Saturday, May 26, 2007

109. Roll Call Vote # 425, HR 2206, 110th Congress

Yesterday the president signed into law, from his getaway (or is it a hideaway) at Camp David in the hills of Maryland a little north of the nation's capital, an appropriation for his War In Iraq, the war a majority of Americans oppose. The same war against which a number of Americans let their voices be known last fall when by their vote, a change was made in the Congress putting the Democrats in charge. It was a commitment between the voters and the politicians for whom they voted that direct and immediate attention would be given toward moving toward an end of America's involvement in a war on the other side of the globe, a war for which those who were involved in a previous American war in the 1960s, is more and more drawing strikingly similar comparisons. To their credit, leadership at both ends of the Capitol has worked toward such an end, but that working fell short this week when the House concurred, by a 280-142 (and 11 not voting) vote, by Amendment, with the Senate on funding the War without any reference to a pullout date. For the record, Congressman John Yarmuth, my congressman, and one of the so-called Majority Makers elected in 2006, voted against the measure as I felt he should given that many of those who sent him to Washington did so for the purpose of ending the Iraqi War. This measure does not do that. Yesterday, I heard Speaker Pelosi, about whom I have previously written with positive comments, say "This measure is the beginning of the end of the War." Yeah, right. She added "September becomes decision day." Well, not necessarily. September becomes the next time the congress must decide the political implications of voting Yes or No, and it should be pointed out that September is a hell of lot closer to re-election season than May. While I am hopeful, I am not convinced in the least.

Having said all that, and giving respect to my congressman for the honest and courageous vote he made, it should be noted that our Republic is based on a system of checks and balances, although Tony Snow and others in the current administration lose sight of those and other Constitutional niceties from time-to-time. Such checks and balances require a give-and-take. There is a role for compromise in government. Politics has long been called the "Art of Compromise." It is, in fact, an overwhelming part of how our governors actually govern. We the electorate should not only expect it but welcome it. We would not be happy with a "rubberstamp" Congress; nor would our desires for governance be sated by gridlock, a state-of-affairs we have lived with in the past, where nothing is accomplished, despite the fact that all the governors continue to be paid their paychecks by the governees during this time of atrophy. Thus, compromise can be good, even when the end result is different from where we want it to be. In fact, it will almost always be different from where we want it to be. We are a melting pot, a democratic republic electing to our houses of congress five hundred thirty five men and women whose job it is to arrive at some collective agreement on the governance of the Republic.

Like making sausage, it ain't pretty. And not all sausage is good. This is one of those times that the result isn't good. September is four months or so away. I hope the Speaker is right. I hope decision day does arrive. Until then, I'm pleased with the "No" vote of my congressman on Roll Call Vote #425, on HR 2206, a second amendment on the measure concurring with the Senate in the funding of the War.

To date, 3452 Americans have given their lives in this War. May their Souls Rest In Peace.

1 comment:

Nick Stump said...

I think Yarmuth's vote was very proper, especially considering the political leanings of the third district.

What does worry me is the anger the progressive netroots has shown toward those who voted for the bill, many vowing to vote the Democrats out, as if there was another more liberal party to take their place.

You're right, it is about compromise. I also believe Senator Webb was right when he called, benchmarks "feel-good" ideas, and I don't believe benchmarks will do much to end the war. It is dangerous for many Democrats to take this stand when it would not result in ending the war. Benchmarks might well placate the left, but there's little to gain from making the netroots folks feel good about their influence and losing Democratic seats in Congress for the effort.

This is a very complicated situation and we lefties, (including) myself often want simple answers we can understand and take credit for. In truth, this war will probably wind on for a while. As Powell said, if we break it, we buy it, and for all my hopes for peace ASAP, I know it's much easier to get in and get out. The hard left needs to understand how small our majority is in Congress.

I pray for wisdom or God to intercede and give us a Democratic President and and a filibuster-proof Congress. Right now, it's fine for those in Congress from liberal districts to make the right stand on principle. It's as it should be and I'm pleased not only with Yarmuth's stand on principle but his efforts on the behalf of veterans. He has done us proud.

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Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Single, male, bald, overweight, early 50s, seeking . . . Oh wait, that's goes on the other website. How about this - never married, liberal Democrat, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.