Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Ignoring The Constitution May Doom Immigration Deal

The Senate should know better, especially after last year.

The U.S. Constitution’s “Origination Clause” (Article 1, Section 7) requires that revenue-related bills to originate in the House; therefore, some argued that the back-taxes provision in the Senate's Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 was unconstitutional.

The Senate's current immigration deal requires that illegal aliens to pay back taxes before becoming citizens, thereby reopening the door for any member of the House to block the proposed Senate immigration deal by issuing a blue-slip, the color of the paper used for the resolution which formally declares that there has been a violation of the "Origination Clause." The bill would then be returned to the Senate for the appropriate constitutionally permissible reforms.

According to the Hill, several House members are "lying in wait for the Senate to 'make the same mistake twice.'”

“We’d rather have no bill than a bad bill,” Kurt Bardella, spokesman for Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.), said. The House Immigration Reform Caucus that Bilbray chairs, bitterly opposed to the Senate bill, “will use any and every means necessary to see that the American people get the immigration [reform] they deserve,” Bardella added.

The list of House GOP critics who could race to blue-slip the Senate bill is a long one. Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), both staking presidential bids on opposition to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) all said through press secretaries that they are considering any and all options to counter the Senate bill.

Last year, then Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, tried to resolve the constitutional procedural issue in the usual way, proposing to attach the immigration bill to a tax bill that had already passed the House. It would then proceed to a "conference committee," where negotiators from the House and Senate hammer out differences between the two chambers' immigration bills. But Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid refused to go along with that fix. I presume that was because the Democrats decided they could gain a partisan political advantage if there was no immigration reform before the midterm elections.

Just like last year, the Senate's immigration deal may be doomed to never make it to a conference committee. Under House rules, any member can introduce a "blue-slip resolution" to return the legislation to the Senate, potentially killing the so-called "immigration reform" effort. Why would the Democratic lead Senate make the same mistake twice? Do the Democrats want to scuttle this year's immigration reform as Reid and company did last year?

Dodd Calls for End to Iraq War

Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd said Saturday we can't wait to end the war in Iraq:

"We really can't wait another 18 months," the U.S. senator from Connecticut said while campaigning. "We have to have the convictions to stand up to this president."

Dodd said the war has been waged "for all the wrong reasons" and that it is eroding both the nation's security and its moral leadership.
Dodd wasn't always for giving up on the war.

He voted to authorize the war.

During the "The Great Connecticut Senatorial Iraq Debate," Dodd, like Senator Lieberman was hopeful that the number of U.S. troops in Iraq could be decreased "significantly" by the end of 2006 and adamant that the military should determine when troops come home, not artificial deadlines.

Less than a year ago, Dodd voted against Kerry's amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007, which called for "redeploying" troops out of Iraq by July 2007.

But that was all before he became a presidential candidate.

Villaraigosa Backs Hillary

Hillary has won the endorsement of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa:

"She's the right candidate at the right time," Villaraigosa said to reporters outside Los Angeles City Hall on Tuesday.
According to the Associated Press, Villaraigosa will announce his endorsement Wednesday, at a Clinton campaign rally at UCLA.

Villaraigosa's endorsement is an important accomplishment for the Clinton campaign. The mayor is popular among the growing number of Hispanic voters. Exit polls in the 2004 election found 21 percent of California voters were Hispanic.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Richardson Gets It Wrong

On NBC's "Meet The Press," Presidential wannabe Bill Richardson stated that the border fence had not worked anywhere along the border:

MR. RUSSERT: The wall hasn’t worked?

GOV. RICHARDSON: No, it hasn’t worked.

MR. RUSSERT: Anywhere along the border, the fence hasn’t worked.

GOV. RICHARDSON: It hasn’t worked. What has worked is more border patrols. What has worked is some National Guardsmen. What has worked is some technology. It’s made the program better. But, Tim, we got to talk to Mexico, our friend, get them to do more. . . [The complete transcript is available here.]
Richardson needs to get his facts right. In April 2006, The Assistant Chief of the Border Patrol's San Diego sector, Jim Henry, told NPR that apprehensions in the San Diego sector were reduced 95 percent, from 100,000 a year to 5,000 a year, after the single strand of cable marking the border was replaced by double -- and in some places, triple -- fencing.

Some say Richardson's statement is more than getting the facts wrong. Watch this video of Richardson saying the fence hasn't worked:

Richardson isn't going to convince many people to support him if he continues to make such gaffes on national television broadcasts.

Thanks to Lonewacko for the tip.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Who Was Wrong?

Chris Matthews tries to rewrite history. Watch this video:

Now read section 3 of the Iraq Liberation Act:


It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.
Sounds like support for regime change in Iraq to me.

It is Chris Matthews who is wrong, not the audience or Giuliani. To paraphrase Mr. Matthews, How can he go on television and incorrectly accuse people of being wrong without any research? Who writes this stuff for Matthews?

As for Matthews' complaining that the Iraq Liberation Act is said to have opened the door for former president Clinton to attack Iraq and the Washington Posts Anne Kornblut's quip, that "this has been a standard Republican Line for sometime," Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act on October 31, 1998 and on December 16, 1998 attacked Iraqi weapon sites. Watch this report from Fox News reporter Jim Angle.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Go Find A Soldiers Grave

As we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day, I ask you to consider the suggestion of Ralph Kinney Bennett, who last year posted a phenomenal article at TCS Daily about how to make Memorial Day truly memorable.

Make this Memorial Day really memorable.

Go and find a soldier's grave.

It shouldn't be too hard. If you're not near a military cemetery, just about any cemetery will do.

Look for the little American flags fluttering by the stones or the little bronze markers placed by the veterans' organizations.

Or walk the rows and look for those stones that impart terse histories of short lives -- "Killed in Action on the Island of Iwo Jima," or "KIA Republic of Viet Nam," or "Iraq 2003."

I know, I know. You do plan to watch that short parade, and the ceremony at the flagpole. But then relatives are going to be over for that big cookout. There's baseball and auto racing on TV, not to mention the "Memorial Day Mattress Event" or the "Memorial Day SUV Salesathon."

Look, just take an hour away from all that. An hour. Go out early in the morning if you have to.

Go and find a soldier's grave.

Put some flowers there. Or just pause and say a prayer. Nothing elaborate. "Thanks" will do.

Or just stop and think about what it means; what it really means to give your life, in its prime, for your country. Look at that name there on the stone. Think what might have been... and what was.

Some of these men and women were in uniform by choice. Some because they had no choice. Some were heroes. Some were not.

But they were there where all hell was breaking loose. They probably had no idea they were giving "the last full measure of devotion." They just had some instant, desperate job to do. In a cockpit or a turret or a hole in the ground.

Did they grasp the "policy implications" of their presence on the high seas, in the air or on some foreign soil? Did they have time for a curse or a prayer when they saw the muzzle flashes or heard that rushing sound, or when the bomb sent the Humvee into the air?

