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:26:25 AM PST

    •  Not Sure Why The Dems Don't Get It (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jimreyn, moosely2006

      when it comes to the power of words and continue to use Bush and GOP words to their disadvantage.

    •  "ERA OF TERROR" is a change already made (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      moosely2006

      deliberately on tv by the blond lady Pelosi did NOT appoint to whatever (brain fog here. I think it was when she spoke to lawyer group on CNN a few weeks back.) I liked it but have not seen other Dems do it. We here know weapons of war do not kill terror -- but WORDS, framing, phrasing etc. DO need change.
          Hateful pseudo-christianists --- or some much better term NEEDS to replace confusing and non-specific "religious right."  And while Judeo-Christian "heritage" may be barely tolerated, there are NO LIVING JUDEO-CHRISTIANS. That stopped when Christians stopped being a "sect" of Judaism. Jesus might have celebrated Hanukah, but NOT Christmas, so eat your menorah SEA-TAC et al. Dumb is dumb and is incurable when deliberate. I'd add proscription of "Islamo-facist" except plenty of long discussion already settled DKos view.  But did we did NOT create REPLACEMENT for it.

      Unless all votes count, none count. REVOTE FL 13!

      by Neon Mama on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 11:03:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Intelligence Committee will have to decide (9+ / 0-)

    where to begin its hearings.  May I suggest that the hearings start with the most recent flagrant violations and work backwards?  This will help focus on the prime issues we face in the Middle East in real time rather than on past failures.  

    Yes the Bush Foreign policy needs to be put in receivership.  So every committee that can come up with grounds for a hearing that will focus on this ought to do so.

    Steve Soto suggests

    Yes, this amounts to Congress putting the Bush foreign policy into receivership. But for the sake of our troops, our interests in the region, our communities here at home, our budget, and yes, the Iraqis themselves, now is the time to do that.

    Let me suggest one topic I would put at the top:

    The censorship of the debate over options in Iran.

    Flynt Leverett censorship diary with links

  •  Great suggestion. (10+ / 0-)

    Now how do we implement it?  How do we get through to the Democrats in Congress?

    I've given a 4 to every comment here I think.  These are great suggestions, and the right frame.  But we're talking to the choir here - how do we get this message across to the powers that be?

    "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine Pay attention Georgie - 2945+ dead Americans. Jesus Christ, make it stop already.

    by Miss Blue on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:30:12 AM PST

    •  Well, I'm told this thing gets read. (10+ / 0-)

      In 80% of Capitol Hill offices, too.

      And I note that Senator Reid, when he opted to clarify his statement on the "surge," chose to do so on a blog.

      We might flatter ourselves to think that we are getting our message across.

      Of course, that doesn't guarantee anything in particular. We've surely gotten lots of messages across, some of which might even have been kind of dumb.

      •  Rather be dumb and lucky than just smart. (6+ / 0-)

        It would behoove us all to take the initiative and write to our Congresspersons and Senators as often as we can.  They do respond to the comments they read, and if enough of us get it right, well, that's what we want, right?
        And if our suggestions, like mine, to just get our troops out now ...if that is dumb, then so be it.  

        Perhaps I am naive, but based upon the only information that I have, that's the best that I can offer.

        (-7.63,-6.21) Between Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama - Huh, and I'm a moderate Democrat with a VOTEBLUE tattoo.

        by ezdidit on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:42:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What will Dem leadership think (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MD patriot, Randall Sherman

        the risks are, I wonder?

        Would it strike them as too partisan? Are there balances and deals being struck in order to move investigations forward that may get knocked askew by such a move, or some such?

        Mind you, I think it's brilliant. Perfect punch, and clearly needed. But I wonder what sort of freakin' Anxiety might prevent the Dems from taking advantage this opportunity, an opportunity that will not present itself again...

        "In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder, a secret order." Carl Jung

        by Unduna on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:45:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They've got plenty of "dry powder" (5+ / 0-)

          Remember all those Bush wing nut appointees and outright Scalian justices that sailed through the Senate as they "kept their powder dry" to avoid conflict with the mighty Bush?

          Will the cautious dems and their slim majority in the Senate cause them to continue with that approach?

