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(UPDATE) The chance for bi-partisan agreement on Iraq starts to slip away
Posted by: McQ on Monday, November 13, 2006

The bi-partisan siren song concerning solving "the problem" of Iraq is not looking good. Especially with this move:
House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) endorsed Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) yesterday as the next House majority leader, thereby stepping into a contentious intraparty fight between Murtha and her current deputy, Maryland's Steny H. Hoyer.

The unexpected move signaled the sizable value Pelosi gives to personal loyalty and personality preferences. Hoyer competed with her in 2001 for the post of House minority whip, while Murtha managed her winning campaign. Pelosi has also all but decided she will not name the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) to chair that panel next year, a decision pregnant with personal animus.
Murtha recently had this to say about Iraq and the President:
"I was disappointed to hear the same old rhetoric coming from the president. He did not speak about a change of policy in Iraq. Changing the secretary does not change the policy, and the policy is set by the White House. We need a change in Iraq that is based on redeployment because that is what is best for America," Murtha said.
Pelosi's endorsement pretty much signals the Democratic stance on the subject when the 110th Congress convenes:
But in her first real decision as the incoming speaker, Pelosi said she was swayed by Murtha's early stance for a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. Her letter of endorsement yesterday made clear that she sees Iraq as the central issue of the next Congress and that she believes a decorated Marine combat veteran at the helm of the House caucus would provide Democrats ammunition in their fight against congressional Republicans and President Bush on the issue.
Given Murtha's well known stance on Iraq opposed to that of the Bush administration, there seems little likelyhood of compromise since they are on the opposite poles of the issue in terms of solutions. Now I understand that compromise is often found in such circumstances. But for that to be true there has to be a willingness to do what is necessary to reach an agreement both sides can live with and frankly, I just don't see that possibility with this move. The backing of Murtha for Majority leader with an eye of making the issue the top priority points to a Democratic leadership which is pointed in a particular direction when it come to Iraq and that direction is essentially "get out now". Murtha, at least to this point, has not indicated any desire to change that.

What may have an outside possibility of effecting a compromise, if there is to be one, may be the report by the Iraq Study Group chaired by James Baker. That particular report will be closely read by both sides.

Another thing the Murtha endorsement does, other than appeal to the extreme netroots and anti-war crowds may be to alienate the more moderate Congressional Dems led by Steny Hoyer. Already the "personal loyalty" priority begins to creep into the selections by the incoming Democratic leadership over and above what may be best for the nation (or, in this case, even the party). From Pelosi expressing frustration with Murtha challenging Hoyer to actively endorsing Murtha's challenge is quite a step.
Hoyer's camp counts 21 of the roughly 40 incoming freshman Democrats as committed supporters. Many freshmen believe the Democrats should stick with the team that brought them to the majority, said John Sarbanes, who was elected last week to represent central Maryland in the House.

Hoyer also has the strong support of many of the party's conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats, who worry about Murtha's involvement in the Abscam bribery sting in 1980 and what they see as his freewheeling style on the House Appropriations Committee, where he has openly advocated for the interests of his district and his political supporters.
This endorsement may indicate less of a desire to steer the moderate and compromise course (something which many pundits have claimed is what Pelosi proposes to do) on Iraq. If that is the case, there may be substantial internal opposition to the course Pelosi is charting on Iraq and other issues. In my opinion, the endorsement of Murtha over Hoyer and the appointment of Hastings over Harman do point to a desire by Peolosi to make Iraq central and to have loyal minions in place to pursue the Iraq issue in a particular way. My guess is there's very little compromise actually available given the team she's attempting to assemble.

UPDATE: Another very strong indicator that the game plan for Iraq holds little room for compromise was provided by Senators Harry Reid, Joe Biden and Carl Levin today:
The Democrats — the incoming majority leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada; the incoming Armed Services Committee chairman, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan; and the incoming Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware — said a phased redeployment of troops would be their top priority when the new Congress convenes in January, even before an investigation of the conduct of the war.

“We need to begin a phased redeployment of forces from Iraq in four to six months,” Mr. Levin said in an appearance on the ABC News program “This Week.” In a telephone interview later, Mr. Levin added, “The point of this is to signal to the Iraqis that the open-ended commitment is over and that they are going to have to solve their own problems.”
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
This should be a potential goldmine for the GOP to exploit but something tells me they’re gonna f*ck it up same as always...
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Well yeah that whole Bi-partisan thing was SO likely...I mean the Democrats have only beeen baying about "Illegal war for oil" for 3 plus years, yes they were going to "see the light."

Just like they saw the light in 1974(?) and realized that cutting off funding for South Vietnam would only invite further violence and lead to a catastrophe..OH WAIT.

