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I received an email in my inbox earlier today inviting me to participate in a last-minute conference call with Speaker Pelosi and some fellow bloggers on the subject of Iraq.

I wanted to share the thrust of that conference call with the readers here and spell out the best I can what the Speaker of the House had to say.

Speaker Pelosi was very clear and echoed a point she made on the Huffington Post last November 17th following the election that made her Speaker of the House: "We have to end this war."

Let me elaborate on that...

{Update: anyone citing this article should feel free to use my name: Paul Delehanty in the cite...for questions please contact me at kidoakland"at"comcast"dot"net.}

Speaker Pelosi was no-nonsense, direct and, from my point of view, did not pander to the twenty or so of us on the conference call. It was pretty clear that what Speaker Pelosi said to us, she would say to anyone.

Jumping onto the call, Speaker Pelosi wasted no time in addressing the conference report on the Iraq supplemental. Before I elaborate on what she had to say, let me address, briefly, the legislative process the Speaker was talking about so that we're all on the same page:

The Iraq Supplemental

From time to time, Congress votes on a budgetary supplemental to cover funding of expenditures not included in the main budget; the President has consistently, and deceptively, chosen to put funding for the war in Iraq into that supplemental, and, hence, the current Congressional supplemental bill has been called "the Iraq supplemental."

Paul Kane at the Washington Post, has an elegant and straightforward summary description of the current state of affairs in regards to the Iraq supplemental here:

The battle over the supplemental spending bill for the Iraq war can be boiled down into a five-act play, heading toward a climactic showdown at some point next month. The first two acts have already been completed, with the House and Senate passing versions of the supplemental and setting differing withdrawal dates from Iraq next year.

The next act is playing out now, as the two chambers are hashing out the differences between their bills in order to send a compromise version to the White House for a likely veto -- which would be the fourth act. And the final act will be in May as the two sides figure out how to fund this ongoing war in Iraq while placing some restrictions on it.

Speaker Pelosi, then, was calling to address the state of the Conference Report for the Iraq supplemental...or act three in Kane's description. If you'd like to read more about the Iraq Supplemental:

Speaker Pelosi's Comments

In a nutshell, here's what Speaker Pelosi had to say. (This is my best attempt to report the gist of the Speaker's statements...but using, for the most part, my own words.)

Speaker Pelosi emphasized that it is critical to force the President to either "sign and honor" the bill sent to him by Congress or "veto and differentiate" himself from the voters who sent the 110th Congress to Washington. That choice must be laid before the President. He will have to explain his veto if he chooses to go down that path. That is the first step, according to Pelosi, we must take in ending this war.

Further, Speaker Pelosi emphasized that the bill that Congress presents to the President will clearly call for a "paced redeployment" of our troops from Iraq with benchmarks applied to the Iraqi government. If the Iraqis meet those benchmarks, the United States will begin redeployment in October and the withdrawal will take place over 180 days and meet the March 2008 timeframe suggested by the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group. If the the Iraqis fail to meet those benchmarks, redeployment will begin in July of this year. Those will be the goals expressed in the Conference Report.

It is critical, Speaker Pelosi reiterated, that the President face a bill that lays out a framework for "paced, responsible redeployment" of our troops in Iraq, not the "no strings attached" funding bill that President Bush is seeking. There are two main consequences here.

First, a veto of such a bill, even if it uses the "goal" language and, hence, eschews the hard and fast deadline in the House version of the bill, would make clear to the American public that President Bush is "blinded" by this war in Iraq and stuck on a strategy out of sync with the American voters and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. Pelosi suggested that if the President vetoes a bill with "goal" language, he will be taking an extremely isolated political position. Per the Speaker, the public at large is much more receptive to "goal" language at this point than "deadlines," hence, using goal language, which seems the way this is going, makes it extremely politically isolating for the President to veto this bill even if that language makes it to some minds a much weaker bill.

Second, and Speaker Pelosi was most emphatic on this point, this bill will also define under law that the President does not have the authority by any Act of Congress to continue his chosen course of action unfettered in Iraq. The President has assumed, since 9/11, a very aggressive stance regarding his ability to do whatever he wants as Commander in Chief; in some ways Bush acts as if Iraq attacked us...and Bush, under the War Powers Act, is free to do whatever he wants.

