May 21, 2007

Democrats Capitulate On Capitulation

Democrats in Congress have decided to forego their efforts to impose withdrawal timetables on spending for the Iraq war -- at least for now. The AP reports from its sources that the Democrats will offer a straight-up spending supplemental that also eliminates most of the pork from the bill, but retains the federal minimum-wage hike:

In grudging concessions to President Bush, Democrats intend to draft an Iraq war-funding bill without a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and shorn of billions of dollars in spending on domestic programs, officials said Monday.

The legislation would include the first federal minimum wage increase in more than a decade, a top priority for the Democrats who took control of Congress in January, the officials added.

While details remain subject to change, the measure is designed to close the books by Friday on a bruising veto fight between Bush and the Democratic-controlled Congress over the war. It would provide funds for military operations in Iraq through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.

Democrats in both houses are expected to seek other opportunities later this year to challenge Bush's handling of the unpopular conflict.

Let slip the dogs of netroots war! If you think the GOP has battered itself senseless over the last few days over immigration, you ain't seen nothing yet. Any hint of capitulation on the capitulation will bring loud screams from the people who helped the Democrats win a majority just to avoid this possibility.

I'd hold off celebrating for a couple of days, actually. This may well last only as long as the next news cycle. Expect to see a lot of "not me" in the headlines, as Democratic politicians insist that they will not support such a spending bill. It could develop enough momentum to stall the agreement.

At this point, though, the Democrats don't have much choice. They have been outmaneuvered for the moment by George Bush, who has hung on them their inability to fund the troops more than a hundred days after the request. The supposedly irrelevant lame duck has outlasted his opponents, who now nervously realize that they have to do something to fund the troops that Bush will actually sign. They'll use the minimum-wage hike (and its attendant tax incentives for small businesses) as a victory to cover their retreat, but Bush will get his funds and not the strings Democrats looked to attach.


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Comments (30)

Posted by kingronjo | May 21, 2007 4:02 PM

The major reason that the nutroots were so fired up for the election was the promise written in blood (of the American soldiers that they so passionatley care about-barf) that the new Dem Congress would shut down this war first thing.

Since I have come of adlthood I realized something about the Dems- they have to lie to be elected. Usually it's to the American public at large but this time they told a whopper to their most ardent supporters.

Pelosi lied, Americans died.

Posted by okonkolo | May 21, 2007 4:15 PM

This was foreseen for a long time as they never had the votes to do anything else. The Democrats have basically hung Iraq back around the neck of Bush (and all of the Presidential candidates backing him up).

Posted by johnnycab23513 | May 21, 2007 4:18 PM

At least the single mom who has her own cleaning business will not go broke paying increased taxes for the now eliminated earmarks. Now all she has to look foreward to is going bankrupt paying a minimum wage to her employees that their jobs are not worth.

Posted by LarryD | May 21, 2007 4:40 PM

They've hung the Iraq/security issue around their own necks too. One the one hand, they didn't deliver to perhaps their most vocal (and arguably deranged) supporters, one the other hand they've blown what little credibility they had on security issues with the swing voters.

Posted by marc | May 21, 2007 4:43 PM

I smell a rat, or is it a DemocRAT?

I smell some vote tradin' going on.

Are we seeing a convergence of the war funding bill and votes traded for the immigration bill?

Posted by jr565 | May 21, 2007 4:56 PM

Pelosi lied and monkei cried.

Posted by Mikey NTH | May 21, 2007 5:08 PM

Having a bare majority in Congress doesn't work too well, does it? The Democrats now have the burden the Republicans had without the support from a friendly administration.

And now the administration does not have to bend over backwards to keep a bare majority on its side (logrolling, pork barreling, anyone?)

This isn't a parliamentary system where the adminstration comes from the legislative majority. The divided government set up in the constitution means something. This is what it means. No party is truly united without a veto proof majority; nothing can be accomplished without some compromise, and the center demands some compromise and the hard left will not accept any compromise on this one issue. (The right won't accept any compromise on border enforcement either, but that issue does not have the ticking clock that military forces in the field impose on the Democrats and their base.)

Enjoy your tenures Mrs. Pelosi, Mr. Reid. We'll see what 2008 has in store with no Septenial Act available to you.