Come on People, did anyone REALLY think that Nancy Pelosi’s crew were going to be any different than in 2006 than they were in 2004? Upon what basis? Did they publish a "Contract with America" and discuss what they intended to do? Or did they talk about "partition", "Withdrawl", "Different Courses"? They were more COY about their policy, but they never revealed a NEW policy.

So now the course(s) open are:
1) Peace with Honour/Cut’n Run depending on if the White House decides it will go along with this travesty; or
2) Immense conflict, gridlock, investigations and vicious Washington in-fighting as the Democrats try to "force" the President to their will and the President asserts his powers of office in defense of the policy. I picture it looking a LOT like 1972-74, with Ted Kennedy and Co. pushing for the removal of the President and a new course away from his "failed"policies. It’ll be fun.

I am SO glad that Pelosi is Speaker, she was a MUCH better choice than Hastert, because Hastert certainly was no libertarian....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I am SO glad that Pelosi is Speaker, she was a MUCH better choice than Hastert, because Hastert certainly was no libertarian....
Geez Joe ... your cheesy little shots are so, well, lame, not to mention predictable.

But in reality you’re right ... look at what came out of Hastert’s House concerning government expansion and spending. At least Pelosi stands less of a chance of doing as badly as he in those areas, unless, of course, Bush decides to be ’compassionate’ instead of ’conservative’.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Possible silver lining if Iraq’s government actually gets scared and starts to act?
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
McQ-

Rightly or wrongly, America voted for defeat and those who supported the "divided government" will probably have to endure these sorts of barbs for the next 2 years.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Just watch — all this focus on what a politician said is a show. The Italians call it ’spettacolo.’ The decisions that matter come later, and a dual reality is sinking in: 1) the Bush administration wants out of Iraq and needs a way to have, well, ’peace with honor;’ and 2) the Democrats don’t want to appear like they pushing for retreat and instead want to get as much credit as possible for the change of policy the GOP is undertaking. Look for a flurry of quotes and disagreements before Baker’s report serves to bring about a bi-partisan agreement on fundamentals.

The fix is in. Enjoy the spettacolo, but it’s just noise.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

I am SO glad that Pelosi is Speaker, she was a MUCH better choice than Hastert, because Hastert certainly was no libertarian....
I’m putting this on the back of my Che shirt!
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
What?

Politicians suggesting the will of the majority of citizens should be considered?

Well that’s a new twist!

 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
Would that be the majority of the voters in, say, Connecticutt? Home of Independent Senator Joe "More-War" Lieberman?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Rightly or wrongly, America voted for defeat ....
America voted to invade a country without a plan to occupy it? When did they vote for that?

Why in the h*ll should Dems compromise on anything when it comes to Iraq? The GOP certainly wasn’t willing to compromise prior to 11/7/06. It appears they still aren’t. Bush has vowed that he will stay the course in Iraq even if his only supporters are his dog and his wife.

And compromise assumes that the other side is in touch with reality. It is quite clear that Bush is not in touch with the reality that is Iraq.

The only solution is a phased withdrawal that minimzes the number of US casualties. And that means negotiating with the Syrians and the Iranians. And the militias.

You can’t pull out all at once, of course, without endangering the lives of US troops. But staying will not make the situation better in any respect.

As for the Iraqis, well, they’re on their own. It’s going to be a bloodbath. Not to say I told you so, but I told you so.

The GOP created the mess that is Iraq. The GOP has no judgment when it comes to Iraq. The best thing now would be if the GOP simply stood aside and let the Dems clean up the mess.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Why in the h*ll should Dems compromise on anything when it comes to Iraq?
Fine. Drop it all in the Dems lap. Once you cut and run, you’ll cement your status as the retreat and defeat party for the next 50 years.

Ta ta!
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Fine. Drop it all in the Dems lap. Once you cut and run, you’ll cement your status as the retreat and defeat party for the next 50 years.
You would be correct, if Americans were stupid. But they aren’t. One would have to have been living under a rock the last 3 1/2 years to not know that Iraq is the fault of the GOP and Bush. We live in a post-Rovian world, baby.

America is not going to blame the Dems for pulling out of Iraq. They know that Iraq is Bush’s fault, and those in the GOP who failed to supervise him. Or weren’t you awake last Tuesday?

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Just goes to show that "Pork chits and family favors" outway any other metric in congress.
 
Written By: coaster
URL: http://
America is not going to blame the Dems for pulling out of Iraq
Hey, porky, maybe you’ve got the read on the American public wrong.
As NetRoots found in Connecticutt, not exactly a ’red’ state, it might have been about the war, but it wasn’t necessarily about pulling up the tent stakes and evacuating in the dead of night to Okinawa.

