December 20, 2005

Showdown Coming

Over the Defense Appropriations bill in the Senate. Democrats are threatening a filibuster. Why? Because it contains a provision that would once and for all authorize drilling in ANWR.

Democrats are stuck between a rock and a hard place on this. If they don't filibuster, the enviro-whackos of their base will lose their minds and they'll lose a campaign issue. If they do, they'll take away the funds necessary for supplying our troops. Either way, they lose. And Sen. Ted Stevens, who is in charge of the Appropriations Committee, is prepared to keep the Senate in session through the end of the month to get this bill passed.

But it's not just the Dems you have to watch. Michelle Malkin reminds us to keep an eye on those squishy Republicans from the Blue States who take big money from the Environmental Groups. They'll also be on the hot seat. And Cheney cut short his Middle-East trip to be on hand to break a tie.

Matt Margolis at GOP Bloggers:

Democrats have used very heated rhetoric in the past about reducing our dependence on foreign sources of oil and the high gas prices. Drilling in ANWR addresses both those problems. The bill itself contains dozens of environment protections, which should be satisfactory to them, such as barring drilling during the summer or when caribou are calving...

Yet, despite their opposition to this defense appropriations bill, the Democrats accuse Republicans of shortchanging our troops. Well, with no good reason to oppose this bill, we know which party truly support our troops, and which party is abandoning them.

This will be interesting.

Posted by: Gary at 09:04 PM | Comments (13) | Add Comment
Post contains 271 words, total size 2 kb.

1 I don't know, Gary. I think Ted Stevens is insulting the intelligence of the American people. The Republicans are the ones always talking about the sanctity of an up-or-down vote, so let's have one. Up or down on ANWR, and up or down on the defense appropriation. I haven't made up my mind on ANWR drilling (I lean against it, but I can be convinced), but throwing it in the defense appropriations bill is playing politics, pure and simple. It's dishonest and disingenuous. I always enjoy reading your blog, by the way. I'm not an ex-donkey quite yet, but every time Howard Dean opens his mouth I'm very tempted.

Posted by: Jeff D. at December 21, 2005 10:31 AM (EJCKV)

2 I couldn't care less about ANWR or the freaking caribou. Sad devotion to every single minute environmental issue allows the GOP spinmeisters to pretend that ALL environmental issues are just chimeras of the Left, including the REAL environmental issues like clean air and clean water, global warming, etc. Granted, I think that Eisenhower did enough when he open 99% of Alaska for drilling, I don't think it is a big issue. However, it is shameless for the GOP bloggers to pretend that there is no disgraceful politicking going on by adding this onto the budget bill. Don't be a dumb whore, Margolis. That is EXACTLY what is going on, the same kind of BS that happened with the creation of DHS and allowed the GOP to smear Max Cleland- attaching anti-progressive agendas to a defense-oriented bill, and then crying "treason" when someone votes against it. I'm with Jeff D.- where are the cries for an up-or-down vote now?

Posted by: Napoleon Dolemite at December 21, 2005 11:07 AM (ecLFn)

3 ND - I'm not denying that this is playing politics. Welcome to Washington. Yes, Margolis is a GOP shill but that doesn't make his point any less valid. Dems (and some in the GOP) scream and holler about our dependency on foreign sources of oil and then scuttle any attempts to drill domestically, particularly in the pestilential wasteland that is the Northern Slope of Alaska. They have to decide what is more important - supplying our troops in a time of war or pandering to the environmental groups. Democrats are playing politics with the filibuster - Republicans are playing politics by attaching ANWR drilling to the defense bill. It's unfortunate that it has to come to this but the Dems asked for it. They can't have it both ways. And elections matter. The President and (most of) the GOP members Congress ran on ANWR drilling as an issue. They won. And for the record, DHS was held up by Democrats because they were putting their Labor supporters before the security of the United States. Same situation. Voters understood this in 2002. And Democrats lost. And Cleland wasn't smeared. His service to his country was not questioned, his judgement and the votes that he cast were. He lost, too. Politics is not for the faint-hearted. The GOP lets the Dems pull too many of their stupid little stunts as it is. They control both chambers of Congress. It's about time they acted like it. If Democrats were in control, they would show not mercy.

Posted by: Gary at December 21, 2005 11:35 AM (QoxB+)

4 And for the record, DHS was held up by Democrats because they were putting their Labor supporters before the security of the United States. Same situation. Voters understood this in 2002. And Democrats lost. For the record, actually, Bush and the Republicans were opposed to the very idea of a Homeland Security Department at first. Once they realized that the public favored such a department, they acted like the idea had been theirs all along. And Cleland wasn't smeared. His service to his country was not questioned, his judgement and the votes that he cast were. He lost, too. If running a television commercial featuring an image of Cleland superimposed with images of Hussein and bin Ladin isn't smearing, then I don't know what is.