          I sure hope not, give the Repubs some of their own medicine, and run congress as an actual check on the power of the Unitary Executive.

        •  It Is Pass Time That The Dems Stopped Being So (7+ / 0-)

          risk adverse. Bold leadership is a winning strategy. Timid actions and overanalyzed  week positions will cause them to lose the day and future elections.

        •  The country is ready for "too partisan". Nov 7 (7+ / 0-)

          sent the message. We want partisanship against the fascist regime. The best defense is a good offense so I think this is a great plan. Especially the importance of pre-empting the SOTU address. That is the most important part of the plan : get our message of no escalation and a withdrawal out front and center and use our noise machine to drown out the SOTU spin. It must be soon (the Dems message of end the war now) and it must be loud. Running out the clock until 08 is not an option ... the battle will just get even more fierce.

          Some sports such as football and basketball have a time clock so the mental aspect of the game is played differently ... come out strong, stay focused, keep the lead and build the lead and be ahead when the buzzer goes off.

          Other sports such as baseball and tennis have no time clock. The competitor must play the game with a different mindset than one that does since there is not luxuary of sitting on a big lead and running out the clock. A tennis player must put the dagger through the heart (metaphorically!) or they will not win. Period. In tennis (and baseball, too), since there is no timeclock, the opponent can come back at any time so it is necessary to play the game mentally different than basketball ... stay offensive, stay focused and when the opportunity presents itself up the offense and finish the opponent off. And never let your mind think you have won until you're at the net shaking hands.

          It is time for the Dems to quit "sitting on the 08 clock" because what we gained on Nov 7 could easily slip away tomorrow. Soto is so spot on : Come out hitting early (before SOTU), come out swinging hard (Generals/Public Opinion vs. Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld-don't forget him), stay focused on the outcome (bringing the troops home), when the opportunity arises to put the dagger through the heart the Dems must step up to the plate and take it and never forget that it is possible that the opponent can come back at anytime. In fact, expect the opponent to come back and plan in your head what you will do when it does happen. A bear backed into a corner is going to fight hard ... as if its life depends on it (it does).

          Dems, you have to fight now.

          Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome. Booker T Washington

          by Spoonfulofsugar on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 09:31:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  SpOfSgr is right on... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Spoonfulofsugar

            Kerry sat back in 2004... waiting for Bush/Cheney to melt down.  The clock ran out and we were caught holding the potato.
            While the Bush/Cheney ticket could have been tied to numerous scandals, Kerry never siezed the moment to slide the dagger in, and we paid for it.

            If there is one thing we can count on, Rove knows the news cycle... low and behold, and the MSM let the ever kniving Right reinvent themselves into the champions of '04. Kerry's response was impotent at best.

            Writing congress is important... but WE HAVE to HOLD the MSM ACCOUNTABLE for what they choose to report and what they purposely neglect to report.
            Holding feet to the fire is a prolonged process.
            To keep Critical Mass attention, we need to keep the conversation fresssh.

            I suggest TEXT VOTING for news stories, that are recorded and reported, in REAL TIME on stations such as MSNBC, CNN, FAUX, etc... like starsearch or American Idol, or whatever... so as to suggest to Corporate Newsmakers where they should allocate resources for stories we want more intense coverage on....

            How about some answers?

            Stop wasting money. Stop wasting lives. Bring the troops home now. Cut off any more funds for the war. -dk

            by winny joculus on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 11:25:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Being on the front page as it is, this story will (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gogol, Miss Blue, paige

        scroll down fairly quickly. It could remain more highly visible if it were at the top of the Reco Diary list for a day or so.

        It is a brilliant idea, the kind of thing one would expect of master politicians who are thinking three moves ahead.

        What's really sad, and more than a little scary is that WE feel we have to be instructing them, rather than being dazzled by their brilliance.  These guys can't figure this stuff out on their own?

        -8.0, -7.03 don't always believe what you think...

        by claude on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:51:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's Steve Soto's idea. (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Night Owl, gogol, emal, paige, MO Blue, moosely2006

          If you're passing out gold medals for brilliance, you should keep that in mind.

          It may very well be that Congressional Democrats already do have this in mind, but they don't tell us these things. Then again, if it's good strategy, they probably don't see any advantage in spilling the beans. And maybe they're right about that.