Speaker Pelosi emphasized that Congress must reassert itself and say, and I'm paraphrasing here, when Congress defines the limits of the authorization in Iraq, that is the law. The bill that Congress sends to the President, veto or not, goal language or not, will be an important first step in the process of putting Congressional limits on the President's authority in Iraq and, hence, ending this war.

The impression conveyed by the Speaker was this: more important than any particular wording of the bill that emerges out of conference, are the legal and political ramifications that will attain when the 110th Congress defines limits on what the President is authorized to do under the law in Iraq. A bill that defines funds for a "phased redeployment" in Iraq with timelines and benchmarks and goals has a clear legal meaning that the President cannot avoid. Even, or especially, if the President vetoes this bill, something will have changed in the political process and under our law.

The Speaker was quite clear. The important thing is for Congress to reassert itself. When asked what she would do if the President chose to sign this or a future bill with a signing statement that rejected the clear meaning of the bill that Congress had passed, Speaker Pelosi said, "We can take the President to court."

When asked about the waiver on "Troop Readiness Standards" that makes them a "guideline" and not a "hard and fast" rule, Speaker Pelosi said this was a case in point. Ike Skelton put the guideline language in the bill to avoid a charge that the bill will micromanage the President. At the same time, Speaker Pelosi reiterated, under that language the President will have to come to Congress and justify any instance of accelerated deployment of forces to Iraq. When the President sends troops to Iraq who don't meet the readiness guidelines laid down by Congress, he has to come to Congress and explain why. That will be the law.

In sum, the Speaker holds that sending this Conference Report to the President is the beginning of a political and legal process that will both constrain the power of this President and bring an end to this war.

Politically, Speaker Pelosi sees this process as an ongoing step by step movement that will involve the American people, Democrats and members of the Republican Party in Congress.  We are going down a path, according to Speaker Pelosi, of a series of votes that will make "staying the course" in Iraq "too hot to handle" for the President.  Putting a bill that calls for a "paced redeployment" before the President will unify the Democratic Congress and bring, more and more, as time wears on, Republicans onto the side of voting to end the war.

The Speaker was clear. The American public, as a whole, opposes the President's policies on Iraq. We must hang together through this process and see it through.  Speaker Pelosi spoke in no uncertain terms: "We have to end this war."

Other topics:

  • Speaker Pelosi is proud of the other componets of the budget supplemental: among them Katrina aid, a Children's health initiative, and a Veteran's health supplemental.
  • The Speaker is adamantly opposed to impeachment and will not bring it up within Congress. Simply put, she states that there is too much else that is too important to do. (My reading of her statement, however, was that she understands that citizens are free to advocate for impeachment and oppose this President as they wish. Impeachment is however something that she strongly disagrees with bringing up in Congress.)
  • Vis a vis the discussions and debate within the Democratic Party and the Democratic caucus the speaker said that "the perfect can't be allowed to be the enemy of the good here." She sees building support for the Iraq Supplemental on the right and the left as an incremental process. Pelosi has a clear message to members who are considering voting against the Conference Report Bill: we will need every vote we can get in the event of a veto, if you are with us in opposing the veto of the President you should join with us now in the passage of this bill.
  • The Speaker conveyed an aggressive legislative calender for 2007 that will take on: energy, the economy, education/technological innovation, defense, care for children, the environment, and governmental transparency and fiscal responsibilty.  Her goal is to have the Democratic Congress use this legislation to rebrand the word "Democratic" so that it is a powerful force for victory in the 2008 elections.

Conclusion:

I have tried to refrain from adding my own spin to the Speaker's words. If there's anything I take away from this "blog conference call" from my own point of view, it's this:

A) Speaker Pelosi is very serious about a responsible and speedy withdrawal of our forces from Iraq and bringing an end to the war.

B) Now is truly the time for those who oppose this war in every Congressional District in the U.S. to get active, to get informed and to communicate your views to your Representatives and Senators, whomever they might be.  

The overwhelming sense one gets from Speaker Pelosi is that she is on a mission that she takes very seriously. It is clear that she sees this process as involving the entire nation in an evolving national debate.