Posted by Bill Faith | May 21, 2007 5:14 PM

Well, at least W can still do something right, but I have to wonder at this point if he's just working hard at saving America from the Islamists so he can hand it over to the Aztlanists in one piece.

I added an excerpt and link to my 2007.05.21 Iraq/Iran Roundup.

Posted by Ned R. | May 21, 2007 5:21 PM

I'd hold off celebrating for a couple of days months, actually.

Fixed. Allahpundit has a rather more sanguine take, I note, but if you want to whistle yourself off the cliff so readily, feel free -- I suspect most Democrats have been watching the GOP base implode far more entertainingly these last couple of days.

Posted by MarkJ | May 21, 2007 5:34 PM

Just hitting the wires....

"Upon announcing their capitulation to White House demands for a clean war funding bill, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and John Murtha jointly announced today that, effective immediately, the Democratic Party would collectively 'get out of this quagmire in Washington and strategically redeploy to Okinawa.'"

Posted by Lightwave | May 21, 2007 6:03 PM

As I have said countless times on the war funding bill:

The Democrats cannot win this fight.

They have come to the correct conclusion that A) a single vote majority in the Senate and their own Blue Dog conservative wing in the House make them politically irrelevant and B) they have been saddled with all the responsibility of Doing Something Now about the war thanks to the pipe dreams they spouted to get elected. They had no plan other than an untenable withdrawal.

What a nice fate. All of the downside of power, none of the upside.

President Bush should in fact veto THIS bill as well. A minimum wage hike will accomplish nothing but increasing unemployment among teenagers and passing on billions in what are essentially labor taxes to small businesses.

It will in fact be a humiliating and total defeat for the Defeatocrats. The party won't survive the election. They certainly won't get the chance to exercise power again in my lifetime.

I have said before that the final fate of the Dems was total, 100% surrender to Bush. They have no other choice.

Posted by William Teach | May 21, 2007 6:36 PM

The elected Dems probably realize that they have made their point, and continuing to not fund the troops is a bad move for a party that thinks only about what is good politically for them.

A quick check through the Nutroots shows most are wanting confirmation, so, I suspect they will nail the elected ones on their daily conference calls for the truth.

That said, the Dems will find other ways to upset operation Iraqi Freedom, and the Nutroots will find ways to continue to back the party of surrender.

Posted by The Mechanical Eye | May 21, 2007 6:57 PM

I'm not as pleased as the others.

Bush is stuck in the awful position of managing (as opposed to leading) a war no one else wants that no one else can stop. Yes, he got the Democrats in Congress to copulate to his demands, but he's doing so in the face of great unpopularity -- to the extent the Democrats suffer, it is to the extent they couldn't enforce the people's will.


Posted by pa | May 21, 2007 7:36 PM

The Mechanical Eye said: " Yes, he got the Democrats in Congress to copulate to his demands..."

Please! Check your dictionary! I'm sure you meant to write "capitulate," which means to give in. "Copulate" is the fancy word for the act of sex. A lovely image you've created there, I am sure.

Posted by Carol Herman | May 21, 2007 7:55 PM

Gee. With all the oil wealth in Iraq; you'd think they'd fund their own war.

While we taxpayers are paying for "tiddly winks." Not quite war. War would be the stuff that delivers sounds from our side. Not the exploding IED's, that are bought and paid for by the "other" side. Or make that two sides. The Saud's. And, the Iranians. Neither country, mind you, has its own military, that we couldn't squash like a bug.

As to Bush. Too little. Too late. He's figured out that he's fighting Jimmy Carter for last place.

And, he "might" behave better.

Since the stink that comes his way is of his own doing.

While all the MONKEYS in congress have is TWO PERCENT. As if the donks have all that much going with the public, when Ted Kennedy comes out to say he's the "deal maker."

In other words? Who gave Ted Kennedy another set of keys to another Oldsmobile?

Now, let's do another analysis.

At the end of the week, the congress critters want to go home. FOR THE HOLIDAYS. So, they "sewed up this deal with the idiot in the White House." And, SURPRISE! It exploded!

Listening to Drudge Last night, I knew the deal was through. Because suddenly 32 senators fell out of their chairs, into the limelight, saying "they hadn't even read the bill, yet."