Go and find a soldier's grave.

You can have that hamburger and beer later, and maybe relax in the hammock and not give a thought to that one whose life span is now an incised line in stone -- that one who represented you, like no Congressman could.

Go and find a soldier's grave.

Remember what duty costs.

Then just bow your head and, as Gen. George S. Patton said, do not mourn that such men died, but thank God that such men lived.

Bennett's suggestion is much more in keeping with the ideals of Memorial Day then John Edwards' revolting effort to seek a personal political advantage by dishonoring the sacrifice of our heros.

How do you plan on celebrating Memorial Day?

Photo by William D. Moss, courtesy of the Defense Department.

Edwards Derides War On Terror

In an address to the Council on Foreign Relations, Edwards calls war on terrorism a "bumper sticker:"

The war on terror is a slogan designed only for politics, not a strategy to make America safe. It's a bumper sticker, not a plan.

[. . .]

By framing this as a 'war,' we have walked straight into the trap that the terrorists have set -- that we are engaged in some kind of clash of civilizations and a war against Islam.
In an interview with CNN, Edwards said President George W. Bush and his administration were responsible for Osama bin Laden still being at large.
My response to Edwards' severe case of denial is threefold.

First, 9/11 was not a bumper sticker. Mr. Edwards should sit down and contemplate the planes flying into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the struggle on board flight 93. He should think about the horror of people deciding they had to jump to their deaths from the towers and the fear of New Yorkers running for their lives as the towers disintegrated into that burning pile of rubble.

Second, Edwards should think about what he said in October 2001, when he predicted unity with President Bush on the War on Terrorism:

Finally, Edwards ought to recall what he said upon accepting the 2004 Democratic vice-presidential nomination:
None of us will ever forget where we were on September the 11th. We all share the same terrible images, the towers falling in New York, the Pentagon in flames, a smoldering field in Pennsylvania. We share a profound sadness for the nearly 3,000 lives that were lost.

And as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I know that we have to do more to fight the war on terrorism and keep the American people safe. We can do that.

[. . .]

We will do whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to make sure this never happens again in our America.

[. . .]

We will always use our military might to keep the American people safe.

And we, John and I, we will have one clear unmistakable message for Al Qaida and these terrorists: You cannot run. You cannot hide. We will destroy you.
Edwards seemed to think the war on terror was more than a bumper sticker in 2004. Instead of John's two Americas we have two John Edwards. One saw a war on terror in 2004. The other sees a bumper sticker in 2007.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Vote In The 2008 GOP Strawpoll

This is GOP Bloggers' April 2008 Straw Poll.

You get to pick which candidates you find acceptable and which ones you don't in order to determine who has the largest net positive or net negative support. You can also choose which candidate is your first choice for the GOP nomination in 2008.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bill Richardson Lopez

Bill Richardson goes bipolar:

In the heartland of America he is just Gov. Bill Richardson. But in big Hispanic states like California the Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful tells voters he is also a Lopez.

"California has a lot of Hispanic voters and they don't know I'm Hispanic," said Richardson, governor of New Mexico and son of a Mexican woman named Lopez.

[. . .]

"I am saying 'It's Bill Richardson Lopez and I am one of you and I would like you to consider me, not because I am Hispanic but because I have the best program for the country'," he told Reuters in an interview late on Monday.
Suitably Flip reminds us that Mr. Richardson Lopez has pondered this pandering for 27 years.

Richardson - vote for me because I'm Hispanic - so disappointing.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Dems To Fund War Without Withdrawal Timeline

Finally, 105 days after President Bush sent Congress his urgent request for funds to support our troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, it looks like Reid, Pelosi, and Murtha have decided that they have gotten all the partisan political points to be gained from withholding funds for our troops fighting the war:

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.
Democratic leaders have said they hope to send a war spending bill to President Bush by week's end, with the intention was to avoid a veto.

It's about time. Congress' failure to act in a responsible and timely way belies the Democrats claims that they support the troops, if not the mission. The Delay in providing the funding has resulted in problems for our troops.

The Defense Department has notified Congress that in order to meet the force protection needs of the Marine Corps and the Army, it has been forced to borrow funds from other Marine and Army procurement programs. The borrowing means using funding intended for tactical vehicle replacement, Humvees and Humvee equipment, the tactical communications modernization program, and upgrades for other vehicles.

The borrowing forced by the Democrats and their preference to make partisan political points rather than fund the troops has negative impacts. On April 2, Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, Adm. Michael G. Mullen, Gen. T. Michael Moseley, and Gen. James T. Conway, sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, stating:
Without approval of the supplemental funds in April, the Armed Services will be forced to take increasingly disruptive measures in order to sustain combat operations. The impacts on readiness and quality of life could be profound. … Reprogramming is a short-term, cost-inefficient solution that wastes our limited resources. Spending restrictions will delay and disrupt our follow-on forces as they prepare for war, possibly compromising future readiness and strategic agility.
In a March 28, letter to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker and Acting Secretary of the Army Pete Geren, warned:
Without approval of the supplemental funds in April, we will be forced to take increasingly draconian measures which will impact Army readiness and impose hardships on our soldiers and their families.
Right, the Democrats support the troops.

If the Democrats truly want to end the war, they can refuse to fund it. If they don't want to end the war, the Democrats should provide the required funds to fight it. Having made their political points, it is way past time for the Democrats to stop using the money, needed to support our troops fighting the war, to seek some partisan political advantage.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Democrats Sour On Kennedy's Immigration Deal

Democrats aren't impressed with Kennedy's immigration deal.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, in a statement expressed serious concern over Kennedy's agreement:

Their agreement can serve as a starting point for the Senate debate next week. I have serious concerns about some aspects of this proposal, including the structure of the temporary worker program and undue limitations on family immigration. We need to improve the bill as it moves through the legislative process.
In remarks on the Senate floor, Reid questioned whether "we're going to be able to pass it."

Only two Democrats, Ken Salazar of Colorado and Dianne Feinstein of California, stood beside Kennedy when he announced his immigration deal. Seven Republican senators and two Cabinet secretaries joined the three Democrats.

According to Bloomberg, Democrats expressed doubts over provisions to create a temporary-worker program and to reduce the emphasis on uniting families when deciding which legal immigrants are admitted to the U.S.

New York Senator Charles Schumer said, "There are a lot of Democrats who want to see it improved." New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez called Kennedy's deal "far to the right" last year's Senate immigration reform effort.

Maryland Senator Ben Cardin expressed concern, saying low-wage workers seeking to reunite with their families could suffer.

John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO condemned Kennedy's deal, saying it strikes at "the reunification of families" and expands temporary-worker programs that can amount to "virtual servitude."