She did a "blog conference call" to reach out to us. I didn't get the sense that she had any objection to the idea that not everyone would agree with her. I guess, in light of that, and this moment in politics, I would suggest that now is maybe a time to shake off our cynicism, roll up our sleeves, and dig into this process with strength and hope.  It's a long road from 2003 till now, but it seems to me that what Speaker Pelosi is talking about might be called, if we work at it and keep the pressure on, the beginning of the long road home from Iraq.

{Update: anyone citing this article should feel free to use my name: Paul Delehanty in the cite...for questions please contact me at kidoakland"at"comcast"dot"net.}

Originally posted to kid oakland on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:49 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Great Diary, ko (14+ / 0-)

    I hope others join Pelosi in her determination.

    Bears everywhere shitting in woods

    by als10 on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:43:22 PM PDT

    •  We're trying to do these folks a FAVOR, (7+ / 0-)

      I swear to God. Getting the troops out before the next election? If the Democrats were just all about winning the next election, don't you think we'd let the Rethugs hang their asses out to dry?

      No. We're not. We put Democrats in office for a simple reason. To try to get the troops home. And they're trying to do just that, in the face of an insane, stubborn President who refuses to face reality.

      We want to bring the troops home. That would make the Rethugs look better than they do now.

      We're trying to HELP the stupid f*cks, fer Chrissake.

      But some people just don't want to be helped.

      And in '08, we are going to absolutely crush them.

      "Shake my left hand, man, it's closer to my heart." - Jimi Hendrix to Robert Fripp

      by The Lighthouse Keeper on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:51:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love the title of this diary! (7+ / 0-)

    Now, back to work! -6.00, -6.21

    by funluvn1 on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:44:15 PM PDT

  •  "veto and differentiate" (5+ / 0-)

    Well Bush certainly has differentiated himself from 71% of the American people. Can Bush, the hardhead that he is, even consider step 5?

    "...the two sides figure out how to fund this ongoing war in Iraq while placing some restrictions on it."

    Hard odds.

    roman catholic by birth---- thoroughly confused by life

    by alasmoses on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:49:22 PM PDT

  •  I felt an obligation (33+ / 0-)

    to get this out to folks.  

    Fwiw, my suggestion...which I expressed in an email later and not to the Speaker herself..was for a "100 Hours" on Iraq...featuring the Class of 2006.

    k/o: 2006 politics and local blogs

    by kid oakland on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:49:57 PM PDT

    •  Did she elaborate on this point? (7+ / 0-)

      When asked what she would do if the President chose to sign this or a future bill with a signing statement that rejected the clear meaning of the bill that Congress had passed, Speaker Pelosi said, "We can take the President to court."

      Given the traditional deference the courts have given to the President as C-in-C, I hope she has a backup plan to force his hand.

      After the battle over the supplemental is over, the Defense Authorization bill comes up.  This is the next opportunity to put pressure on Bush to end the war.  I've repeatedly advocated that Democrats use pay-go to make any further prosecution of the war as politically painful for Bush as possible.  Cancelling his tax cuts for oil companies and millionaires is one example of a way to isolate Bush's war policies from his remaining supporters.  

      I am sure, given the Democratic leadership's sophisticated approach so far, that they have a strategic plan here, and Speaker Pelosi is giving us merely a glimpse.  Thanks for sharing that glimpse with us.  You quite properly note that it is up to us citizens to make the political pressure unbearable for Bush and his party.  We see our duty.

      -4.50, -5.85 Conventional opinion is the ruin of our souls. -- Rumi

      by Dallasdoc on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:58:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I reviewed my notes (6+ / 0-)

        and I don't see here elaborating too much on that point...it was an aside in response to some back and forth.

        The main thrust of Pelosi's call was that some big process has begun...and that it is important that people understand both where we are at in that process and that opnions will change from week to week and month to month.

        We didn't get much "what if" about strategy post-veto or post-signing statment...

        I think what she wanted to convey mainly was: "here's what's coming out of the conference report" and "here's how I see it."

        k/o: 2006 politics and local blogs

        by kid oakland on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 05:05:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you for the response (4+ / 0-)

          I've been perceiving hints of overarching strategy and cooperation among Congressional Democrats.  The clearest example so far is Pat Leahy's taking on Abu
          Gonzales directly while Conyers and Waxman in the House go after the RNC emails and White House witnesses more directly.  With Leahy being responsible for vetting Gonzales' replacement this division of labor makes sense.