          •  Both chairmen Skeleton and Levin have (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gogol, MO Blue, moosely2006

            announced that they plan to hold weeks and weeks of hearings on the Iraq War. Judging by Levin's recent speeches on the floor and his questions in the armed forces hearings, he wants real answers.

            Both chairmen have tons of experience and I think both are politically wise as well as dedicated to their jobs of oversight.

          •  yes, KagroX (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gogol, carolita

            and thanks to you for pointing us to it.  You are right, DKos is a big megaphone. Thanks for using it. I sure hope the Dems are thinking like this...

            -8.0, -7.03 don't always believe what you think...

            by claude on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 09:36:01 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  For Those Who Missed it (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gogol, bree, Jesterfox, vcmvo2, MO Blue, moosely2006

        Yesterday there was a diary that offered a link to CNN's Joe Scarborough Show in which one of it's guests Mike Barnicle first brought up the mention of bringing Military Commanders before Congress to testify not only about escalation but also about what they have asked for in the past regarding troop increases.

        Bottomline the guests on the show felt that in the past 'when' the miltary asked for increases that Bush ignored them - and now that they are saying no to troop increases Bush is ignoring them.

        Here is part of the transcript. You can also view the entire segment on video or read the transcript at the link above. It is pretty explosive and they talk about much more than the Military Commanders going before congress.

        BARNICLE:  I think one of the things that people in Congress on both sides of the aisle, Republican and Democrat—Michael Crowley alluded to this in terms of troop levels.  This president and this Joint Chiefs of Staff were asked to increase troop levels years ago, months ago, from the inception of the war in Iraq—which is no longer the war on terror, it‘s just a miserable civil war.  This is not the war on terror in Iraq.

        We can have Foreign Relations Committee hearings by Joe Biden, find out exactly who wanted the troops and when they wanted them.  And if any commander who has been in Iraq or is in Iraq right now says that he does not need any more troops, there, I would submit, is a commander who needs to be relieved of command.

        "You Have The Power!" - Howard Dean

        by talex on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:55:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  More than 80% (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        carolita

        Speaking as just 1%, that is.

  •  Amen::Here's my letter to Hillary:: (4+ / 0-)

    Dear Senator Clinton:

    Please stop the President from sending more troops to Iraq.  If a sense of the Senate resolution can do it, then please enact it.  If de-funding the incursion into Iraq can do it, please defund it.

    The effort to win this war through military might was never the goal of this administration.  Destabilization was their goal.  They have accomplished that goal.  Please end the suffering of our troops and the defrauding of our treasury, and end the war.  

    In the face of the lies that brought us to war in Iraq, and the contentious strategy that has yielded so much death and destruction, your leadership on this front will be seen as statesmanship and courage.  

    Let McCain be McCain.  He is an extremist.  You should be you, only moreso.  You can win over the faith of the people only by standing firm against our lawless, grafting President and his administration.

     

    It was never your morality or ethics that was in question--it has always been your equivocation, your inability to adopt a firm position, and your willingness to adopt only a popular position.  
    The situation in Iraq and in the US is now most transparent.  It was thus in November when I voted for you.  The majority in the US, the OVERWHELMING majority in the US, voted Democrat to get us out of Iraq.  Please do so.

    Here is her recent statement:

    December 20, 2006

    Statement of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on the President’s Support for Increasing Endstrength of the Army and the Marines

    "It is good news that the President is finally acknowledging what has long been clear: our military is operating under tremendous strain and it is past time to increase the endstrength of the Army and Marines. Now it is critical that the President take action. The first step must be including an increase in Army and Marine endstrength in the Pentagon budget. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I have called repeatedly for increasing the size of the Army and Marines and have sponsored legislation to increase the endstrength of the Army over the next several years. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the 110th Congress to make addressing this urgent need a top priority."

    ###

    (emphasis in bold is my own)

    I am not too optimistic about the future of our party.

    (-7.63,-6.21) Between Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama - Huh, and I'm a moderate Democrat with a VOTEBLUE tattoo.

    by ezdidit on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:36:48 AM PST

    •  More evidence (0+ / 0-)

      that this woman is not competent to be President of the United States.