Then again, I’m sure it won’t bother you if we get an Iraqi replay of the ’fall of Saigon’ played out in the Sunni Triangle with the Sunni’s and Kurds heading off for some good old fashioned re-education.
That’ll be the Republicans fault I’m sure, at least in your world.
Get your hand wringing towel ready there MK, I’m sure you’ll be grief stricken that the Dems just couldn’t ’save’ Iraq from the Republican made disaster, even if they never really do try.

But, YOU, could be upset here my man, what are you going to do if they don’t withdraw post haste? What’s your magic date for withdrawal MK? Figured it out yet? What’s acceptable to you? What if it plays out at the same pace as the plan already in place. I suppose that’s a Democratic ’victory’ eh?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
America is not going to blame the Dems for pulling out of Iraq
So when Reid and Pelosi and Murtha demand we pull out, the public will subsitute Bush for them? Is that a new form of dyslexia?
They know that Iraq is Bush’s fault, and those in the GOP who failed to supervise him. Or weren’t you awake last Tuesday?


And you fall into the trap that just about every other lefty has fallen into. Sure the election was partly about Iraq. You’re just drawing the same wrong lesson as the Dems are. Just ask Ned Lamont what the real lesson is.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Iraq is the fault of the GOP and Bush
Time to Moveon and stop blaming Bush for everything baby! Dems wanted power and they got it. It’s YOUR responsibility now b*tch. No more sniping fron the sidelines. Get to it.
We live in a post-Rovian world
Still unindicted I’ll note....at least now the boogeyman is leaving so you can focus your paranoid tendencies on some other Republican
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Then again, I’m sure it won’t bother you if we get an Iraqi replay of the ’fall of Saigon’ played out in the Sunni Triangle with the Sunni’s and Kurds heading off for some good old fashioned re-education.
Of course it will bother me. That’s why I said it was a stupid idea to invade Iraq in the first place. I predicted it would go badly, have been saying so all along, and look where we are. How many died this weekend?

Can we once and for all end this nonsensical notion that those who have come to recognize the reality of Iraq somehow desire that reality? The election’s over. Again, release yourself from your Rovian mindset. We live in a post-Rovian world. Or pre-Rovian. After all, Baker and Gates are running the show. Ortega is back in office. It might as well be 1989.
That’ll be the Republicans fault I’m sure, at least in your world.
Yes, it will be. That’s the point. Bush went into Iraq, but he didn’t want to win, obviously. The rubber stamping GOP went right along with it. Who else is there to blame? The Greens?
But, YOU, could be upset here my man, what are you going to do if they don’t withdraw post haste? What’s your magic date for withdrawal MK? Figured it out yet? What’s acceptable to you? What if it plays out at the same pace as the plan already in place. I suppose that’s a Democratic ’victory’ eh?
We should start phased withdrawal immediately. And we should proceed in a manner that keeps US casualties to a minimum. Since that is the only senisble way out of Iraq, it shouldn’t be too hard to reach some kind of consensus on the logistics.

The problem, of course, is that Bush and his ego are still in the White House. The real question is not one of compromise. Everyone knows we have to start phased withdrawal as soon as possible. The only question are whether Bush will admit error and put his ego aside, and how soon he will do it. The sooner he does it, the fewer Americans get killed. The longer he waits, the more Americans get killed. Simple, really.

Once Bush gets out of the way, the phased withdrawal will proceed. The responsible thing for the GOP to do would be to call on Bush to stand down, and let the grown ups take over.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
You’re just drawing the same wrong lesson as the Dems are. Just ask Ned Lamont what the real lesson is.
Nah Shark - "lalalalalalalalalala - they’re not listening!!!!!"

Same as the Republicans haven’t been, up until last Tuesday anyway.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
So when Reid and Pelosi and Murtha demand we pull out, the public will subsitute Bush for them? Is that a new form of dyslexia?
No, they will understand that pulling out is the only responisble way to resolve the mess that Bush has created. Again, this is not a difficult notion for grownups to understand.

Bush created the problem, they Dems are doing their best to clean it up. Americans get that.
And you fall into the trap that just about every other lefty has fallen into. Sure the election was partly about Iraq. You’re just drawing the same wrong lesson as the Dems are. Just ask Ned Lamont what the real lesson is.
Just as soon as you ask Jim Webb.

Ok, if the lesson is not phased withdrawal, what is it? Stay and die? Nope. More troops? Are you kidding? Are you going to enlist, Shark?

Ha ha ha ha ha.

You seem to be under this impression that there is some other plan out there. But there isn’t. Sorry buddy.
Time to Moveon and stop blaming Bush for everything baby! Dems wanted power and they got it. It’s YOUR responsibility now b*tch. No more sniping fron the sidelines. Get to it.
We are moving on. But it doesn’t mean Bush isn’t at fault for creating the mess in the first place.