          I'm sure a similar approach is going on behind the scenes as Pelosi and Reid coordinate their activities ramping up pressure on Bush over Iraq.  Each has limitations and advantages, and we may look forward to an impressive game of chess as the strategy plays out.  

          -4.50, -5.85 Conventional opinion is the ruin of our souls. -- Rumi

          by Dallasdoc on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 05:11:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Since bush has signed 4 w signing statements (4+ / 0-)

        which forbade US Combat in Colombia, and in each signing statement asserted the power to ignore the limitations, there's no need to wait to sue challenging the power of signing statements.

        Democratic Candidate for US Senator, Wisconsin, in 2012

        Runamarchy: n., the end product of corrosion of constitutional order.

        by ben masel on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 06:06:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Great stuff (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dadanation, 4Freedom, oscarsmom

      Rec'd for this key body of information. Thanks for reporting this. Keep it up.

      Hey, how do I get on that blogger list? (Guess I can't if I've gotta ask. ) ;)~

      "Shake my left hand, man, it's closer to my heart." - Jimi Hendrix to Robert Fripp

      by The Lighthouse Keeper on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:59:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This was a great service, k/o (0+ / 0-)

      Many thanks.  It's great to see that they know what they are doing back there.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Wed Apr 25, 2007 at 12:54:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm very proud of what the Democrats in Congress (6+ / 0-)

    are doing now.  They have a game plan and they seem to be sticking to it.  

    Now, back to work! -6.00, -6.21

    by funluvn1 on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:52:05 PM PDT

  •  Speaker Pelosi (12+ / 0-)

    is one of the very best things to have materialized during this shift of power in the house and senate.  She is truly doing the democratic party proud.  Great diary, great message: determination, resolve and shaking off the cynicism, I hope the sentiment spreads!

    "Be the change that you want to see in the world."- Gandhi

    by hopefulcanadian on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:52:38 PM PDT

    •  A classic gambit here: (6+ / 0-)

      Per the Speaker, the public at large is much more receptive to "goal" language at this point than "deadlines," hence, using goal language, which seems the way this is going, makes it extremely politically isolating for the President to veto this bill even if that language makes it to some minds a much weaker bill.

      Sacrifice a pawn to get the King into a weaker position. Either way we get something we want. Either way, the President loses a big one. Pelosi and Reid have all the momentum now.

      "Shake my left hand, man, it's closer to my heart." - Jimi Hendrix to Robert Fripp

      by The Lighthouse Keeper on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 05:05:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I find this unbelievable (10+ / 0-)

    When asked what she would do if the President chose to sign this or a future bill with a signing statement that rejected the clear meaning of the bill that Congress had passed, Speaker Pelosi said, "We can take the President to court."

    You know what?  I'm becoming more and more convinced this is exactly what he's going to do.

    And her solution is that she'd take him to court ...

    Leaving aside the "how" of taking him to court -- the "when" of it means that if he signs this with a signing statement this war is funded for a very long time.

    Really.  I'm just speechless.

    "So go forth in love and peace -- be kind to dogs -- and vote Democratic." Tom Eagleton

    by maryb2004 on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 04:54:52 PM PDT

    •  How about defunding Karl Rove's job? (5+ / 0-)

      How about slashing money for the bloated OVP?  How about closing down Camp David and eliminating travel funds for Bush to run back and forth to Creawford?

      There's plenty the Congress can do to make Bush's life uncomfortable.  His stubbornness and bloody-mindedness in sacrificing American and Iraqi lives make any such measures more than justified.

      -4.50, -5.85 Conventional opinion is the ruin of our souls. -- Rumi

      by Dallasdoc on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 05:07:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How about, (5+ / 0-)

        if your strategy is to get the bill vetoed, putting a bill that he has no choice BUT to veto in front of him?  One with mandatory deadlines and only a short funding period.    

        If your strategy is to get a veto -- what on earth do you have to lose by putting the strongest bill you can in front of him?