      •  Indeed. I told her that I wouldn't vote 4 her... (0+ / 0-)

        ...back in August, because of her support of the President on Iraq.  So she Lieberman'ed us in her own Hillary way.

        War is good for the business end of politics--good for fundraising from corporations and the wealthy.  I am looking for a third party candidate, but what's the use?

        (-7.63,-6.21) Between Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama - Huh, and I'm a moderate Democrat with a VOTEBLUE tattoo.

        by ezdidit on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 09:05:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Combine with Shock's post on Macaca (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Randall Sherman, moosely2006

    keep the pressure on for Bushco to fight on a lot of fronts, from the war profiteering of Haliburton, to the current situation in the middle-east (both in Iraqi and across the region) and the pressure to rebuke Goode.  It could lead to a SOTU that could frame the entire next 2 years.

  •  these last few days (7+ / 0-)

    watching the WH PR pump going (oh, the soldiers telling Gates they wanted more boots on the ground was a beaut, wasn't it? & today, the head of the VA-- nice substitute for the Joint Chiefs, isn't he? -- applauding the notion of reinstituting the draft) with a sense of disbelief I thought was long gone.

    His response to the joint chiefs is especially flamboyant-- who gives a shit a bout the generals? the "troops" are behind him--

    No popular support?  he'll fake it.  Even though everybody knows it's a fake, a new way of thumbing his nose at the country.

    Amazing, amazing. A game of chicken just like  Rebel without a cause. Jimmy and Buzz driving toward the cliff.  Who's going to jump?

    As if he's daring us, Congress, anyone, his dad, to stop him.  "You can't make me."

    And so far, in the face of this craziness.... silence. Deep silence.

    The whole country is holding its breath, seems to me, waiting to see what the D's are going to do.  The new Congress rises or falls right here, right now, imo.

    Stupid.  Absurd.  Fucking awful.

    •  He will try and fake it. (15+ / 0-)

      But for one hour in late January, he'll be on Democratic turf -- the first time that's happened in six years.

      No prescreened Town Hall meeting crowd. And just a minority of GOPers to play to.

      Now, they'll no doubt be discussing in internal conferences that they'll actually need to clap and cheer extra loud to make up for it -- I'm serious, they really will be asking for that -- but if the subject is actually the war and his proposed escalation, I'm not so sure he's going to get a lot of cooperation. Especially if there are some cutaway shots of the crowd. Who wants to be on national television applauding an escalation? (Crooks & Liars, fire up the TiVo!)

      But this is a unique moment. The whole country can watch live as Bush proposes an escalation, and takes it on the chin from the assembled governmental leadership.

      Or, he avoids it entirely, which it's quite possible he'll try and do. He'll take a big hit for doing that, too, but it'll be smaller than the hit he might have to absorb if he confronts it and gets creamed.

      •  Joementum will clap (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gogol, MO Blue, moosely2006

        He'll be first on his feet again.

        Also, I note he's been named to the Armed Services Committee where his whiny, admonishing sanctimony will be heard. Let's hope it will do naught but irritate.

        Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

        by bumblebums on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:50:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Remember Bush is to give a solitary address to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kagro X, moosely2006

        tell us about the "new way forward" that is supposely to come before his State of the Union Address. I would not be surprised his SotU is about trip to Mars, hybrid human/animals and other such nonsense and that he will give only a minute of so to Iraq - claiming he recently talked about this. He will probably give more minutes to Iran rather than Iraq.

        •  rest assured (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          moosely2006

          he'll make absurd agenda proposals.

          steroids in baseball?
          introduce white house advisor page programme?
          multinational corporate and successful peoples appreciation month?
          oh, yeah, escalation of America's participation in the brutal opression of Iraq's right to self determination.

          Stop wasting money. Stop wasting lives. Bring the troops home now. Cut off any more funds for the war. -dk

          by winny joculus on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 11:38:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Is is me or do the Generals just . . . (4+ / 0-)

    . . . seem to be all over the board, too?  That or they, too, seem to be telling Bush what he wants to hear, then they retire and tell America the truth about the debacle over there (and imply that they too see Bush as The Supreme Moron).

