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The Democratic Senate agenda
Posted by: McQ on Monday, December 11, 2006

Harry Reid in a friendly interview with Bob Geiger:
We're going to have Congress the way it ran for more than 200 years. We're going to have committee hearings, we're going to look and see what the White House is doing. We have a Republican president, but it doesn't matter — Republican or Democratic president, Congress has the ability and the obligation of Congressional oversight, which has not existed for six years and we have to do that.
Although Reid has been in the Senate for ages, he's apparently forgotten how Congress was run by Democrats prior to 1994. But hey, it's politics, and frankly, oversight is good.

We're going to find out how intelligence was manipulated, taking us to war. We have to look back to be able to look forward. We're going to do both. We're not going to limit ourselves to looking back but we have to look back in an effort to go forward
This smacks of pure politics. There have been investigations done on precisely this subject. The problem is they didn't turn out as Harry Reid and the Dems hoped they would. So? So the obvious political answer is to do it again until they get what they want. Note the first sentence of the quote. That's not an inquiry, that's a conclusion looking for something to validate it, and Reid is bound and determined to do that.

Geiger asks about impeachment and notes that Nancy Pelosi has taken heat from the left because she's said it is off the table. Reid responds:
I haven't been interested in impeachment for some time because of two words: Dick Cheney. I think that there's a significant difference between impeachment and investigations. We have to have investigations. We have to have our Intelligence Committee complete the work they started on investigating how we went to war. That's an investigation. We would be derelict in our duties by not doing that.
Back to investigations. Anyone spotting the beginning of a trend?

On the Iraq Study Group report:
The Iraq Study Group report is not scripture from on high. Ten people got together for nine months and did the best they could. I think they missed some points myself, but I think they did a pretty good job. And the one thing that they said publicly on the day they issued it is that the United States military should be out of Iraq by the first quarter of 2008. I mean, that's not as fast as some people want out but certainly it's a step forward and the president has ignored that finding and I think it's at his peril.
But they didn't say the US military should be out of Iraq by the first quarter of 2008. Pure spin and a poor attempt to force a political square peg into a round hole.

What the report actually said (pdf) was:
By the first quarter of 2008, subject to unexpected developments in the security situation on the ground, all combat brigades not necessary for force protection could be out of Iraq. At that time, U.S. combat forces in Iraq could be deployed only in units embedded with Iraqi forces, in rapid-reaction and special operations teams, and in training, equipping, advising, force protection, and search and rescue.
"Subject to unexpected developments", the forces "not necessary for force protection" could "be out of Iraq".

You know, if everything is better and we're not facing a security problem in Iraq we could pull them. Well, except those needed for force protection. Oh, and those needed for rapid reaction forces. Uh, and those necessary to support the trainers, force protectors and rapid reaction forces.

But other than them, sure they could be out.

On Sen. Biden and the Foreign Relations Committee:
We don’t know yet what he should focus on. The entire length of this war, there's not been any Congressional oversight hearings. They bring their stars in once in a while just to read from scripts that they've prepared for them, but we've had no real Congressional oversight. So where we start and where we go, that's why we do oversight hearings and I have the greatest confidence in Joe Biden. We have a very, very fine Foreign Relations Committee and the federal government will be better as a result of having had these hearings and the country will be better off after having had these hearings.
Again, oversight is a good thing. And if the intent of Biden and the FRC is oversight then I can understand and agree with his point. However, although Reid talks about cooperation in other parts of the interview, the emphasized line speaks of a confrontational attitude based on certain presumptions. It wouldn't at all surprise me if oversight quickly devolves into, wait for it, investigations.

Restoring the "reputation" of the US (how long will it take)?
It's going to take generations. It's going to take generations. I talked to former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin in my office here just a day or two ago and he's traveled the world recently and he just shakes his head at the difference from when he was Secretary of Treasury and how we are now viewed in many parts of the world. It's a shame. And it's going to take generations to overcome that.
Really? And we were so loved in the world previously? To me this is one of the most persistent of the strawmen. While it may not have been as obvious or outspoken, anti-Americanism isn't at all new, just more visible. Unless we plan on completely withdrawing from the world and giving away all of our wealth, we'll always suffer what any nation with our wealth, power (both hard and soft) and unrivaled position in the world will - unthinking, irrational and chronic anti-Americanism. There's a reason no one hates Fiji.

What else? Why energy and health care, of course:
Well, we have to do something about energy independence. Our country is in big trouble — we use 21 million barrels of oil every day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. We import more than 60 percent of that. We need energy independence and all this administration has done is throw big wet sops to the oil industry. This is the most oil-friendly administration in the history of our country.