Democratic presidential frontrunners, Senators Clinton and Obama and former Edwards reacted cautiously. Hillary said she will study the proposal to make sure it "does not lead to the creation of a new underclass in our country." Obama, told reporters the temporary-worker plan and the merit-based point system must be "carefully examined" to ensure they are "just and humane." Edwards said he had concerns about parts of the proposal, including a “poorly conceived guest worker program.”

West Virginia Senator Robert C. Byrd said, "We should not give a blanket amnesty to illegal immigrants who want to flaunt the laws of this land."

According to The Ledger, North Dakota Senator Byron L. Dorgan said he would offer an amendment to eliminate the guest worker program from the bill.

House Democrats likewise don't seem to like Kennedy's deal.

Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said it will be difficult to pass an immigration bill similar to the Senate proposal.

Representative Xavier Becerra, Democrat of California and a former chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said he had grave concerns about the Senate bill.

All in all, not a very auspicious Democratic reaction to Kennedy's deal.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Immigration Agreement Reached

Senate negotiators reached agreement on immigration legislation, which provides a path to citizenship for 12 million illegal aliens.

As I posted here, it is not yet clear that the agreement will manage to slow illegal immigration anymore that did the failed 1986 Immigration Reform Act.

It is not encouraging that the world's greatest deliberative body will be given the 1,000 page text of the immigration bill late Friday, and Senators are expected to vote on the bill Monday. Weeks after the Senate passed the 850-page Senate immigration reform bill last year, House Republicans were finding unheralded features in that Senate bill such as these beauties:

Illegal aliens allowed to collect Social Security benefits based on past illegal work.

The U.S. Required to consult with Mexican officials before commencement of any fence construction along the border.

Discounted in-state tuition rates at state colleges and universities for illegal aliens who reside in those states. Meanwhile, legal immigrants and citizens who reside outside that state must still pay the full price.

Complete amnesty for employers who have illegally hired the millions of aliens and provided the magnet that drew them here in the first place.

A path to citizenship to illegals who have snuck across the border, counterfeited documentation, committed Social Security fraud and cheated on taxes.
Even more discouraging are the talking points Hugh Hewitt published earlier today. Hewitt refers to the talking points as "four pages of crap." If the Senators recent agreement was truly "reform," could not the agreement withstand a meaningful deliberation? The fact that the Senate is rushing to vote on it too quickly, with only a farcical debate that can not pass a simple smell test can only lead to one conclusion.

UPDATE: RedState has learned that the Senates 1,000-page Immigration "Reform" bill was released to members of the Senate this afternoon. A Cloture vote is scheduled for Monday. If passed, the floor debate will be cut off after 30 hours of additional debate time.

UPDATE II There is no immigration bill:
Multiple Senate sources confirmed that, despite Senator Kennedy and others’ original statements, as of 10:00 PM eastern daylight time Thursday night, “no bill presently exists and probably won't until tomorrow at the earliest” because “the lawyers are still behind closed doors putting it together.” Senate sources also confirmed that “the bill probably will not be online [and available to the public] in its final form until after the Senate has voted on it.” Furthermore, even Senators involved in the process itself offered contradictory reports on its contents. For example, at the same time that John Kyl (R-AZ) was on one news channel praising the bill’s elimination of chain migration – a key provision he himself had championed – Reid was telling another network that that provision would not be in the bill’s final draft.

This Is Reform?

At RedState, here and here, my esteemed colleague Rob Bluey reports that once again a so-called immigration "reform" deal is imminent.

Little is publicly known about the latest "reform" effort. What is known suggests that it will do little to discourage illegal aliens from crossing the Mexican border.

The Washington Times reports the administration, trying to win an immigration agreement with Democrats, is backing away from safeguards designed to target businesses that hire illegal aliens and to prevent a repeat of the rampant fraud that resulted from the 1986 amnesty.

According to the Associated Press and the NewYork Times, the current proposal adopts a point system to reduce the number of family members of illegal aliens that would otherwise be permitted after the illegal aliens are legalized.

The Washington Post reports the tentative deal, allows illegal aliens, who crossed into the country before January 1 would be offered a temporary-residency permit while they await a new "Z Visa" that would allow them to live and work lawfully here:

The head of an illegal-immigrant household would have eight years to return to his or her home country to apply for permanent legal residence for members of the household, but each Z Visa itself would be renewable indefinitely, as long as the holder passes a criminal background check, remains fully employed and pays a $5,000 fine, plus a paperwork-processing fee.

A separate, temporary-worker program would be established for 400,000 migrants a year. Each temporary work visa would be good for two years and could be renewed up to three times, as long as the worker leaves the country for a year between renewals.
Those provisions would be effective only after the federal government implements tough new border controls and a crackdown on employers that hire illegal immigrants, including 18,000 new Border Patrol agents, 370 miles of additional border fencing and an effective, electronic employee-verification system for the workplace.

From the Wall Street Journal we learn it will take about 13 years for illegal aliens, who qualify and have survive the screening process, to become a citizens. The Journal also warns that tougher employer verification rules that will very well impact American citizens when we change jobs.

You are sure to recall that last year a great immigration reform compromise was announced only to fall victim to New York Senator Charles (Chuck) Schumer's belief that the failure to get an immigration reform bill would help the Democrats regain power in the midterm elections.

That compromise dealt with the 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S. by proposing to treat illegal aliens differently based upon the length of time they have been in the U.S.:

Those who have lived in the country at least five years would be put on a path toward guaranteed citizenship, provided that they remained employed, paid fines and back taxes, and learned English, a senior Republican aide said. The aide said this group accounted for about 7 million of the roughly 11 million illegal immigrants believed to be living here.

Those who have lived here for two to five years, said to number about three million, would have to leave the country briefly before reporting to an American port of entry, where they would be classified as temporary workers. They would be allowed to apply for citizenship but would have no guarantee of obtaining it. Those who did not would have to leave after participating in the temporary worker program for six years.

The remaining one million or so, those who have lived in the country less than two years, would be required to leave. They could apply for temporary worker status but would not be guaranteed it.
I supported last year's compromise. My main objection to all previous proposals to give legal status to illegal aliens was that it would just encourage more illegal aliens as did the amnesty authorized by the 1986 Immigration Reform Act.

The new proposal doesn't seem to contain anything to discourage the ongoing flood of illegals crossing the border. To the contrary, If enacted into law this proposal will ensure that an ever greater number of illegal aliens will continue to sneak across the border. And why not, we continue to encourage the tidal wave of illegal aliens flooding the country. By allowing those that disregard the nation's immigration laws to remain here and pursue citizenship. This latest proposal sends a simple message - get into the United States anyway you can because eventually you will legalized.

That message will be heard loud and clear just as it was with the adoption of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 ("IRCA"). That "immigration reform" legalized 4 million illegal aliens. IRCA has been a monumental failure. Twenty years later there 12 million illegal aliens to legalize. If amnesty is now given to these millions, then we should only expect that twenty years from now we will have to consider granting amnesty to 36 million more illegal aliens.