    BG
    __________________________________________________

    We're working on many levels here. Ken Kesey

    by BenGoshi on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:40:17 AM PST

  •  Simply holding hearings and using the word (10+ / 0-)

    "escalation" instead of the euphemism "surge" will help undermine Bush.

    The early session is going to make the State of the Union speech reactive.

  •  Pelosi: To indict Bush is to indict the Dems (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, gogol, moosely2006, MikePhoenix

    As the US veers on a radical course toward fascism, the Democrats, who are riding high on a national wave of revulsion against the Bush regime, breathe not a word about reversing the legalization of torture or restoring habeas corpus; they say nothing about reversing the Patriot Act, nothing about averting war in Iran, and nothing of substance about pulling out of Iraq.

    Cemocrat leader Nancy Pelosi speaks coyly about not knowing where investigations of Republican abuses might lead, but has no intention whatsoever of "endangering" Democrat’s chances of winning the White House in 2008 with a move, like impeachment, that might appear "radical" to swing voters.

    That’s the excuse, at least. The reality is that Pelosi knows the simple truth: to indict Bush is to indict the entire US government before the eyes of the world – including the Democrats, who are up to their throats in complicity in the Iraq war and in fascistic legislation like the Patriot Act.

    http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/...

    This article makes a good point about the fear the Dems may have of going after Bush since they are, for the most part, complicit in the legislation Bush passed.  Moreover, Reid appears to be going along with Bush.

    •  Hogwash (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vcmvo2, moosely2006
      There is no value in spewing Republican propaganda on this site. Yes, Democrats voted for the AUMF and bent over backwards not to be "soft" in the WoT. But in 2002 and 2003, giving the President the benefit of the doubt was not a moral mistake so much as an intellectual one.

      Go away. But bring this thought with you: if you believe that some people are living in illusory pseudo-realities, then you have to accept the possibility that you may be one of them.

      Lying about WMDs changed everything.

      by Nowhere Man on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 11:09:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What's an escalation vote? (0+ / 0-)

    The only vote might be to start the draft again, and I don't see that coming up.  It would be good, I think, to concentrate on getting members of congress to publicy declare their lack of support.  Norm Coleman's statement is a good example of the desperation some current Republican office holders must have.  What about stem cell research again?  I know it's off topic, but it might be possible to come up with bills that Bush would veto, and then get the votes necessary to over ride.

    •  You'd have to create the vote. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vcmvo2, carolita, MO Blue

      And most likely, it would a resolution expressing opposition to escalation, which would be non-binding, but also not be subject to veto. Just to be "on record."

      •  There are lots of other alternatives (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gogol

        For instance, a piece of must-pass legislation could have included a provision that repeals the AUMF and replaces it with a much more narrowly written authorization.  If Bush wants to veto a bill over a "minor, technical improvement" to the AUMF, let him.

        In Vietnam, Congress passed legislation capping the number of troops that could be maintained in the war zone.  If Congress includes a provision in a law specifying that "no funds may be obligated to [insert restriction of your choice here]," anyone in the Executive Branch who ignores that provision runs the risk of going to jail. There are some constitutional limits, but Congress has a lot of power to constrain the President and the ability to use that power in creative ways if it chooses to.

        •  There won't be any such legislation... (0+ / 0-)

          before the SOTU.

          And of course, any such legislation that includes it later would be signing statement bait.

          Not that I wouldn't like to have that confrontation, too. But for the purposes of setting this up before the SOTU, AUMF repeal is probably just not in the cards.

      •  Is the AUMF valid? (0+ / 0-)

        If it were shown that the Bush regime didn't comply with the requirements of the AUMF, then it might be invalidated without legislation. Or would that simply be another battle that requires impeachment?

  •  The State of the Union is far from strong. (0+ / 0-)

    But, that is what he will spew.

    I think w wants to escalate the war to a Regional war. He will surge the troop levels in Iraq and attack Al-Sadr and the Shiites.

    This war is far from over and would not be surprised to see a draft.

