“Republicans sure don’t care about finding $200 billion to fight the illegal war in Iraq. Where are you going to get that money? Are you going to tell us lies like you’re telling us today? Is that how you’re going to fund the war? You don’t have money to fund the war or children. But you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President’s amusement.” Congressman Peter Stark
Pete Starks craziness is less about the war or health insurance for children that it is the cumulation of almost nine years of hatred. Ever since the George Bush beat Al Gore in the electoral college, democrats have felt that the republican party stole the election from them. Their reaction has been to be angry obstructionists. Last year once they won both house of congress it was all supposed to change. Now the Democrats would be able to get their way. As it has turned out–more than any other US Congress in my adult lifetime this Democratic controlled congress is one of negativism and hatred. Instead of trying to move the United States ahead–their agenda is to try and destroy the man they perceived stole the presidency from them–and now that they have been proven wrong with regards to the surge–their anger has grown more intense. This is the sad legacy of the 110th Congress– it chose to be tied up in its hatred of political opponents rather than legislate a future for America.
Epitaph for a Congress
The defining moment of the 110th Congress and the party that led it.
by William Kristol
10/29/2007, Volume 013, Issue 07
Perhaps the Democratic sweep in last November’s elections was providential. Consider what might have happened if Republicans had suffered setbacks on November 7, 2006, but had narrowly maintained control of Congress. The political situation facing the Bush administration would have seemed less dire. Those pushing for a new strategy in Iraq and a surge of troops might well have failed to convince the administration to embrace such a radical change. Shaky Republicans in Congress, terrified by the close call, would have been adamant that we begin to draw down in Iraq. The report of the Iraq Study Group would have fallen on the desperately receptive ears of congressional Republicans (“we barely held on and we’d better do something”) and on equally receptive disappointed-but-emboldened-Democratic ones. The 110th Congress would then have insisted, with a bipartisan flourish, on an establishment-sanctioned middle way that was, in fact, a disguised path to defeat. Bush would have had a difficult time resisting pressure from a Republican or partly Republican Congress. And we would now be facing an utter debacle in the heart of the Middle East. Instead, the GOP lost both houses. Having little left to lose, Bush defied conventional wisdom, changed commanders and strategy, and went for the surge. He was able to hold Republicans together and beat back a series of partisan assaults from the Democratic Congress, starting in January and continuing into September. He was able to buy time until the new strategy backed by more troops began to work. The most comical evidence of the surge’s success was the story on the antiwar McClatchy Newspapers wire last Tuesday, “As violence falls in Iraq, cemetery workers feel the pinch.” As the astute observers at the Powerline blog put it, “This is one of those headlines you couldn’t make up.” Jay Price of the Raleigh News & Observer and Qasim Zein of McClatchy Newspapers (along with McClatchy special correspondents Janab Hussein, Hussein Kadhim, and Sahar Issa–it was a major story!) reported the sad news:
At what’s believed to be the world’s largest cemetery, where Shiite Muslims aspire to be buried and millions already have been, business isn’t good. A drop in violence around Iraq has cut burials in the huge Wadi al Salam cemetery here by at least one-third in the past six months, and that’s cut the pay of thousands of workers who make their living digging graves, washing corpses or selling burial shrouds.
A loss of income for cemetery workers due to a decline in violence! Clearly an injustice for the Democratic Congress to address. But first, on Thursday, they had to try to override President Bush’s veto of their cherished middle-class children’s insurance bill. Bush’s veto was about to be sustained when senior Democratic congressman Pete Stark, from the San Francisco Bay area, took to the floor of the House:
You don’t have money to fund the war or children. But you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people, if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement.
So U.S. troops in Iraq are just “blow[ing] up innocent people,” and the president is sending those troops there “to get their heads blown off” for his “amusement”? Whenever you think congressional Democrats can sink no lower, they prove you wrong. Twenty-four hours later, Democratic leaders had yet to chastise their 18-term colleague. Stark refused to apologize, but he did say he respected the troops. So does Hillary Clinton. But last month, over on the Senate side, she couldn’t resist impugning the integrity of General David Petraeus as he testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Clinton said Petraeus’s testimony required a “willing suspension of disbelief.” That is, contrary to all evidence, Clinton accused the commanding general of U.S. troops in Iraq of misleading the American people. All of this followed by several months the defining statement of the 110th Congress: Harry Reid’s assertion, this past April 19, “This war is lost.” History may well record that statement as the epitaph for the 110th Congress, and the party that led it. The Democrats engaged in endless efforts to make sure the war really was lost. They failed. Now it looks as if the war, despite the Democratic Congress’s best efforts, may well be won. It’s the congressional Democrats who are the losers. And so could be the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee. Are the American people likely to elect the candidate of a party that has tried its best to lose a winnable war? –William Kristol