I have commended President Bush and his willingness to try and reform immigration since he announced his initiative in January 2004. True reform might well include some path to citizenship, but it must be seen to discourage the flood tide of illegals constantly crossing the border.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Edwards Rebuked

Edwards, in a crass attempt to "politicize" Memorial Day, asks his supporters to use the holiday to denounce the war.

"REVOLTING," that's what the leader of the American Legion calls John Edwards' efforts to dishonor Memorial Day by attempting to make the holiday an antiwar statement:

"Revolting is a kind word for it. It's as inappropriate as a political bumper sticker on an Arlington headstone," Morin wrote on the Legion's Web site. "Edwards is hardly the first politician from either political party to exploit this day, a holiday that was consecrated with the blood of American heroes. But the e-mail makes me sick nonetheless."

[. . .]

"It's not about picnics or trips to the beach. It's not about making pro- or anti-war statements. It's not about supporting political candidates," Morin wrote.
The special website Edwards setup to support this despicable perversion of the day this nation set aside to honor and recognize the ultimate sacrifice made by so many, suggests this activity:
Get vocal. Buy a bunch of poster-board and markers. At a picnic or with family and friends, make signs that say “SUPPORT THE TROOPS - END THE WAR.” Bring them to your local Memorial Day parade. Then take a digital photo of yourself and your family or friends holding up the poster and tell us about it. We’ll include it in a “Democracy Photo Album” on our site.
Edwards' attempt to seek a personal political advantage by dishonoring the sacrifice of our heros is a sad departure from the way Memorial Day is usually celebrated in this country.
U.S. Army soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry, The Old Guard, place American flags in front of grave markers during the "Flags In" ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., May 25, 2006. Photos courtesy of the Defense Dept. by William D. Moss.

A flag waves in front of the Tomb of the Unknowns also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for the "Flag's In" ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va. May 25, 2006.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Chris Wallace On Bill Clinton's Temper Tantrum

Betsy Rothstein, of 20 Questions, interviewed Chris Wallace, host of “Fox News Sunday,” about tonight’s GOP debate.

During the interview, Rothstein asked about former President Clinton's temper tantrum:

After your testy exchange with former President Clinton, do you think you can get along with the presidential hopefuls and not make them angry?

Well, I don’t think it was a testy exchange. I think he was testy; I was polite.

[. . .]

Did you have any hint that that was going to happen with Clinton?

No, and I don’t think he did either. I know the Clinton team likes to make it seem that this was pre-planned on their part, but the fact that the president’s press secretary tried to get the cameras turned off as soon as the president erupted convinces me that it was as pre-planned as a car wreck.

How do you feel about it now?

I’m delighted, and I think [Clinton] is delighted as well. We ran into each other at party a couple of months ago and there were no hard feelings. It clearly attracted a lot of viewers to our show, and I think [Clinton] feels that it had the effect of energizing the Democratic base.
You will recall, former President Clinton lost it when Chris Wallace asked him whether he'd done to hunt for Osama bin Laden.

VoteVets Target McCain

VoteVets will target Senator John McCain, by broadcasting the organization's newest antiwar ad on Fox News Channel after tonight's Republican presidential debate in South Carolina.

The ad, which can be seen here, is a slightly edited version of the ad that caused CBS News to fire retired U.S. Army Major General John Batiste as a consultant

The antiwar organization doesn't like McCain's steadfast support of our revised war strategy.

Taking Heat Over Mother Teresa

A Catholic advocacy group is urging New York Senator Hillary Clinton to remove an image of Mother Teresa from a campaign video narrated by former President Bill Clinton:Clintonmotherteresa_2

"It is wholly inappropriate, disrespectful and disturbing that Hillary Clinton is using an image of Blessed Mother Teresa as a political tool, especially given their radically different views on abortion," said Fidelis President Joseph Cella.

He noted that Mother Teresa fought to protect unborn children, while Hillary Clinton "staunchly supports abortion on demand in all nine months of pregnancy, including partial birth abortion and taxpayer funding of abortion."

A shot of Mother Teresa standing with then-First Lady Hillary Clinton appears in the five-minute campaign video. The video then cuts to a clip of Mrs. Clinton's address at the 1995 Beijing Conference, in which she says, "It is no longer acceptable to discuss women's rights as separate from human rights." The Beijing Conference tried to declare abortion a fundamental human right, something the video fails to mention. The video of Hillary's campaign video is available here.

Mother Teresa sent a letter to the 1995 Beijing Conference in which she condemned abortion:
That special power of loving that belongs to a woman is seen most clearly when she becomes a mother. Motherhood is the gift of God to women....Yet we can destroy this gift of motherhood, especially by the evil of abortion .... No job, no plans, no possessions, no idea of 'freedom' can take the place of love.
It was a huge mistake on the part of Hillary to allow the video to cut from the picture of Hillary and Mother Teresa to the Beijing Conference. Inappropriate, disrespectful and misleading.

Michael Moore Challenges Fred Thompson To Debate

In a publicity stunt for his new project, Michael challenged Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson to a debate:

Our debate would provide you an opportunity to appeal to the right wing of the Republican Party by continuing to attack me; it would give me a chance to discuss health care and tell you exactly what happened in Cuba, given your apparent inters; and it would provide the American people an opportunity to see just how serious Hollywood can be, with a purported conservative and an avowed progressive Hollywood personality on stage.

Thomson replied to Moore in a video, which you can watch below.

If Fred campaigns like that for president, he will be a formidable candidate.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Fred Waiting Until July

Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson will wait a little longer to decide whether to run for president.

Last week, Thompson said he is "ready to run," but not decided:

He told Cate he’s “ready to run” personally, and that opening an exploratory campaign committee would be the logical first step.

He wouldn’t commit to any timetable, but suggested that he thinks voters need to know before fall what their choices in the race will be.
Thompson also implied he would make a decision by September:
He wouldn’t commit to any timetable, but suggested that he thinks voters need to know before fall what their choices in the race will be.
His decision may come sooner. According to Chuck Raasch, political editor for Gannett News Service, there are several reasons why Thompson may announce whether he's running around July 1:

First, July is the start of the next three-month fundraising reporting schedule. If Thompson were to announce in June, the fundraising clock would start ticking and an unimpressive quarterly fundraising report released in July could dampen the enthusiasm his teasing candidacy has enjoyed this spring.

Second, Thompson already is on TV more than his potential rivals. His campaign tease is getting more publicity than many of the announced presidential candidates are getting. Should Thompson announce he's running, the broadcasting fairness doctrine would place Thompson's acting career on hiatus.

Third, Thompson needs time to deal with his multiple acting and business obligations, including his radio commentary for ABC.

Though he’s not a declared candidate, and hasn’t even formed an exploratory committee, Thompson still registers third in polls, behind the two Republican leaders, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, and ahead declared candidates, former Governors Romney, Huckabee, and Tommy Thompson.