See? 300 pages. Some got it Saturday night. Some didn't even get to see it, yet.

But policians caught on. They heard the hissing sound. And, they hate that.

So, now the deal's scuttled. It would have been that. Or they'd have had to work, ahead, for another few weeks. Where the headlines were gonna rip them apart.

You know what's looking good?

An INDEPENDENT RUN, come 2008. Since both parties just looked into the abyss. And, saw the disaster looming. Now that Americans are pissed off at the lying liars, and scoundrels in DC.

Come to think of it. When it comes to building Dubya's library, they should think of putting it in Mexico City. What a lummox.

Posted by Carol Herman | May 21, 2007 8:06 PM

NOT TO CONFUSE TWO SUBJECTS with one vacation starting Friday;

But, yes, the "deal" that's blown sky high has to do with the illegals.

This one? As we're approaching "holiday time" for the congress critters? This is what's out of their pockets.

Boy, are they willing to run.

Watch them "give ya their best offer."

I'm with Lightwave. The Federal Minimum Wage hike, "tacked on," sans debate? Definitely worthy of a vETO.

Too bad, like the jerks in Iraq's parliament, when these guys smell vacation, they're out-the-door.

So, IF you're celebrating, let me help ya out. We get a nice weekend. The loafers in DC, get OUT.

Now, you tell me, what politicians worth his salt, wouldn't make a BIG STINK ABOUT THIS? Huh? You don't think the American people would notice?

Too bad Bush never heard the words "NOT. SO. FAST."

Posted by Monkei | May 21, 2007 8:55 PM

Still think they will pass the bill with the funding the chimp is asking for ... a stopgap measure that will require the idiot to come before the congress with a "report" on his troop splurge.

The idiot gets his funding and is required to do something he is unfamiliar with ... oversight.

Posted by Lew | May 21, 2007 9:28 PM

So the Reid/Pelosi team managed to pull the same dumb stunt that our guy Newt did back in '95? They came storming into town with a shiny new "mandate" and declared the President an irrelevant lame duck, only to get their head handed to them in little pieces.

How many times do we have to learn that the office that GWB holds has a truly frightening array of powers connected to it? How many times do we have to see that at any time the occupant of that office cares to stand up and actually use those powers, he can accomplish some truly astonishing things?

The lesson here is that only a fool discounts the only guy in the room with a gun in his hand!

Posted by MarkJ | May 21, 2007 9:47 PM

"The idiot gets his funding and is required to do something he is unfamiliar with ... oversight."

Ah yes, that's our "monkei"...classy to the end.

As for "oversight," use your Bat-Phone to call up Nancy P. and Harry R. and ask them when they're going to carry out some oversight on various members of their own party. Y'know guys like, oh say, William "$90k in my freezer" Jefferson, Jack "Don't screw with my earmarks!" Murtha, Dianne "Steering contracts to my hubby" Feinstein, and Hillary "Never met a cattle future I didn't like" Clinton.

In fact, PUH-LEEZE ask Harry Reid when he's going to investigate himself about all those land deals he's made. And, hey, maybe you'll luck out and sweet-talk Teddy Kennedy into coming clean about Chappaquiddick. C'mon, monkei, make those calls!

Posted by Lightwave | May 21, 2007 10:42 PM

It's simple. Bush doesn't have to worry about re-election. He stands up to the Dems at every turn and wins. He can't lose on this. He knows this. What's going to happen, he'll lose in '08 or something? His polls will go down?

Bush gets to carve out his legacy by staying in Iraq and making the Dems' "mandate" look even more feeble than a lame duck prez.

People will realize that with a GOP president and a GOP congress...things got done. 4.5% unlemployment. A still record bull market. What have the Dems done?


Not an iota of meaningful legislation. Not an iota of political relavance. Not an iota of forgiveness from the netroots wing that will tear the party in half in '08. Not an iota of a chance to keep Congress or win the White House.

Not an iota.

Posted by trapeze | May 21, 2007 11:04 PM

You know what gets me through trying times like these?

Well, first of all I have to say that it is very comforting to see Dingy Harry shelving the immigration bill. Yes, that really helps...a lot.