        "So go forth in love and peace -- be kind to dogs -- and vote Democratic." Tom Eagleton

        by maryb2004 on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 05:09:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Broad popular support (4+ / 0-)

          Republicans are itching to swiftboat Democrats and shift blame for the loss in Iraq onto our party's shoulders.  Their post-Vietnam revisionism is the basic plotline, and we've all seen that movie too many times to want to watch it again.

          Reid and Pelosi are not about to give them that opening, and are thus being more measured and cautious than we might prefer.  I think they're right, as frustrating as it is.  They need to keep the broad majority of Americans behind them, because that is what will ultimately achieve success.

          -4.50, -5.85 Conventional opinion is the ruin of our souls. -- Rumi

          by Dallasdoc on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 05:14:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That all sounds fine (5+ / 0-)

            unless he doesn't veto the bill.

            Then she and her strategy are screwed.

            "So go forth in love and peace -- be kind to dogs -- and vote Democratic." Tom Eagleton

            by maryb2004 on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 05:17:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Then we declare victory and keep fighting (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dadanation, sberel, davewill

              Even if Bush signs the supplemental (however unlikely that is), there's no way he'll abide by its terms.  Democrats will be able to take credit for putting limits on the war, and will further cast him as a liar for not living up to it.  

              Bush has nowhere to go but down, if they play their cards right.

              -4.50, -5.85 Conventional opinion is the ruin of our souls. -- Rumi

              by Dallasdoc on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 05:19:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  that's not what she is saying if I heard right (7+ / 0-)

              Pelosi was pretty explicit that the President will be very resistant to the Conference Report...

              and that if he signs, he signs onto a process of interacting with Congressional oversight and, inherently, accepting limitations on his own power: the law.

              You may disagree with her, but she was pretty forthright about that side of it.  I think at one point she said that the way it's written, politically, that "goals" are in many ways stronger than "deadlines" here.

              I think the thing you're not seeing in Pelosi's statement is that she sees this as going on in the context of a process that, step by step, isolates the President against growing opposition from all sides.

              You may disagree.  But I want to make her side as clear as I can.

              k/o: 2006 politics and local blogs

              by kid oakland on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 05:24:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I appreciate that you don't want to misrepresent (5+ / 0-)

                what she said.

                If he signs the bill with a signing statement (or even without one) it doesn't mean that he has accepted the limitations on his own power or the validity of congressional oversight.  The Gonzales hearings make it clear, if nothing else did, that he has no belief in Congressional oversight.

                If he signs the bill it simply means that he's signed the bill and he's not in violation of the bill until he actually violates it.  And when will that be?  The outside date (because you know Congress won't do anything about any violation until he's had every last chance). March 2008?  And at that point if he isn't out of Iraq ... what?   She's going to sue him?

                And what is she going to sue him over?  Goals?  (This is assuming she can even get into court on this.)

                I bet he's shaking in his shoes at that thought.

                So far, the idea of isolation hasn't bothered him one bit. Her whole strategy depends on him vetoing the bill.  She'd better be right on this.  

                "So go forth in love and peace -- be kind to dogs -- and vote Democratic." Tom Eagleton

                by maryb2004 on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 05:35:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  You know what's REALLY wrong with this? (4+ / 0-)

                You lead off that paragraph with this:  

                The Speaker was quite clear. The important thing is for Congress to reassert itself.

                I can't tell you how much I agree with that.

                But then, when asked what they would do if the president actually signed the bill but ignored it, she says NOTHING about Congress reasserting itself.  She's going to rely on the courts. In effect she's saying that Congress HAS no power if the President ignores the provisions of the bill.

                If Congress wants to reassert itself it needs to be clear that it is not afraid to use its power. And its only power is the power of the purse.

                If the president signs it and ignores it, that's at his peril.  Once the last date is passed there is no more money coming from Congress. They've spoken.  They've given him the goals.  It's up to him to manage the demobilization and end the occupation within the time goals.  They aren't giving him any more funds after March 2008.

                That makes sense.  That is the correct response.  Suing him?  That response made a mockery of everything else she said.

                "So go forth in love and peace -- be kind to dogs -- and vote Democratic." Tom Eagleton

                by maryb2004 on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 06:29:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  And don't forget, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dadanation

              this is the supplement, there's another appropriations bill, which has to come out of Murtha's committee, a few months down the road (don't know the timing off the top of my head).