Waiting until September, like the strategy adopted by former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, is a mistake. It is now less likely that a successful campaign can be announced just weeks before the Iowa caucuses as Bill Clinton did in 1992. The front loading of the 2008 primaries, and 20 candidates, requires an earlier commitment.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Hillary vs. Obama

A new strategy for Rudy courtesy of LisaNova and MadTV:

Friday, May 11, 2007

Richardson's Job Interview

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson's Presidential campaign has released two new television ads in hopes of breaking away from the rest of the also rans.

I think the ads are the best of the 2008 campaign., but that isn't saying much. The first ad, entitled "Job Interview," summarizes Richardson's public service. The second, "Tell Me," continues the series by touching on a number of his achievements as governor. You can watch the ads below:

Cox Sues Over Debate

Republican presidential candidate John Cox asked a federal court to stop next week's GOP presidential debate unless he is allowed to take part.

Cox claims that the South Carolina Republican Party and Fox News Channel rigged their selection process to exclude him. According to the complaint, at issue is a requirement that the South Carolina Republican Party and FOX News used to decide who could participate in the debate. Candidates were required to obtain at least 1 percent of support in recent state and national polls leading up to the early May deadline for registering in the state's primary. Just prior to the May 1, 2007 deadline, the polling criteria was changed to reliance upon a single Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll conducted on April 1-3, 2007. That poll did not include Cox.

The complaint alleges that the polling criteria was changed because several of the candidates who filed for the South Carolina Republican Primary did not poll at least 1% in national and state polls and therefore would not be allowed to take part in the Debate. You can find the complaint here.

Cox isn't likely to get his way. Despite his efforts, Cox isn't taken as a serious presidential cadidate by the media or the Republican Party.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Conan Takes On Hillary's Occasional Twang

Conan O'Brien offers additional evidence that Hillary Clinton panders to certain audiences by using phony accents during her campaign speeches:

Monday, May 7, 2007

Huckabee's Evolution Beliefs

Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback, and Tom Tancredo raised their hands during Thursday's debate when asked if they don't believe in evolution:

Huckabee, in a conference call with reporters the morning after the debate, explained how he would have responded if given a chance to elaborate on the question:

"If you want to believe that you and your family came from apes, that's fine. I'll accept that," he said Friday. "I just don't happen to think that I did."

As for what should be taught in public schools, Huckabee said he wants "schools to acknowledge that there are views that are different than evolution."

Huckabee downplayed the role evolution should have in the election. "Is a president going to sit in the Oval Office and really make a decision on what's being taught in a third-grade class in Dubuque, Iowa, on creation or evolution?" he said. "The answer is no."
Huckabee's views about his faith are sincere. Prior to his political career Huckabee was pastor of several Southern Baptist churches. He also served as president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Googling McCain

In addition to all of the other perks available to Google employees, they now a chance to personally question presidential candidates:

How do you determine good ways of sorting 1 million 32-bit integers in two megabytes of RAM?
That's the first question asked of Senator John McCain by Google chief executive Eric Schmidt. It was a humorous icebreaker that received laughs from the Google geeks and McCain.

Google has invited all the major candidates. McCain was the second candidate to accept Senator Clinton was interviewed February.

After the opening brainteaser, Schmidt asked about McCain's Vietnam War combat and POW experiences. The Googlers wanted to talk about Iraq:
The candidate delivered a well-worn but impassioned defense of the policy, guaranteeing that "if we have to withdraw on a date-certain, there will be chaos, genocide and other nations in the region will be drawn in."

Schmidt did not challenge this view, but one of his subordinates did.

Why discount the possibility that no one will win the war, the worker asked.

"Any rational observer would say that if the war's lost, then someone won the war," McCain responded. "Al-Qaida will win that war."
The Google interviews, along with the use of YouTube, represent an interesting new dynamic in political campaigns. The Internet obviously makes it easier for candidates to reach certain groups, but controlling the message becomes more difficult. Just ask former Senator Allen.

You can find the McCain and Hillary interviews at YouTube:

Senator McCain Interview

Senator Clinton Interview

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Hagel Changes His Mind

Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska now says he would consider entering the 2008 presidential campaign as an independent:

An independent bid "is possible," Hagel, 60, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television's "Political Capital with Al Hunt," scheduled to air today. "I don't ever foreclose any options." He will decide in the next few months whether to run for a third Senate term, pursue the presidency or leave politics altogether, he said.
There has been plenty of speculation that Hagel might run on a so-called fusion ticket. Before now, Hagel has said that if he ran for president, it would be as a Republican. At The RealClearPolitics Blog, Tom Bevan posts this quote from Senator Hagel:
Q: Would you give any consideration to running as an Independent?
HAGEL: Well, if I seek the Presidency, I would seek it as a Republican. Where all this is going to go and how it ends up next year, whether that's possible for an Independent to be elected President, maybe. Maybe it would be. But, right now, I'd be focused on seeking the Republican nomination.
When Hagel was seen having diner with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg this week, it fueled speculation about the two of them teaming up for a presidential campaign. Hagel says no:
Hagel said they talked about their families, politics and Iraq, and there was no discussion about teaming up for a presidential campaign.

"We have a lot of common interests," he said. "But no, there was no talk of any ticket."
Recently, Hagel has made it very clear that we can't rely on what he says about his ambitions. The evidence suggests that he will run for reelection. Hagel has scheduled a fundraiser, which will be headlined by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The message here is that Hagel, despite a possible challenge from Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, Hagel's strong opposition to Iraq war policies and his criticism of the president, is still a member of the team.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Californians Say Rudy Won

The pundits are wrong, A SurveyUSA of California debate watchers finds Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani convincingly won the California debate among Republican presidential candidates.

Giuliani was picked as the winner by 30% of those in CA who watched. Former Massachusetts Governor Romney was picked as the winner by 12%, and Arizona Senator McCain was picked as the winner by 11%. All other candidates were in single digits:

Who Won The Debate?

4% Brownback
8% Gilmore
30% Giuliani
4% Huckabee
7% Hunter
11% McCain
12% Romney
2% Paul
4% Tancredo
2% Thompson
16% Not Sure

Californians are much less engaged in the 2008 presidential campaign than are South Carolinians. One in three South Carolinians watched the Democratic debate, compared to one in eight Californians who watched the Republican debate.

This small number of adult Californians, who watched a Republican presidential debate nine months from the California primary and 18 months from the General Election, is unlikely to be a very reliable guide to California Republican primary voters. More information on the SurveyUSA poll results, or how the survey was conducted, is available here and here.

The California debate watchers think Giuliani has the best plan for Iraq and immigration reform:

20% of CA debate watchers say McCain has the best plan for Iraq, which was only slightly behind Giuliani, who was picked by 25% as having the best Iraq plan. [. . .] Giuliani was seen as having the best solution for immigration reform by 31% of CA viewers. No one else was close.
That is peculiar because I don't recall Giuliani saying much about Iraq during the debate.

