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Veto?  Bring it on.

In Chapter 3 of the Tao Te Ching the sage advises:

For those who practice not-doing,
everything will fall into place.

If only we had some Democrats in Congress who could learn the way of the Tao in the face of a Presidential veto.  If they did, they'd realize that they're sitting pretty right now, they hold all the cards.

Instead they think they have to "do something" like try to override the veto, or go crawling to a 29%-approval president.  Or send another bill.  Let me explain why all of those options are foolish, and why doing absolutely nothing is both ethically correct and a big political winner.

Note:  I ripped the Lao Tzu epigraph off from this post at My Left Nutmeg, Hey Congress: Time To Sit On Your Hands.  Read the whole thing.

Look, let's not get swept up by the corporate media spin that Bush's veto is somehow a setback to the effort to end the war.  In fact, it's enormous progress, and the situation we find ourselves in right now is just about the best imaginable both for those who want to bring our troops home, and for the political fortunes of the Democratic Party.  

Let's look at the reality of where we are right now, with the veto:

  1.  Funding for the occupation of Iraq will run out this summer
  1.  Congress tried to be reasonable, and appropriated the $100 billion the President asked for with only a couple minor conditions, which may not even have been binding
  1.  President George Bush is the man who single-handedly cut off the funds to keep troops in Iraq
  1.  It was only the second veto of his presidency, the first being stem cell research
  1.  70% of the American people want this war to be over, soon

Had the President signed the bill, the occupation would have been funded through the fall, roughly.  The occupation of Iraq wouldn't end until next summer at the earliest.  The White House could probably have ignored the weak conditions in the bill, or faked status reports.  And since he would be accepting Congress's plan, he could share the blame with the Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Personally, I like the present situation much better than the alternative.  Or than any of the alternatives I've heard about sending the same bill, or ones with more teeth or whatever.  And I say that both from the point of view of opposing the war, and as a partisan Democrat looking for anvils to throw the sinking elephants.  The only thing that could make me happier is if Congress would undeclare war by revoking the AUMF for Iraq.

Would Murtha's plan, or John Edwards' to send the same or stronger bills back to the president be better?  Not really, in fact, not at all.  Because not only would they send more funding, thus extending the money for the occupation, we'd also run the risk of people flaking off and watering it down.  The best strategy is to not only do nothing, but keep any appropriations bills for Iraq off the floor completely.

We had the showdown, and George Bush drew all half-cocked and shot himself in the groin.  Now we're gonna run over there and give him another chance to take a shot?  No way.  The thing to do now is walk into the saloon and hoist a beer in victory.  Leave old Little Boots bleeding out there in the street until he throws away his piece and begs for help.

I'm glad some of you here get it.  kizzle, for instance, with the Veto: Control the Message diary.  Some others in comments.

But it's not enough to be saying it here.  Go tell it to Capitol Hill, especially if you have Democrats representing you.  Don't let any more appropriations bills get to the floor.  The majority can block them, especially in the house, as we saw in the previous Congress.  And for the love of Pete, don't let the Speaker go crawling to the Oval Office to appease a sub-30% White House.

Please, contact your congresspeople and tell them you like the status quo on Iraq funding exactly the way it is.

Originally posted to zeke L on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:45 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  tip jar? (24+ / 0-)

    i'd rather hear you picking up the phone and dialing DC...

    l'audace! l'audace! toujours l'audace!

    by zeke L on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:38:35 PM PDT

  •  I'm a big fan of this approach. (7+ / 0-)

    Have never brought it up as I just assumed I was the only one and would be considered crazy.

    •  You are not alone (5+ / 0-)

      as there are others that have ascribed to this very strategy. As each day goes by I keep coming back to the fact that it is a good approach. I really don't see a backlash from it anymore.

      Let's move on with other pressing issues and continue to do the peoples business.

      bush is now history. Let him quack like the duck he is. Or let him (and he will do this) steal the money like St. Reagan did (Iran-Contra) but only this time he goes to jail for it.

      •  the only backlash to sweat ... (6+ / 0-)

        ... comes from the BlueDogs, who might well sponsor a bipartisan bill with the entire GOP caucus

        the spin and framing from that would be disastrous

        Pelosi and Reid have some tough cat-herding in their immediate future ... if somethings going to happen, far better it come from our side than the other (plus turncoats) ...

        it's easy to sit back and play the NetActivists' emotions by calling for inaction ... something else to hold true to both your values and your caucus' unity ...

        it's about biconceptualism ... Obama08

        by wystler on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:51:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yes to caucus unity... (1+ / 0-)

          Pelosi and Reid have a tough road.