              The fight will continue.

              Vodka and Cigarettes, Breakfast of Revolutionaries

              by superfly on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 05:46:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  but Bush will veto, he's boxed himself in. n/t (0+ / 0-)
      •  That drew a polite chuckle. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dadanation, Dallasdoc
  •  Breaking News from Raw Story:: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dadanation, 4Freedom

    Kucinich introduces Articles of Impeachment re Cheney!!!

    This is great! Let the heads roll where they may, I have had enough of Operation Pumphead. Cheney is out of his mind and ought to be replaced immediately.

  •  Great diary; Speaker Pelosi is the best thing (5+ / 0-)

    to happen to the House in a long , long time.  Her determination is going to make this duel with Bush a win for the Dems.

  •  I'm behind this all the way (9+ / 0-)

    especially the emphasis on Congress reasserting itself.  Our constitutional form of government can handle even a President Cheney, so long as each branch is fulfilling its role and asserting its respective power.  The core failure of governance under the Bush administration was the Republican Congress up to January 2007 giving its power away to the executive, in the name of party over country.

    Let's be clear, though:  "We can take the President to court" is a massive abdication of the legislature's responsibility.

    The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution

    That does not mean "leave it to the courts."  It means the legislature must put impeachment "on the table."  Otherwise, Pelosi and the Dem leadership has effectively passed a constitutional amendment striking impeachment from the text.  When Bush/Cheney defy the courts and Congress, as they already have with stonewalling, claiming "national security," etc., what then?

    Kagro X in a comment recently:

    It's not a lack of respect for the leadership that leads me to believe they're unprepared for an actual showdown over subpoenas. It's having gone to the Hill and spoken with Members privately about their plans for dealing with executive intransigence. And the answers are surprising: pretty much nothing. Most of them are looking to the courts to settle this, but this is as pure a political question as there can be. No court will take this case in the first instance. And a very, very, very limited number of Members are willing to admit that and plan for other options.

    Why?

    Because impeachment is "off the table," and they don't want to be the ones to say differently so long as the leadership is unwilling to signal otherwise. So our planning for any future non-compliance has been completely hamstrung.

    I went, I asked, and that's the answer. There is no plan beyond "Let the courts settle it."

    Again, I'm totally behind Pelosi on welcoming the confrontation.  It's what the Democratic Party has been missing for a long time.  But let's not tap dance around what "confrontation" really means.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 05:05:27 PM PDT

    •  I'm wondering (6+ / 0-)

      if their entire goal is to basically dare the Supreme Court to say that the President is probablty usurping Congressional power, declare a political question or a standing problem, and say, "You have your remedy, go ahead and use it."  That way they have political cover for holding impeachment hearings of a lame duck president in an election year, and can put Republicans on the spot.

      If that's their plan, I'm all for it.

      (-7.25, -5.85) "Talk amongst yourselves. The Christian Right: neither Christian nor right. Discuss." --Linda Richman

      by Slartibartfast on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 05:20:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Supreme Court already did that. (4+ / 0-)

        Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, June 29, 2006.  We ave already been there.

        Gleen Greenwald:

        This "debate" has now been "resolved by the courts." Thus, leaving aside whether that was previously a persuasive reason for refusing to censure the President, it is now plainly the case, in light of Hamdan, that there is no longer any good faith basis left for violating FISA.  Ongoing warrantless eavesdropping can only be ordered by the President with a deliberate intent to break the law.  After Hamdan, there are no more excuses left for the President to violate FISA, and there is therefore no more excuse left for Democratic Senators to refuse to take a stand with Sen. Feingold against the administration’s lawbreaking.

        Judging from the Democrats' response to the Feingold censure resolution:

        So, to summarize what our survey reveals: We have Democrats running and hiding, afraid to stand up to the President even when he gets caught breaking the law. We have the media mindlessly reporting GOP talking points even when they are factually false and when the falsehood could be easily verified with about 60 seconds of research. And we have Republicans accusing those few Democrats who are willing to criticize the Leader of being on the side of Terrorists, while the media passes along those false accusations without comment and Democrats run away and hide some more, never showing any offense or anger at all from watching Republicans accuse them of treason.