Tommy Thompson Takes It Back

Tommy Thompson, one of the remaining 15 prospective Republican 2008 presidential candidates, apologizes for his comment on gay discrimination at the GOP presidential debate.

When asked whether a private employers should be allowed to fire gay employees because of their sexual preference, Thompson said yes:

MR. HARRIS: Governor Thompson, same theme. If a private employer finds homosexuality immoral, should he be allowed to fire a gay worker?
MR. THOMPSON: I think that is left up to the individual business. I really sincerely believe that that is an issue that business people have to got to make their own determination as to whether or not they should be.
MR. VANDEHEI: Okay. So the answer’s yes.
Even though the answer was probably right on the law in most jurisdictions in the U.S., it certainly didn't pass the political correctness test. Today Thompson tried to take it all back:
In a telephone interview from O'Hare Airport, Thompson told "American Morning" that he "misinterpreted" the question and should have asked to have it repeated.

"That's never been my position," Thompson said, said adding that discrimination isn't acceptable.
Thompson never had much of a chance in this presidential sweepstakes. After that comment at last night's debate you can pretty much stick a fork in whatever his chances were. He's done.

McCain And Romney Win

That is my initial take after watching the Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Presidential Library last night.

McCain came out with guns blazing, effectively countering the growing perception that he is too old and tired to be president:

MR. MATTHEWS: Senator McCain, most of the public pessimism today has to do with Iraq. How -- what would you need, as commander in chief, to win the war in Iraq?
SEN. MCCAIN: I would need the support of the American people. I would need to be able to show them some success in Iraq, both on the battlefield as well as with the Maliki government.

We have a new general, we have a new strategy. That strategy can succeed. The young men and women who are serving are the best of America. I believe that if we could bring around -- about stability in the neighborhoods in Iraq and have the Maliki government govern, you are going to succeed.

My friends, when the majority leader of the United States Senate says we’ve lost the war, the men and women that are serving in Iraq reject that notion. And if we lost, then who won? Did al Qaeda win? When on the floor of House of Representatives -- they cheer. They cheer when they passed a withdrawal motion -- that is, a certain date for surrender, what were they cheering? Surrender? Defeat?

We must win in Iraq. If we withdraw, there will be chaos, there will be genocide, and they will follow us home.
MR. MATTHEWS: Do you need anything beyond what the president has now to win the war?
SEN. MCCAIN: Now I think it’s on the right track. The war was terribly mismanaged. The war was terribly mismanaged, and we now have to fix a lot of the mistakes that were made. Books have been written. But we have a new strategy and a new general, and these young men and women are committed to winning.
The transcript fails to convey the energy and emotion that McCain conveyed in this exchange. I'm sure the YouTube video of that exchange will be a plus for McCain.

Romney came across as smooth and polished, maybe so smooth some will find him slick. He should mess his hair or something. Romney's best shot was when Mathews asked him if the Roman Catholic Church should deny communion to pro-abortion politicians:
MR. MATTHEWS: Governor Romney, what do you say to Roman Catholic bishops who would deny communion to elected officials who support abortion rights?
MR. ROMNEY: I don’t say anything to Roman Catholic bishops. They can do whatever the heck they want. (Laughter.) Roman Catholic bishops are in a private institution, a religion, and they can do whatever they want in a religion. America --
MR. MATTHEWS: Do you see that as interference in public life?
MR. ROMNEY: Well, I can’t imagine a government telling a church who can have communion in their church. I can’t -- we have a separation of church and state; it’s served us well in this country.
MR. ROMNEY: This is a nation, after all, that wants a leader that’s a person of faith, but we don’t choose our leader based on which church they go to. This is a nation which also comes together. We unite over faith and over the right of people to worship as they choose. The people we’re fighting, they’re the ones who divide over faith and decide matters of this nature in the public forum. This is a place where we celebrate different religions and different faiths.
The main stream media is excoriating Giuliani for not appearing presidential, and even more so for his waffling on abortion. Giuliani had three shots at the abortion question last night. First, Matthews asked all the candidates, except Paul whether it would be good if Roe v. Wade is repealed:

We now go to the next segment. We’re going to talk about values. Let’s go down the line on this, just like they did with the Democrats last week on some of these trickier calls, but they do have clear answers.

Starting with you, Governor. Would the day that Roe v. Wade is repealed be a good day for Americans?

[. . .]

MR. GIULIANI: It would be okay.
MR. MATTHEWS: Okay to repeal?
MR. GIULIANI: It would be okay to repeal. Or it would be okay also if a strict constructionist judge viewed it as precedent, and I think a judge has to make that decision.
MR. MATTHEWS: Would it be okay if they didn’t repeal it?
MR. GIULIANI: I think that -- I think the court has to make that decision, and then the country can deal with it. We’re a federalist system of government, and states could make their own decisions.
Next, Matthews asked Rudy why he supports public funding of abortions:
MR. MATTHEWS: Let me get back to Governor -- Mayor Giuliani because I want to give you a chance on this. You became very well known for standing up against the use of public funds for what many people considered indecent exhibits at the Brooklyn Museum and places like that.

Why do you support the use of public funds for abortion?
MR. GIULIANI: I don’t. I support the Hyde amendment. I hate abortion. I wish people didn’t have abortions.
MR. MATTHEWS: So you’re not for funding at all?
MR. GIULIANI: I believe that the Hyde amendment should remain the law. States should make their decision. Some states decide to do it, most states decide not to do it. And I think that’s the appropriate way to have this decided.
MR. MATTHEWS: Should New York -- when you were mayor of New York, should they have been paying for -- the state should have been paying for --
MR. GIULIANI: That’s a decision New York made a long time ago, and New York --
MR. MATTHEWS: And where were you on that?
MR. GIULIANI: I supported it in New York. But I think in other places, people can come to a different decision.
A bit later, Giuliani had a third opportunity:
MR. MATTHEWS: That’s time, Governor.

Let me ask Mayor Giuliani, do you want to respond to this? Because it seems like across the room here there’s strong, unrelenting -- with the exception of Governor Gilmore -- an unrelenting pro-life position. You seem to have a nuanced position on this. Many people think you’re pro-choice. Could you define it in a couple of seconds?
MR. GIULIANI: Sure. This is a very, very difficult issue of conscience for many, many people. In my case, I hate abortion. I would encourage someone to not take that option. When I was mayor of New York city, I encouraged adoptions; adoptions went up 65-70 percent, abortions went down 16 percent.

But ultimately, since it is an issue of conscience, I would respect a woman’s right to make a different choice. I support the ban on partial-birth abortion, I support the Hyde amendment, but ultimately I think when you come down to that choice, you have to respect a woman’s right to make that choice differently than my conscience.