  •  must head him off (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vcmvo2

    It is clear that Bush is going to be using Gates trip to Iraq and his lunch with the troops, to make the case that sending more troops is the only way to support the troops that are already there.
    All the emphasis the last day or so on how "the soldiers want more troops" is being done to undermine the Democrats position. Bush can't get the Generals to cover his ass, so he's using cherry picked quotes from apparently one soldier, to build the case that the men and women on the ground in Iraq are on board with his foolish policy of adding still more troops to the meat grinder.
    The hearing would be a very good way to head him off before he makes that statement explicitly in his SOTU.

    •  Then we need to make this VERY CLEAR (0+ / 0-)

      To Bush/Cheney:

      "We will send our children to YOUR wars OVER YOUR DEAD BODIES."

      We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. -Martin Luther King.

      by Eyes Wide Open on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:02:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  manuevering (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gogol, Eyes Wide Open

    While I think it's nice to convene "gotcha" hearings...

    In all honesty, this is all just a bunch of manuevering over WORDS.

    Where's the Meat and Potatoes?

    I just fail to see how stealing Bush's thunder for a speech that nobody pays attention is that big of an offensive move on part of the Dems.  Who on this planet gives a rat's ass anymore what Bush says?  It's about what he DOES that's important.

    Where's the razzle dazzle?  Where's the Action?

    We are a party of Big Thinkers and Big Ideals...fighting measly bullshit battles over who says what on the Sunday talk shows or whether Bush can utter this or that at the end of January are hardly BOLD MOVES.

    While we're all contorting ourselves over speeches, this man is plowing ahead with all kinds of horrible, horrible actions.

    The average American is going to look at our chess game on the state of the union, yawn and throw their hands up that it's the same BS with a different name.

    America is tired of regurgitation - they want to see government work and do what is right.

    I just read an article in today's paper that the VA Chief thinks that we should push forward a draft.  Why not actually start pushing forward legislation on SOMETHING of consequence.  Start forcing some action and demand some accountability.

    I don't know...I can't say that I'm the repository of all knowledge on WHAT TO DO...but can't we come up with a better plan of attack than just rat fucking Bush's speech?

    •  To a silly analogy about it... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk, MO Blue

      I'd like to pick up a football and throw a Super Bowl winning pass this afternoon.

      But then again, I'd have to win the playoffs first. And come to think of it, I'd probably have to make it onto an NFL squad first. Then win enough confidence from the coach to get in the game. Then win them all.

      So maybe where I'd start is by trying to demonstrate for someone who's got an eye for such things that I can make passing decisions and deliver the ball, and see where it goes from there.

  •   never ask a question you don't already know etc (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MO Blue, moosely2006

    The problem with that is that you can be sure that the Republicans on the committees will be there asking all the questions that they think will help Bush. I think the idea of the hearings is an excellent one, but one should not expect that it will be easy to get out of the joint chiefs what one wants to get or what they really think. Their jobs are on the line and they will know that. On the other hand some military people have a strong sense of honor, and that might lead some of them to say more than the chimp would want. So it is a great idea to do this.

    "A republic, if you can keep it." Benjamin Franklin

    by herodotus on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 09:24:46 AM PST

  •  Congress is the Government (6+ / 0-)

    According to the Constitution, Congress is the government, making the laws that are governance. The president is an expediter, and optional in making law. While a president cannot pass laws, they can veto bills passed by Congress - but Congress can override his veto. And Congress can remove a president, but presidents cannot disband Congress. Even the Judicial Branch's job is to interpret Congress' written statements within the Constitutional context - the president has no power other than those the Constitution gives them.

    Bush and many other presidents before him, especially Nixon, Johnson and FDR, have expanded presidential power faster than even the rest of the government's power has expanded. Even past the (dubious, at best) Executive Orders and egregious "National Security" directives. Now to Bush's "signing statements" which even explicity contradict the passed law he just signed. Those statements should be immediately thrown out, and Bush reprimanded for subverting the Constitution he swore to protect. But of course this is the Court that appointed Bush president, defying the votes of the people, plus two more who helped create the "signing statement" abuse.

    So it's time for Congress to take back our government from the tyrant. Outlaw those signing statements. Put a muzzle on all those extralegal Executive Orders, and revoke many of them right away. Create an independent review process for National Security excuses. Direct the Court to try Bush for violating FISA, and for trashing the Constitutional guarantee of the bedrock Habeas Corpus protection of our rights.

