Friday, June 16, 2006

Congressional Buffonery

Almost makes you wonder when the House and Senate will start having outbursts like those witnessed in Taiwan. This NYTimes article makes one pause at how anything can actually get done. The political games are just astounding. The Rethugs toss in obvious legislation to make the Dems look bad, the Dems then screech that it's unfair or that it's just political posturing, and then both sides try to ride the wave to success.

Murtha was just precious, as usual.
Representative John P. Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat and Vietnam War veteran whose call for a speedy withdrawal of troops transformed the debate last year, rose repeatedly to tell Republicans, "Rhetoric does not solve the problem." He added: "We need a plan. It's not enough to say stay the course."

Referring to the sectarian violence cleaving Iraq, Mr. Murtha said, "They're fighting each other, and our troops are caught in between."

He keeps yelling that same thing over and over, yet his only proposal is to bail out "over the horizon" and let the Iraqi's fend for themselves. If things get really bad we could send in a quick reaction force that will take hours to arrive at best. Yes, you need a plan that makes sense if you're going to change the course. But we're still waiting for one.

Then there is the Kerry/McConnell Amendment. This one is just fascinating.
Democrats in the Senate cried foul when Republicans forced a vote on a withdrawal amendment originally developed by Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts. Mr. Kerry had held off from seeking a vote on it, while working with other Democrats to seek a broader consensus. But Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican whip, simply scratched out Mr. Kerry's name, replaced it with his own and offered it for debate. Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the majority leader, characterized the amendment as "cutting and running."

Harry Reid of Nevada, one of many Senate Democrats who oppose Mr. Kerry's amendment, rose to declare, "There are two things that don't exist in Iraq: cutting and running, and weapons of mass destruction." Mr. Reid moved to remove the amendment from consideration, and his motion was approved by a vote of 93 to 6. Senate Democrats promised to return next week with additional amendments on an exit strategy for American troops.

I don't suppose I need to further comment on those political shennanigans. Though I really want to know who the six senators were that voted for that amendment. That would be a list of pariahs to keep handy.

Then I'm going to guess that this bit is the President's involvement. And of course the Pentagon screwed up, or if you're especially cynical, as I am, you'll think that politics in the Pentagon played themselves out.
In a highly unusual attempt to influence the debate, the Pentagon sent a 74-page "prep book" to several members of Congress, outlining what it called "rapid response" talking points to rebut criticism of Mr. Bush's handling of the war and prewar intelligence. The Pentagon sent the book to Democratic leaders on Wednesday night, apparently in error, then sent an e-mail message two hours later asking to recall it.
I love the email recall. Yeah, like I'd return the "prep book" if I was a Dem. I'd publish it. AMERICAblog has what I'm assuming is the document. Since this isn't any official site, I'll remain my usual skeptical as to whether this is the actual document. I'll look at some of the congressional sites later and see if they have posted it.

On another congressional topic, there is the outing of Jefferson by the House Dems.
Add political banishment to the list of problems confronting Rep. William Jefferson , ensnared in a bribery scandal that fellow Democrats hope to turn to their election-year advantage.

"Democrats are determined to hold a high ethical standard," the party's leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, said Thursday night after engineering a 99-58 vote of the rank and file that stripped Jefferson of his seat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

"This isn't about proof in the court of law. This is about an ethical standard," Pelosi said. "I wish that the White House would do the same."

Democrats long have accused Republicans of nourishing a "culture of corruption" in Congress, and signaled their desire to make ethics a key issue in their drive to win control of the House in the November elections.

Hmmm. I wonder what Pelosi means by that shot at the White House? Does she mean that the President should start firing people who are under suspicion but not indictment against the standing rules and for political gain? It is about an ethical standard, but there are standing rules, and just because there is a look of impropriety doesn't mean you can choose to circumvent those rules and still be fair. The finger pointing on the culture of corruption also isn't working. I have yet to see a poll that doesn't have Dems viewed in the same light as the Repugs.

Ain't Politics Grand?

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