And I’d like to respond on spending if you (give me a little time later ?) --
MR. MATTHEWS: Okay, later. We’ll have to kill you now because it’s a red light.
I don't think Rudy's abortion answers hurt him as much as the pundits believe. Giuliani's position is closer to that held by most of the electorate, especially young voters. If Rudy is able to win the nomination espousing such views, he will be a more appealing candidate in the general election.

I thought Brownback and Huckabee distinguished themselves from the other "second-tier" candidates. However, I was completely taken aback when Matthews asked for a show of hands as to who did not believe in evolution and the two of them joined Tancredo raised their hands:
MR. VANDEHEI: I’m curious, is there anybody on the stage that does not agree -- believe in evolution?

(Senator Brownback, Mr. Huckabee, Representative Tancredo raise their hands.)
The remaining four candidates, Gilmore, Hunter, Paul, Tommy Thompson, along with Tancredo failed to distinguish themselves and remain also rans.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Hillary To Move To Deauthorize The War

Senator Clinton will introduce legislation to end authority for the war in Iraq.

From Senator Clinton's remarks on the Senate floor:

SENATOR CLINTON: Madam President, I rise to join my colleague and friend, Senator Byrd, to announce our intention to introduce legislation which proposes that October 11, 2007 -- the five year anniversary of the original resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq -- as the expiration date for that resolution.

[. . .]

I believe this fall is the time to review the Iraq war authorization and to have a full national debate so the people can be heard. I supported the Byrd amendment on October 10, 2002, which would have limited the original authorization to one year and I believe a full reconsideration of the terms and conditions of that authorization is overdue. This bill would require the president to do just that.
Now, assuming such a bad idea can get sufficient votes, she just has to convince President Bush to sign it. Then all we need is for our terrorist enemies to deauthorize the war they are waging against us. It sounds so easy.

Fineman Sizes Up Tonight's Second Tier Candidates

Howard Fineman, in a Newsweek web exclusive, considers most of the second-tier Republican Presidential candidates participating in tonight's debate:

Consider Rep. Ron Paul, a Libertarian Republican from Texas who has opposed the Iraq War from the beginning because of his small-government, isolationist worldview. He is not a nut case but rather a doctor with a degree from Duke Medical School. And he’s steeped in a branch of conservative intellectual history that traces its modern lineage to the Founding Fathers.

Most people back East know nothing of Rep. Duncan Hunter of San Diego, but he is a serious character, too—a Vietnam vet and student of military matters who should not be confused with the Duke Cunninghams of the world. You know the anti-illegal fence near his city, the one that is now a model for a larger fence along the Mexican border? That was Hunter’s project. Living at the other end of the foreign-policy spectrum from Paul—there is no more dedicated supporter of the use of military power in world affairs—Hunter represents the big-stick tradition now known as neoconservatism. He mixes it up with Democrats, big time.

Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado has made a name for himself as the leading proponent of tough immigration rules and sanctions—far tougher than the ideas the GOP front runners are daring to discuss. You think this doesn’t resonate in the core of the base? Of course it does, and the big names know it.

Former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore has some anti-tax cred, not so much for what he did as governor per se but for having been a key player in the drive—so far successful—to prevent the imposition of government taxes on Internet transactions.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is best known for having lost 100 pounds, but as I see it he is one of two candidates—the other is Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas—who represent the pure strain of religious conservatism in the party. Huckabee has the best credential of all on that score: he is an ordained Baptist preacher, and that was his day job before he entered politics. If you are an evangelical Christian, why not be for Huckabee? That way you eliminate the middle man.
I don't know why Fineman left former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson out of his commentary

With the focus always on former New York City Mayor Giuliani, Arizona Senator McCain, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, most folks don't hear much about the other prospective candidates.

Like Kucinich and Gravel in the Democratic candidate's debate held last week, the seven lessor known candidates will likely be much more strident during this chance to bask in national attention. The big three will concentrate on trying to avoid making any mistakes.

Obama Gets Secret Service Protection

Illinois senator and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has been placed under the protection of the Secret Service. The protection was requested of the Obama campaign:

"As a matter of procedure, we will not release any details of the deliberations of assessments that led to protection being initiated," the Secret Service statement said.

Protection goes beyond surrounding the candidate with well-armed agents, the Secret Service's Web site states. The agency does extensive advance work and threat assessments developed by its Intelligence Division to identify potential risks, the site says.
As a former first lady, Senator Clinton, also a presidential candidate, already has Secret Service protection.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

House Dems Fail To Override Veto

The House today tried – and failed – to override President Bush's veto of the pork laden war supplemental bill that required troops to be withdrawn from Iraq.

The vote was 222-203 to override the veto, far short of the two-thirds necessary.

Everyone knew the veto, promised for the last three months, would be sustained:

Perhaps now the Democrats will send the President a war funding bill he can sign. If the Democrats truly want to end the war, they should refuse to fund it. Either way, having made the political points, it is time for the Democrats to stop using the money, needed to support our troops fighting the war, to seek some partisan political advantage.

Also posted at Examining Presidential Politics.

Brownback Becomes A Girl Scout

Presidential candidate, Senator Sam Brownback became an honorary Girl Scout yesterday when he visited a group of Scouts and talked to them about following their dreams:

"A dream is a big thing, and it's a special dream that's just yours," he said. "But a lot of times people talk themselves out of their own dreams."

[. . .]

The Scouts gave Brownback a commemorative song book, a sing-along badge, a lapel pin and a framed certificate of membership into the Girl Scouts.
It won't do anyone any harm if Brownback takes his membership seriously and abides by the Girl Scout Promise and Law:
On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

I will do my best to be Honest and fair, Friendly and helpful, Considerate and caring, Courageous and strong, and Responsible for what I say and do, And to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout.
Also posted at Examining Presidential Politics and California Yankee.

President Bush Vetoes Democrats' Withdrawal Date

Just as he had promised to do for three months, when the Democrats finished delaying the war supplemental bill to make their partisan political points and sent the bill containing a withdrawal date, President Bush vetoed the bill.

The president cites three reasons he felt compelled to veto the bill:

The bill mandates a rigid and artificial deadline for American troops to begin withdrawing from Iraq.

The bill substitutes the opinions of politicians for the judgment of our military commanders on the ground.

The bill is loaded with billions of dollars in non-emergency spending that has nothing to do with fighting the war on terror.
President Bush signed the veto with a pen given to him by the father of Marine Cpl. Dustin Derga, whose son was killed in Iraq.
Robert Derga was in the group of Gold Star families who met Bush in the Oval Office two weeks ago. He wanted Bush to use the pen to veto that bill, and called back to make sure he was going to do it.

[. . .]