          When you have to buy free speech, only the rich have a voice. Bill Moyers

          by Pink Lady on Wed May 02, 2007 at 08:13:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Not sure there'd be much backlash at all (0+ / 0-)

          have a look here to see why

          To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult of all -Goethe

          by commonscribe on Wed May 02, 2007 at 08:27:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  But would it move? (0+ / 0-)

          Anyone can sponsor anything, but unless the leadership brings it to the floor, it won't move.  Now, I don't know that Pelosi would say no to Hoyer, but if it meant a real blow to her leadership, I think she'd have to.

          Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care. Give it fresh water and feed it clean air. -- Dr. Seuss

          by mwk on Wed May 02, 2007 at 08:50:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  the worst leadership can do ... (0+ / 0-)

            ... is send it to committee

            if the committee has enough bluedog votes, the minority can get it back on the floor

            meanwhile, the press' role? don't ya think it'd be all over the sunday talkers, evening broadcast news, 24/7 cable operations, etc.? the GOP is still pretty damned good at getting the press releases into the news cycle ...

            it's about biconceptualism ... Obama08

            by wystler on Thu May 03, 2007 at 08:26:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  i been sayin' it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      melvin, trashablanca

      for a couple months now, and thought i was the only one.

      butchya see, i've found if you do that enough, after a couple months there's a small gaggle of other folks saying the same thing, if the idea is worth a damn.  and before you know it, it becomes CW.

      so spread the word!

      l'audace! l'audace! toujours l'audace!

      by zeke L on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:22:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Murtha actually floated it at one point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      trashablanca

      but Steny and the Blue Dogs shot it down fast.

  •  Status Quo (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dotcommodity

    You're right about doing nothing. It would end the war sooner rather than later. But doing that would require casting Democrats as a "Do Nothing" Congress, and that's a frame we don't want to take hold.

    I'd rather see Congress continually do something, and let the President be the one on the defensive.

    •  By doing nothing (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zeke L, flatford39, Mannabass

      They would be doing something. It's called oversight. Congress holds the purse strings and they don't have to give in to his petulanceness.

      So many impeachable offenses, so little time... -6.0 -5.33

      by Cali Techie on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:50:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Purse Strings (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LynneK

        Yes, Congress does hold the purse strings. But for Congress to just sit on its ass and do nothing is something that conservatives would have a field day with.

        I'd prefer this option as you would, but how would you frame it? "We are the majority, and we don't have to do shit!" That's the same attitude we got from Republicans for the last six years.

        Of course I'm not advocating watering down the bill the President vetoed. I'd like to see a tougher bill, or at least the same. But simply doing nothing at all is not the answer.

        •  Don't miss the point: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zeke L

          Let's move on with other pressing issues and continue to do the peoples business.

          Nobody's advocating that Congress "do nothing".  We're advocating that Congress move on to other important business.  They already sent Bush all the funding he needed to wage an illegal war.  Why would we do that twice?  Because he threw a tantrum?  I don't think that is wise.  Congress' approval ratings are climbing.  Could it be that every time the Democrats show a little spine, voters place more faith in them?

          If you don't like the effects, don't produce the cause.

          by Mannabass on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:09:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Other Issues (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bablhous

            I agree completely that Congress needs to get on to other business, but I disagree that it doesn't need to send the President another funding bill.

            Imagine the right-wing machine going into overdrive to the tune that "Democrats won't send a bill to fund the troops." Yes we know that this bill was sent, and that the President vetoed it, but all the people will be hearing is that "Democrats won't send a bill to support the troops."

            I don't care if they Xerox the same bill and send it up there, but they have to send a bill over and over again until the money does run out and the President is forced to withdraw. Anything less will put Democrats on the defensive.

            •  They DID send a funding bill! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              zeke L

              The president vetoed it. What usually happens after a veto when there isn't enough votes in Congress to override is that it dies.

              So many impeachable offenses, so little time... -6.0 -5.33

              by Cali Techie on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:29:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  the american people aren't that stupid (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bablhous, Mannabass

              other than the wrong-wing nutbags who still support the war, of course.

              everyone in the entire country knows by now, or tomorrow morning at the very latest that the president just vetoed the funding for the war.  they may not have heard it phrased the way i did, that he cut off the exact same funding he requested in the first place, but they know it was his veto that did it.  give them some credit.

              and in any case, this whole "dems have to provide funding for the war of people will think they aren't funding the troops" is a media bogeyman.  there is no such pressure outside the DC beltway.  again, people know more about what's going on than the lying punditocracy gives them credit for.

              plus, the next election is 20 months away. even if there were a genuine outcry instead of phoney wingnut outrage, it would still be worth it to stand pat and let the president flail.  i guarantee with the money running out in a couple months he will melt down.  well, more than he already is.  and if it brings the occupation to a close, we'll be the ones to take the credit after a couple months.

              l'audace! l'audace! toujours l'audace!

              by zeke L on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:53:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Easy Frameshop (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zeke L, groggy, bablhous

          Think about it. All the Democrats have to do is sit on their hands on this one issue (there are plenty of others for them to work on). They frame it this way:

          "We listened to the President and we listened to the people. In the end we gave the President what he wanted but we also gave the people what they wanted. The President is the one who stood in the way and vetoed the bill. We will be happy to send him another bill however it will have not only what he wants, but what the American people want, a timeline for getting our troops out of Iraq and end the unnecessary sacrifice of our military and our treasury. Until the President is willing to sign into law legislation mandated by the people, it is pointless to proceed any further on this issue."