But then I see the Dems capitulate (not copulate, although that is a very funny visual indeed!) on the war funding. I imagine the scene going on tonight and tommorow at the know, the scene where they are all lined up at the sharpening wheel with there rusty knives, waiting their turn so that they can eviscerate their fearless leaders on Capitol Hill.

Then I imagine Nancy Pelosi dressed up in black with a pointy hat, having just been soaked in water and screeching, "I'm melting! I'm melting!" Harry Reid lamenting, "If I only had a brain!" Jack Murtha blustering, "If I only had some courage!" And suddenly the flying monkeys come flapping in and start ripping the flesh from their bones. Yes, what an interesting family fued we are about to witness in this very, very, very dysfunctional family.

Pull up a chair, everyone...they are about to start the bloodletting.

Posted by trapeze | May 21, 2007 11:50 PM

Oh, I forgot about Ted Kennedy, aka The Tin Man lamenting, "If I only had a heart!"

Seriously, though, this really will be great political theater. The only thing that would make it better would be the veto over the minimum wage but I know better...GW won't do it.

Haven't done a vote count yet, I guess the only thing I am wondering is, just how many Dems are part of the "out of Iraq" caucus and jsut how committed to that position are they? I don't think there are enough lunatic votes to prevent the war funding bill from passing sans time lines but that would be interesting...

Hope they get it passed for the troop's sake.

Posted by Jeffrey | May 22, 2007 12:50 AM

Bush won the battle and lost the war.

Posted by Rose | May 22, 2007 1:43 AM

One of the Dim press releases stated they are about to send GW a "VETO-PROOF" bill for the funding of the troops, without timelines and $$$billions of pork for domestic things attached to it.

Boy, ain't they FIERCE! Real tough!

Posted by sam pender [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 22, 2007 6:14 AM

I'd bet good money that W's surrender on immigration was in exchange for the Dems' surrender on surrender.

btw, Jeffrey, there is no way out of Iraq without victory. The war will be won. Democrats cannot let it be lost because now that they hold power, any actions they suggest which bring about defeat will be blamed upon them (actions have consequences, and as much as they want to hide from responsibility, they have it re the authorization and re the defunding or de-authorization). Moreover, W, and the next President will not pull ou troops if the pullout is marketed as a defeat. They will only do so if they can realistically claim success.

Posted by Jack Okie | May 22, 2007 8:12 AM


Since W has been pushing his version of immigration reform for quite a while now, I question your characterization of it as "surrender". But no doubt there's been some horse trading going on.

Posted by Catman | May 22, 2007 10:24 AM

Wow, The Dark Master (TM) at work again. Get the Dems to capitulate on the war funding because you are negotiating on the Immigration bill. Get the War funding because the the Dems think they are getting so much in return in screwing the RNC for generations to come. Rove knows there is no way the base will allow the dems or the reps to make this bill final so the immigration bill goes down to popular undemand. What is left? An unpopular congress ( Democratic), a clean spending bill, and a base that is fired up for the election to throw the suckers out and McCain all but out. Thompson rides in (their horse!) and takes the day!

Good job, Dark one.


Posted by starfleet_dude | May 22, 2007 3:51 PM

I'm with Jeffery, given that the Dems get a minimum wage increase out of it that Congressional Repub's can't do a thing about. By letting it go now, Democrats can revisit the issue later and be in a stronger position to force benchmarks/troop reductions after Sept. 30th.

Posted by Brendan | May 24, 2007 7:22 PM

I'm done supporting the Democratic Party.
What a bunch of spineless wimps. The Dinocrats half-heartedly fought the Bush and the Bush won. I guess they never really believed in holding him accountable. As bad as the Republicans are, they will never be accused of lacking determination even if it is misguided. the Dinocrats are like cockroachs hiding in the shadows. And who better to lead the Dinocratic Party in the election race than spineless Hillary Clinton.

Posted by Brendan | May 24, 2007 7:26 PM

I'm done supporting the Democratic Party. What a bunch of spineless wimps. The Dinocrats half-heartedly fought the Bush and the Bush won. I guess they never really believed in holding him accountable after all. The detestable Republicans will never be accused of lacking determination, even if it is misguided. The Dinocrats are like cockroachs hiding in the shadows. And who better to lead the Dinocratic Party in the election race than spineless Hillary Clinton.