Derga asked Bush to promise to use the pen in his veto. On Tuesday, Derga contacted the White House to remind Bush to use the pen, and so he did.
The President made the following remarks after vetoing the bill:
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Twelve weeks ago, I asked the Congress to pass an emergency war spending bill that would provide our brave men and women in uniform with the funds and flexibility they need.

Instead, members of the House and the Senate passed a bill that substitutes the opinions of politicians for the judgment of our military commanders. So a few minutes ago, I vetoed this bill.

Tonight I will explain the reasons for this veto -- and my desire to work with Congress to resolve this matter as quickly as possible. We can begin tomorrow with a bipartisan meeting with the congressional leaders here at the White House.

Here is why the bill Congress passed is unacceptable. First, the bill would mandate a rigid and artificial deadline for American troops to begin withdrawing from Iraq. That withdrawal could start as early as July 1st. And it would have to start no later than October 1st, regardless of the situation on the ground.

It makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing. All the terrorists would have to do is mark their calendars and gather their strength -- and begin plotting how to overthrow the government and take control of the country of Iraq. I believe setting a deadline for withdrawal would demoralize the Iraqi people, would encourage killers across the broader Middle East, and send a signal that America will not keep its commitments. Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure -- and that would be irresponsible.

Second, the bill would impose impossible conditions on our commanders in combat. After forcing most of our troops to withdraw, the bill would dictate the terms on which the remaining commanders and troops could engage the enemy. That means American commanders in the middle of a combat zone would have to take fighting directions from politicians 6,000 miles away in Washington, D.C. This is a prescription for chaos and confusion, and we must not impose it on our troops.

Third, the bill is loaded with billions of dollars in non-emergency spending that has nothing to do with fighting the war on terror. Congress should debate these spending measures on their own merits -- and not as part of an emergency funding bill for our troops.

The Democratic leaders know that many in Congress disagree with their approach, and that there are not enough votes to override a veto. I recognize that many Democrats saw this bill as an opportunity to make a political statement about their opposition to the war. They've sent their message. And now it is time to put politics behind us and support our troops with the funds they need.

Our troops are carrying out a new strategy with a new commander -- General David Petraeus. The goal of this new strategy is to help the Iraqis secure their capital, so they can make progress toward reconciliation, and build a free nation that respects the rights of its people, upholds the rule of law, and fights extremists and radicals and killers alongside the United States in this war on terror.

In January, General Petraeus was confirmed by a unanimous vote in the United States Senate. In February, we began sending the first of the reinforcements he requested. Not all of these reinforcements have arrived. And as General Petraeus has said, it will be at least the end of summer before we can assess the impact of this operation. Congress ought to give General Petraeus' plan a chance to work.

In the months since our military has been implementing this plan, we've begun to see some important results. For example, Iraqi and coalition forces have closed down an al Qaeda car bomb network, they've captured a Shia militia leader implicated in the kidnapping and killing of American soldiers, they've broken up a death squad that had terrorized hundreds of residents in a Baghdad neighborhood.

Last week, General Petraeus was in Washington to brief me, and he briefed members of Congress on how the operation is unfolding. He noted that one of the most important indicators of progress is the level of sectarian violence in Baghdad. And he reported that since January, the number of sectarian murders has dropped substantially.

Even as sectarian attacks have declined, we continue to see spectacular suicide attacks that have caused great suffering. These attacks are largely the work of al Qaeda -- the enemy that everyone agrees we should be fighting. The objective of these al Qaeda attacks is to subvert our efforts by reigniting the sectarian violence in Baghdad -- and breaking support for the war here at home. In Washington last week, General Petraeus explained it this way: "Iraq is, in fact, the central front of all al Qaeda's global campaign."

Al Qaeda -- al Qaeda's role makes the conflict in Iraq far more complex than a simple fight between Iraqis. It's true that not everyone taking innocent life in Iraq wants to attack America here at home. But many do. Many also belong to the same terrorist network that attacked us on September 11th, 2001 -- and wants to attack us here at home again. We saw the death and destruction al Qaeda inflicted on our people when they were permitted a safe haven in Afghanistan. For the security of the American people, we must not allow al Qaeda to establish a new safe haven in Iraq.

We need to give our troops all the equipment and the training and protection they need to prevail. That means that Congress needs to pass an emergency war spending bill quickly. I've invited leaders of both parties to come to the White House tomorrow -- and to discuss how we can get these vital funds to our troops. I am confident that with goodwill on both sides, we can agree on a bill that gets our troops the money and flexibility they need as soon as possible.

The need to act is urgent. Without a war funding bill, the military has to take money from some other account or training program so the troops in combat have what they need. Without a war funding bill, the Armed Forces will have to consider cutting back on buying new equipment or repairing existing equipment. Without a war funding bill, we add to the uncertainty felt by our military families. Our troops and their families deserve better -- and their elected leaders can do better.

Here in Washington, we have our differences on the way forward in Iraq, and we will debate them openly. Yet whatever our differences, surely we can agree that our troops are worthy of this funding -- and that we have a responsibility to get it to them without further delay.

Thank you for listening. May God bless our troops.
The President’s veto will be sustained. Perhaps having had the opportunity of making all the partisan political points imaginable over the three months since the President asked for the war supplemental funding to provide the funds needed to support our troops fighting the war, the Democrats can now see fit to provide the critical troop funding without attaching arbitrary conditions and time lines, not to mention billions in unrelated spending.

Also posted at California Yankee and Examining Presidential Politics.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Pelosi Still Reading War Supplemental

Today, the Congressional Quarterly (subscription required), reveals that the conference report on the war supplemental adopted by the House and cleared by the Senate last week, had not yet been sent to the president because Speaker Pelosi wants more time to personally read it and sign it.

That's right, even though she voted for it, Pelosi hasn’t even read the bill yet. The presidential veto of the legislation containing the Democrats' withdrawal language, the veto promised for the last three months, should have happened long ago. It hasn't because Speaker Pelosi has done everything imaginable, and some things unimaginable - like going on vacation to visit a state sponsor of terrorism before naming the conferees and waiting days to sign the report she failed to read before she voted on - to delay getting the bill to the White House for the certain veto. The delay prompted presidential Tony Snow to offer to walk down to the Capital to pick it up:

“It’s now been passed for five days,” said Bush spokesman Tony Snow. “We’re not quite sure why it’s been so difficult to convey it one mile up Pennsylvania Avenue … I could walk down and pick it up today.”
Apparently all of Nancy's delaying shenanigans were designed to allow a carefully arranged political statement by the Democrats. According to The Hill, they will stage a signing event to send their war supplemental bill to the White House:
The ceremony will come four years to the day after Bush stood in front of a “Mission Accomplished” sign and declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq.
Is anyone else tiring of the Democrats' political theater? If they are going to fund the war, just do it. If the Democrats truly want to end the war, they should refuse to fund it. Either way the Democrats should stop using the money, needed to support our troops fighting the war, to seek some partisan political advantage.