Posted by: Jeff D. at December 21, 2005 01:34 PM (EJCKV)

5 Jeff - 1) President Bush on September 20, 2001 - "So tonight I announce the creation of a Cabinet-level position reporting directly to me -- the Office of Homeland Security." Having a central office in charge of Homeland Security was Bush's idea and he acted on it immediately. I believe you're referring to a proposal for reorganizing existing agencies into one DEPARMENT of Homeland Security. That process went through much deliberation with many concerned (including the President) that such a department would have been too bloated a bureaucracy to effectively protect the country. Once he was convinced this was possible, he supported it 100%. On June 6, 2002: "Tonight, I propose a permanent Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security to unite essential agencies that must work more closely together". This was in a prime time address asking the people to call their representatives to support the measure as it required an act of Congress. Bush doesn't make national security decisions based on polling. Where were the Democrats in this whole process? Bitching that the President wasn't doing enough, hoping to make some gains in November. They're the one's who had their fingers in the wind, following polls to tell them what to support. You need to get your history straight. 2) As to Cleland, I'm not familiar with that ad. Perhaps the first thing you can tell me is who put it up? Was it the RNC? Was it any part of the GOP? Or was it a special interest group?

Posted by: Gary at December 21, 2005 02:06 PM (PLHs9)

6 Gary, thanks for the thoughtful response and stimulating discussion. The Cleland ad was terrible smear, and I believe it was his opponent who put it up. Not that any of it matters: I'm sure money donated by Margolis and his ilk funded it somehow or another. DHS The issue about DHS pertained to shameful ways that the administration was trying to block basic labor rights that other government employees held, and it was despicable of them to try to wedge an anti-labor plutocratic shell game into something like DHS. Standing up for those rights wasn't opposition to DHS, just that they wanted it to be structured differently (kind of like the slander going on now about Dems' opposition to certain parts of the Patriot Act). However, I do believe that JEff is correct that DHS was first proposed by Joe Lieberman and another Democratic senator, and was initially opposed by the White House. The current DHS is indeed a combination of many agencies. I might be missing something here, but I think that's how it went down. ANWAR Again, I care little about ANWR other than its place in the broader "dirty tricks" discussion. However, I think it is a bit myopic to think that the ANWR issue played into minds of voters. This last election was about a lot of things, but first and foremost about national security. Thanks to the GOP shamefully smearing Kerry's military record, distorting his stance on the war resolution and subsequent budget allocation, and Kerry's own impotence in responding to his critics, Bush made an extremely successful pitch to Americans that he was the better choice. It would have been interesting if the Dems had put up a real candidate, and if the lack of WMD/terrorist ties had come out sooner. Furthermore, if your analysis of Bush's election serving as a mandate for ANWR is true, why did his SS reform fail so miserably, both in the polls and legislatively? He campaigned on that too, you know. I'm not talking trash, I'm just saying that winning the election doesn't mean that the public is on board with his whole agenda. However, you are right, to the winner goes the spoils, and the GOP has the right to put up the legislation they want to. FILIBUSTER I disagree that the filibuster is "playing politics" as much as slapping unrelated legislation together is. How is it "playing politics?" It would seem the the nuclear option (or "nucular" option, depending on who is pronouncing it) is playing politics with longstanding and bipartisanly used senate procedure. Furthermore, and I presume that you are referring to the judicial nomination process, the GOP history in the 90s of subverting nominees is almost indefensible. Anyway, sorry for the long post. Again, great discussion.

Posted by: Napoleon Dolemite at December 21, 2005 03:10 PM (ecLFn)

7 I echo N.D.'s comments thanking you for the discussion. On the Cleland ad, here's the link (comment box wouldn't let me put in the link) and here's the quote: "Chambliss even ran a TV ad picturing Cleland with Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden." Here's what McCain and Hagel thought of the ad: "Republican John McCain, who called it 'worse than disgraceful'; and Republican Chuck Hagel, who termed it 'beyond offensive.'" (a href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-md.olesker12dec12001539,0,4124146.column?track=mostemailedlink">link) Do you think such an ad is fair game? Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Posted by: Jeff D. at December 21, 2005 03:28 PM (EJCKV)