          So many impeachable offenses, so little time... -6.0 -5.33

          by Cali Techie on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:12:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  there's plenty else to get done (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bablhous

      why keep spending time wrangling over appropriations bills the president says he wants, but then vetoes when he gets it?

      it's like cooking meals for a spoiled five-year old.  i want pizza! okay honey, here's your pizza.  no, i hate pizza! gimme mac-n-cheese!  sigh, here's the mac-n-cheese dear.  slimy old mac-n-cheese, i wanna hot dog!

      it can just go on and on.  at some point you have to just say they eat what you put in front of them or go hungry.  if you're smart, you do that right off the bat.

      meanwhile, congress can work on healthcare, minimum wage, etc etc. that the real do-nothing congress fell down on the job on.

      but more war appropriations?  uh, sorry, we already did one for this year.  what do you mean the president threw it out?  i guess he's SOL then.

      don't get me wrong, the title was just an attention grabber.  

      well, that and the way of the tao.

      l'audace! l'audace! toujours l'audace!

      by zeke L on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:16:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Congress isn't the one (8+ / 0-)

    With the 28% approval rating. The Democratic leadership doesn't have to do squat. They gave Bush what he wanted and then some and he said no.

    Congress should do one of three things

    1. Re-send the bill back as is or with even more restrictions or a shorter timeline
    1. Send a bill that only funds an orderly withdrawal
    1. Do nothing forcing Bush to pull our troops out

    The Democrats in Congress have no need to blink. They aren't the ones with the sun in their eyes.

    So many impeachable offenses, so little time... -6.0 -5.33

    by Cali Techie on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:49:32 PM PDT

  •  So divorce the Iraq supp from other spending bill (4+ / 0-)

    Let dumbya do whatever with the other spending bills and if he wants Iraq money, offer the same bill he vetoed?

    Smart!

  •  This one is really.... (0+ / 0-)

    ...a no-brainer. Putting the onus on the President is the best move at this point, he might actually have to NEGOTIATE and COMPROMISE for pretty much the first time in his presidency.

    "...if my thought-dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine...." {-8.13;-5.59}

    by lams712 on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:49:30 PM PDT

  •  Agreed. Congressial leaders should be (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zeke L, bablhous, Pink Lady

    slow-walking this.  Negotiate from a position of strength.  Argue, argue, argue.  Kick the ball down the road a bit.  Offer less and less.  Make him cry back at the cameras that he can't get his way.

    •  the best "offer less" ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bablhous

      ... will likely wind up a two or three month no-strings funding, once the caucus meets and gets assurances from the BlueDogs that they won't bolt

      it's about biconceptualism ... Obama08

      by wystler on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:54:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  which is exactly why (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bablhous

        we need to make those phone calls.

        the blue dogs aren't stupid.  they do what they do because they think it'll get them re-elected.  and even in their districts people want this stupid war to end.  remind them of that.

        l'audace! l'audace! toujours l'audace!

        by zeke L on Tue May 01, 2007 at 10:04:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I Never Thought of "DO NOTHING"... (0+ / 0-)

    ...and at this point, it makes as much sense as ANY option with the exception of capitulation--provided the message is loudly, consistently, and REPEATEDLY framed at EVERY opportunity that it was the president HIMSELF who vetoed the very funding he requested and is defying the will of the people to bring our useless bloody occupation of Iraq to an end.

    From what I've observed so far, the dominant televised media narrative of the appropriations battle has mimicked the White House spin of a dangerously wreckless and meddlesome Congress virtually verbatim. Kyra (airhead spokesmodel) Phillips and Michael Ware's recent joint interview on CNN is a perfect example.  

    NOWHERE IN TELEVISION COVERAGE HAVE I HEARD A SENTENCE ALONG THESE LINES UTTERED BY A NEWS ANCHOR:

    "In direct contradiction to the will of the overwhelming majority of the American people to end the occupation of Iraq, President Bush vetoed the very funding for the troops he himself requested and Congress passed precisely BECAUSE it contained withdrawal language."

    Barack Obama's "We are one signature away from ending this war" statement and AUC's "the will of one nation versus the stubborness of one man" ad need 24/7/365 repetition.

    NOTE TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND THE SEVEN DINOS WHO OPPOSED THE VETO OVERRIDE:

    A disproportionate amount of the blood spilled from this day forward until we finally DO leave will be from your hands; HERE'S HOPING YOU CHOKE ON IT--ALL OF YOU.  

       

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