        We are now seeing little cracks in this cycle.  But the Democrats will not impeach, under any circumstances.

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 05:33:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We have been there, but (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Abou Ben Adhem, dadanation

          compare and contrast.

          Hamdan and FISA were about "terrists."  Many people, while they may feel differently now, still think on some level, "I have nothing to hide.  If Fredo wants to listen to my phone calls to Great Aunt Edna in order to catch some brown people who want to bomb Carhenge, then I'm not going to complain."  And if the government waterboards some other faceless brown people in Cuba, they're not going to support taking down the president over that.  As little as they support those things in a poll, they just don't feel the injury hit home outside of a few clicks on their phone line and some vaguely scary looking guy on the news who kinda looks like those guys that hijacked the planes trying to get out on a "technicality" (snark) like habeas corpus.

          Iraq is different, or at least I hope so.  People are understanding that Iraq has nothing to do with catching "terrists" and are seeing the parallels to Vietnam.  Thousands of our soldiers haven't died so they can listen in on phone calls.  A massive portion of their tax dollars aren't being wasted to waterboard that guy in Cuba.  

          Congress will tell W his credit limit has run out with the American people, When W goes out and steals daddy's other card or just plain shoplifts, people except for the burnouts that look up to W sticking it to the man will support grounding his ass and taking away his trust fund.

          (-7.25, -5.85) "Talk amongst yourselves. The Christian Right: neither Christian nor right. Discuss." --Linda Richman

          by Slartibartfast on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 07:38:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Your comment lives up to your sig, Simplify. (5+ / 0-)

      Well-stated. I agree and will be in Montpelier, Vermont at the statehouse tomorrow doing my best to put impeachment back on the table.

      Our state's Speaker of the House, Gaye Symington, has said the House has more relevant business. I don't think so, therefore I'm showing up to add another to the body count of those who don't want to have to count any more dead Iraqi and American bodies coming out of Iraq.

      In America, politics is big business. - J P Morgan

      by 4Freedom on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 05:21:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, that didn't exactly light me up. (4+ / 0-)

      I listened to the call. I think there are very, very, very few Members thinking about the possibility that going to court won't work.

      For a strategy that has so much riding on it, there's really not much thinking going on about it.

      At least not in public. Our last hope is that this is private strategery.

  •  Go Nancy! (8+ / 0-)

    We are with you!

    And thanks for the great write-up, KO.

  •  Thanks for posting this info... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dadanation, Miss Butter

    The next time I visit my Bushlican Dad, I'm going to refer to all meals as "supplemental eating times," and at bedtime, I think I'll announce I'm going to do some "supplemental sleeping." Just to wind him up a little more.

  •  Speaker Pelosi...we have to end this... (5+ / 0-)

    ...occupation...

    "Our sweat and our blood have fallen on this land to make other men rich." Cesar Estrada Chavez

    by bic momma on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 06:07:39 PM PDT

  •  I'd caution against counting on the courts. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    selise, kid oakland, Simplify

    "We can take the President to court."

    Yes.  But in which court does Speaker Pelosi have faith that the rule of law will prevail? It's true that Hamdan gives some hope that SCOTUS would stop unchecked power moves.  But it's still 5-4 pro-Bush basically... and I wouldn't count on anything now.

    Legal query:  if Congress took the President to court, which court would first hear the case?

    "...history is a tragedy not a melodrama" - I.F. Stone

    by bigchin on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 06:20:34 PM PDT

  •  k/o --> thanks for the write up (0+ / 0-)

    and thanks for taking the time to detail the process that the speaker is in the midst of now.

    one of the things she knows brilliantly -- having been an appropriator and on the sub-committee for approps for labor hhs and e particularly -- is the power of both the purse and the purse strings (the purse: the bill.  the strings: the report language).  she has a history of using both the purse and its strings to move key concerns forward, towards what she thought was the appropriate resolution/fix.

    i trust her judgment - your diary reaffirmed my trust.

    thanks again.

    _________________________________

    "...Repeat, the dog pisses on the gardenia at midnight. Over."...

    -8.25, -6.15

    by dadanation on Tue Apr 24, 2007 at 08:04:00 PM PDT

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