8 Cleland Ad - Neither of us can substantiate where the ad in question came from. But considering where the media falls in cases like this, if it could have been legitimately tied to the RNC or the GOP, it would have. And it would have back-fired. That being said, it was probably a special-interest group. Max Cleland was not defeated in 2002 because anyone attacked his patriotism or implied that he was a fan of Osama Bin Laden. Cleland lost because his opponent pointed out, quite well, that his voting record made him a Liberal. He voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion, he voted against eliminating the IRS marriage penalty, he voted against withholding Federal funding from the public schools that discriminated against the boy scouts, he voted against John Ashcroft's confirmation as attorney general, he voted 22 times to dilute Bush's tax cuts, he voted to make it legal to distribute the "morning after" abortion pill at all public schools, as well as voting against DHS. Senate races are local races first and foremost, not national ones. Have you ever been to Georgia? Do you know anyone from Georgia? I have and I do and I have to tell you, Cleland's voting record may have gone over well with the people of the State of New York but not in Georgia. It's primarily a center-right oriented State and it loves George W. Bush. Because the DNC couldn't defend Cleland's votes to the people of Georgia, they tried claiming that the Republicans were attacking him personally, which was not the case. The Democrats wanted all DHS employees to be union employees. I'm sorry, but if someone working for the DHS turns out to be an incompetent buffoon, I want him to get a pink slip right then, right there. Don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out. No arbitration, no board of grievances. You're OUT! This is the security of my three children we're talking about. Spare me the lecture on "basic labor rights". This was about the Democrats trying to strengthen the ranks of AFSCME and lining up more Democrat votes and more union dues funnelled to the DNC. I've made it clear how important I think ANWR drilling is. However, I disagree with your analysis of the last election. Kerry's record in Vietnam was not smeared, it was questioned by men who served with him. Kerry's attempt to first ignore it and then later attack the Swift Vets did him in. He should have just come clean. Voters can be very forgiving. But Kerry didn't trust the very people he proposed to lead. And how can you distort Kerry's position on the war resolution when he kept changing it every other week? Kerry lost because voters are still not convinced that their national security can be trusted to a Democrat. The problem is not the candidate, it's the part's ideology. It's too far to the left of the average voter. That being said, Bush's supporters voted for him on other issues as well. Yes, social security (which Democrats were successful in lying about with the help of the AARP) failed. That doesn't mean the people who voted for him didn't support reform. It just means that status quo-oriented Congressmen where able to tie it up in committees. And lastly, the filibuster. The filibuster is not a provision of the Constitution. It's a parliamentary procedure created by the Senate. As such it can be rescinded by the Senate. The filibuster encourages the minority to block proposals rather than to try to work with the majority to craft them more to their liking. And that's what Democrats do. They don't propose, they don't offer alternatives, they don't want to work together. They just want to block, to impede, to oppose. They serve no purpose other than to maintain the status quo. You don't get elected these days by offering to preserve the status quo. You get elected by offering solutions to problems. This is what Democrats fail to see. This is why Democrats keep losing.

Posted by: Gary at December 21, 2005 03:54 PM (QoxB+)

9 "A narrator said that while America faced terrorists, Cleland opposed Bush's homeland security efforts." That statement is factual. American did face terrorists (hence the pictures of Osama and Saddam). Did question his patriotism? No. It said Cleland opposed Bush's homeland security efforts. Did he not? Would it have been better to say that Cleland opposed DHS because he was controlled by the Federal Employee Unions? That was factual as well. You can make the case that putting in the pictures of Osama and Saddam was in bad taste. I don't recall Cleland every refuting the claim that he was opposing the DHS. Regardless, Cleland lost his Senate seat because of the issues I've already outlined.

Posted by: Gary at December 21, 2005 04:07 PM (PLHs9)

10 "which Democrats were successful in lying about " >> Puh-lease. The only ones distorting that were the Republicans pretending that raising the cap on payroll taxes wouldn't extend the program by decades.

Posted by: Napoleon Dolemite at December 21, 2005 06:03 PM (ecLFn)

11 Sorry Gary, I disagree. To claim that Kerry and Cleland weren't smeared requires redefining "smear" in ways similar to what the Bush administration has done with the words "torture" and "small-business." As for the rest of your comment, some I agree with, some I disagree. Some of it I swear I heard on Limbaugh(or was it Hannity?), and when I see that I tend to drift into focusless sleep-like disinterest. Been fun, Gary, but I'm all threaded out today.

Posted by: Napoleon Dolemite at December 21, 2005 06:08 PM (ecLFn)

12 It's reassuring to know that you read at least some of it before you "drift into focusless sleep-like disinterest". I need to remind myself to disengage before the number of comments hits double-digits. It's like dealing with a stray cat. Feed it once and it just keeps coming back and coming back...

Posted by: Gary at December 21, 2005 07:14 PM (wPJid)

13 I've been called many things in my life, but never a stray cat! Merry Christmas!

Posted by: Jeff D. at December 22, 2005 10:06 AM (EJCKV)

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