    No more BS. No more Republican majority means no more Democratic excuses for letting Bush steal power and abuse us.

    So yes, by all means, let's see the "second 100 hours", and the third, and the thirtieth (in Summer 2008, for regular working people), all used to stop Bush's tyrannical expeditions. His "expediting" of his policies has ruined the country, at least for the time being. Congress' job, in the Constitution and in reality, is to run the government. Let's see them earn the power we just gave them.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 09:27:40 AM PST

  •  Proactive Thinking (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gogol, moosely2006

    Eloquent and pro-active...put him in a corner. Hold the hearings, make the news before SOTU. Make it abundantly clear what won't happen before he suggests it. And make his Orwellian rhetoric impossible...

    ...Even better, do it just a day before the speech. Let him rehearse some inanity, and then have to cut it an hour before the show. Hold hearings at 5 pm the evening of SOTU, and make him sound ridiculous.

  •  Democrats have to be visibly aware (8+ / 0-)

    about the occupation’s end game and how it will go. This withdrawal will double as a complex rescue mission. We have allies inside Iraq who will want or need to evacuate with the U.S. troops—at least to some relatively secure zone in or near Iraq.

    There will be at least a few physical locations within Iraq that we will dearly wish to protect from destruction, for humanitarian and political reasons. There will be a new refugee flight, and this one will be noticed by the world. We'll want moderates like Sistani to survive our exit. We'll want to create whatever political stalemates we can between the Badr Organization and the Mahdi Army.

    Everything from here forward is wildly dangerous. There are Bush/neocon "surge" initiatives being floated that clearly could lead to U.S. troops being trapped inside Iraq and having to fight their way out. There is plain old "escalation" already taking place, every day. Then there's withdrawal---our only option---and the inherent dangers and tough choices that come with that.

    As the weeks and months go by, Democrats have to be filling the airwaves and newspaper columns with commentary and description of these consequences. Withdrawal, which any sane person longs for, is going to be violent and tragic. Can we agree now not to be surprised by that? The blood will be on Bush's hands but it will spatter on anyone who stands up and does something. And how that plays out politically can only be managed on a best-efforts basis. It can’t be pre-ordained. There's no blue-plate-special on the menu here---no "military withdrawal and a side order of political glory" safely bundled together.

    Ending U.S. occupation of Iraq is a slightly noble, mostly awful job that has to be done.
    The Democrats, with enough support and urging, are ready to do it. But no good deed goes unpunished. You do the awful job, you fight the PR battle tooth and nail, and when the dust settles you can look yourself in the mirror and hey, maybe the place on the political landscape where you ended up is not so bad.

    The easy part of this hard thing is that there is no choice. Also, no time to waste.

  •  Good idea: expand it (0+ / 0-)

    The result of the hearings could be a 'sense of Congress' type of vote which not only is against
    a 'status quo plus' policy (escalation); but also lays out some high level guidelines for any way forward

    Those could include cooperation on oversight, declaration of a real strategy shift (not just tactical adjustments), commitment to no large/long-term military solution there, regional engagement, and making it US policy to obtain a political resolution within Iraq

  •  This would make sense (0+ / 0-)
    IF the queen bee had any credibility.  
  •  I was about to (5+ / 0-)

    write a post building off of Soto's very idea, actually.  I think it's brilliant.

    Not that he cares about popularity, but I'd like to see Bush implement escalation with both the American public and the Congress explicitly against it.  And sure the Republicans will bitch and cry that Democrats are losing the war, but they'll do that anyway, there's no stopping them.  So we should move aggressively forward and stand with the American people in calling for an end to this war.

    D-Day, the newest blog on the internet (at the moment of its launch)

    by dday on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 10:20:26 AM PST

  •  Foreign Policy & Immigration Reform (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moosely2006, Eyes Wide Open

    'this, being the first SOTU Bush has had to deliver on "away" turf'

    If only he really were delivering the speech on "away" turf. Like live via satellite from Iraq. Which he'd probably think is a way to look "tough" and "real" - surrounded by handpicked suicide Republican Guard troops.