I believe that the oil companies have the ability to manipulate prices. I had a study done by the Federal Trade Commission to find out why the price in Nevada was so high and they said 'well they're high, but we don’t know why.' There was no reason for it. Well there's some reason for it… It seems to me that conveniently, they finally seem to go down at certain times and at times the gas prices are allowed to go up.

I'm not a big fan of the oil industry… I think they've ripped off the American people.
Notice we again see criticism, but no solution. Energy independence? How, sir? What do we reach "energy indpendence"?

No Nukes. No drilling. What, ethanol?

And the populist appeal to be found in the great "oil ripoff" is pretty disturbing as well. Oh, and maybe it's just me, but given this attitude, can investigations be far behind?

As to his health care priorities, be clear that stem cell research is ongoing as we speak. What he's talking about is fetal stem cell research and the science on it's usefulness is still decidedly mixed.
We also have to recognize health care — we've got to do something about health care. Two subsets of that, one is stem cell research, which is giving hope to millions. Second would be to recognize that we must do something to allow Medicare to negotiate for lower prices for drugs for senior citizens. The way it is now, it's not a fair playing field where the private sector has an advantage over Medicare and that's not the way it should be.
Of course, from a libertarian point of view, I don't favor Federal spending on such research. I'm of the opinion that if there is something worthwhile there it will provide all the incentive private research needs in terms of funding and results. But if you follow that money now, it isn't going to fetal stem-cell research. That should tell you something.
Although the private sector can conduct research to generate new cell lines, this can lead to several problems. One is that, because of intellectual property issues, the dissemination of knowledge may be slower when the most cutting edge research is done in private companies. The results of any research performed with private funds would be out of public control, and when knowledge is not in the public domain, progress can be slowed.

A second problem is that private companies need to benefit from their investments and at some point, make a profit. Historically, if profit is deemed unlikely, research can be stopped no matter how important it may be for public health or for the progress of science.
There is a reason the largest portion of private research dollars are going to adult and chord stem cell research. Because, unlike embryonic stem cell research, they are getting positive results.

There is a lot more that I haven't touched on. Read it all as it is interesting and gives you a flavor for what you can expect in the upcoming 110th Congress.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

There’s a reason no one hates Fiji.
But, boy, does someone hate their government.
Written By: The Poet Omar
But if you follow that money now, it isn’t going to fetal stem-cell research. That should tell you something.
That Michael J. Fox deserved all of the criticism he got when ol’ Twitchy tried to play the victim card?

Written By: shark
URL: http://
"There’s a reason no one hates Fiji."

I am stealing that line. Probably without attribution. Classic.
Written By: Sean
Reid is such an *ssh*le!

Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
This is a pretty fair commentary. You know, while I’m throwing bombs on some other threads and all, thought I’d dribble out a few words of grudging acceptance.
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
"We’re going to find out how intelligence was manipulated,..."

But I thought they already knew, hence all the "Bush lied", etc.
"I talked to former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin in my office here just a day or two ago and he’s traveled the world recently and he just shakes his head at the difference from when he was Secretary of Treasury and how we are now viewed in many parts of the world."

Perhaps he doesn’t realize that since he is no longer Treasury Secretary, he isn’t going to be treated like visiting royalty.
" Unless we plan on completely withdrawing from the world and giving away all of our wealth,..."

And if we do that, we would justifiably be treated with the contempt such fools deserve. Might as well keep the money.
"I believe that the oil companies have the ability to manipulate prices...."

How old is this guy? Does he have brain damage that ruined his long-term memory or is he just stupid? How many times do we have to go over this same cr*p?

" one is stem cell research, which is giving hope to millions."

So does religion, but I don’t expect to hear him calling for federal support of that.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I have lived overseas for 14 years now, and the absolute worst case of being attacked for being American happened at a trade show, where some Greeks verbally assaulted me because we were bombing Serbia.

Don’t buy the hype.

Oh, and shouldn’t the reverse also work? Shouldn’t Palestineans be smart and not vote for Hamas, knowing it will anger the American people? Should Iran apologize for the embassy hostages because it angers Americans?

It’s a one way street for apologists it seems.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
A little off topic, but:

Incoming House intelligence chief botches easy intel quiz
When asked by CQ National Security Editor Jeff Stein whether al Qaeda is one or the other of the two major branches of Islam — Sunni or Shiite — Reyes answered "they are probably both," then ventured "Predominantly — probably Shiite."

That is wrong. Al Qaeda was founded by Osama bin Laden as a Sunni organization and views Shiites as heretics.
Got the link from LGF, where it was pointed out that Reyes didn’t just not know—he guessed.
Written By: Don
URL: http://

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