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:
- Funding for the occupation of Iraq will run out this summer
- 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
- President George Bush is the man who single-handedly cut off the funds to keep troops in Iraq
- It was only the second veto of his presidency, the first being stem cell research
- 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.