    Congress could follow the speech with an immediate vote to revoke his passport as an "enemy combatant" in the Terror War. Send him to Abu Ghraib for "interviews". Send Chris Wallace along with him - he's popular "under pressure" with an ex-president.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 10:43:45 AM PST

  •  I totally plan to listen this year (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Easterling, moosely2006
    I fully expect Bush to be reduced to such blithering that he'll make previous SOTU addresses look coherent. In fact, I expect him to top "human-animal hybrids" and America's looming crisis: steroids in baseball. To name just a couple of his better "huh?" moments.

    Secretary of State-elect Jennifer Brunner: screwed-up elections in Ohio soon to become history!

    by anastasia p on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 10:48:42 AM PST

    •  So Now That Quality Has Reached Absolute Zero... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nowhere Man

      Now you'll listen?

      This is CLASS WAR, and the other side is winning.

      by Mr X on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 11:01:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, zero was achieved... (0+ / 0-)

        quite a while ago. Now, we're in the negatives.  I hope the shrub does meltdown in public.

        •  He HAS been melting down in public.... (0+ / 0-)

          Look at him.  Even HE doesn't believe his bullshit. It is being fed to him by Cheney.  I honestly think Cheney has something on Bush that Bush doesn't want to come out in public.  

          I would be willing to bet Cheney has videos of Bush naked with little boys.  If not Cheney, SOMEONE has something really explosive on Bush, so explosive that he would whore himself to avoid public disclosure.

          We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. -Martin Luther King.

          by Eyes Wide Open on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 08:19:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I'm pretty sure that Lieberman and Bu$h (0+ / 0-)

      are going to DO IT in public this time around.

    •  Given his recent speeches (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      moosely2006

      the SotU could be quite interesting. Be nice if the Dems could toss out a few things that Bush would just about have to respond to, a day or two before SotU - don't give him much time to rehearse.

      Be real nice if investigations actually turned up some good solid dirt before SotU, short as that interval is

  •  Revise AUMF (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eyes Wide Open

    BEFORE the SOTUS

    Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

    by Eiron on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 11:08:30 AM PST

  •  State of the Union (0+ / 0-)

    In 2006 all the democrats came up with was the lame speach of Tom Kaine, so far this year despite the elections, I haven't heard anything out of them to indicate that they will be bold in denouncing anything the King doth proclaim.

  •  good idea - also probe escalation to Iran (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moosely2006

    Hearings could disclose the steps now being taken to create pre-text for a wide regionbal war with Iran - CBS news just did a story that sounded an awful lot like the implementation of an agenda that was laid out in a Diary here a few months back - many dismissed it as tinfoilery at the time - about Bush plans to trigger naval "Gulf of Tonkin" incident.

    Hearings also could go into the tactical nuke bunker buster test fiasco and Sey Hirsh's disclosures on planned Iran air strikes.

  •  I think this time around (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moosely2006

    Bush may truly become a uniter not a divider. More than the dems, he'll be facing a repub party that hates his guts right about now. Electing Trent Lott as minority leader emphasized that point. They picked a guy with arguably one of the biggest axes to grind against Bush.

    Congress is going to rediscover they have cards to play. They'll also realize that the person sitting on the other side of the table is the ultimate bad gambler. Time to take his money.    

  •  Bush cut and ran (0+ / 0-)

    so he could take a doable cakewalk.

  •  They need to ask about taxes, (0+ / 0-)

    They need to bring in some budget analysts.  Ask them how much the plans for the expanded army will cost?  How much for a 10 year committment Iraq.

    How much new tax revenue would have to be raised to pay for it?  Which tax increases do they propose or which spending programs do they propose to cut?

    I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually. -- James Baldwin

    by zdefender on Fri Dec 22, 2006 at 12:43:48 PM PST

  •  Poppy gets it! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moosely2006, MikePhoenix

    He cried in public.

    Brother Jeb gets it!

    He said His political life is over forever.

    The Bu$hling just keeps humming along in D.C. bubbleworld oblivious to the Reality the rest of us live.

    Only 13 more 'Bubble-World' days until 'SUBPOENAPALOOZA'

  •  Great strategy! (0+ / 0-)

    Now if the Dems only have the cajones to actually do it.....

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