Again, the only impediment here is Bush. He is still Commander in Chief. Dems can’t order troops out of Iraq. Only Bush can. That’s why responsible wingers should be telling Bush to stand down.

Are you going to be responsible, Shark?
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Ya know MK - I see you talking a good game about how you care about the Iraqi’s,
Of course it will bother me. That’s why I said it was a stupid idea to invade Iraq in the first place. I predicted it would go badly, have been saying so all along, and look where we are. How many died this weekend?


but your entire defense speaks only of American lives you’re going to save with your ASAP withdrawal.
...And we should proceed in a manner that keeps US casualties to a minimum...
...The sooner he does it, the fewer Americans get killed. The longer he waits, the more Americans get killed. Simple, really....
I knew you better than you did, your own response says all that needs to be said about where your head really is in regards to Iraq.
Yeah, it was stupid to go in with the lack of planning we had for the victory over Saddam, so....what....we just let the Iraqi’s die now, is that it?

You’d do well at the UN where if they wipe out an entire population of Sunni’s in Iraq, it’ll only be ’ethnic cleansing’ instead of genocide because they won’t try and go across the border and kill all of them living in Iran too.
Yeah, you’ve posted your own number, we’ve got it, you’re just being ’sensible’, and there really isn’t any other answer - first the only answer was Rumsfelds and Bushes, now the only answer is yours. Yep, there’s always ONLY two answers in a situation like this, and hey, if the Sunni’s and Kurds get slaughtered it’ll be the Republicans fault and you can use that for more mileage in the 2008 election....wooo hoooooo!!!!!

Now go ahead and ’splain to me about what you said, and how you really meant something different that I should have known (don’t forget to outline how much you care for the Sunni puppies and kitties in your new ’splanation. )

Yeah, it’s beginning to look more and more like Vietnam after all, you clowns will make damn SURE it does.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Sorry MK, you see, you actually have to DO something now besides snipe and bark from the sidelines.

And it looks like that something you’re going to do will be to retreat.

And Reid and Pelosi will be the faces of that retreat. And it will stick, because they’re too stupid to think that’s a bad thing (as are you)

Time to stop blaming Bush, you’re co-owners of it now. Consider it the price of your electoral victory.

It’s Vietnam redux alright, and the Dems are playing the same role they did last time. And you’ll pay for it again.

HA HA HA HA HA HA
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
It’s Vietnam redux alright, and the Dems are playing the same role they did last time. And you’ll pay for it again.

HA HA HA HA HA HA

No Shark the people who will "pay" are the Sunni’s, the Kurds and any Shi’i that supported the US position. Just like the people who "paid" in Vietnam were the Vietnamese, the Hmong, Meo and Montangnards, not the Democrats. That’s what is so saddening here, there will be a REAL HUMAN price paid for rapid redeployment, but no one cares, they’re only Brown people, right? Even you seem more interested in hanging the defeat on Pelosi and Co. than in worrying about the cost of that "defeat" on the REAL HUMANS who will experience it.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
No Joe, I do care, that’s the point of my discussion with MK, who, I know, will tell me that I’m not enlisted so I don’t get to say anything about trying to prevent a second American fostered re-education camp scenario in the Persian Gulf. The guys we already lost weren’t there for nothing, which is clearly the goal MK and his ilk are trying to achieve (under the standard of no more loses).

But Shark is right too, MK’s answer sucks, and THAT was exactly the point that’s been made all along here at Q and O. The Bush administration answer isn’t great, but the Democrats is going to be worse if MK is marketing a sample of their solution to be.

I’m actually hoping for a sane third alternative that Bush will be forced to implement. Rummy is gone, good start, though it’s WAY late in the game for that.
Unfortunately with Murtha in charge, I’m confident we’re going to ’budget’ our way out, just like we budgeted the end to the conflict between North and South Vietnam.
That will be done between the kangaroo court investigations that will surely start shortly.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
No Shark the people who will "pay" are the Sunni’s, the Kurds and any Shi’i that supported the US position. Just like the people who "paid" in Vietnam were the Vietnamese, the Hmong, Meo and Montangnards, not the Democrats. That’s what is so saddening here, there will be a REAL HUMAN price paid for rapid redeployment, but no one cares, they’re only Brown people, right? Even you seem more interested in hanging the defeat on Pelosi and Co. than in worrying about the cost of that "defeat" on the REAL HUMANS who will experience it
Joe, add to that list of people who will pay the American people. We all see what happens when our enemies see us as the "weak horse"

But as to your point, yes I am interested in hanging the defeat on Pelosi and Co. I’ve come to the conclusion that they will make this defeat a fait accompli. It’s a disgrace but they have the votes, it’s going to happen. But hanging it around the Dems neck maybe just maybe will finally be enough to stop them from doing it the next time.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://

 
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