Friday, November 18, 2005

Murtha/GOP Backbone continued 

See this post for the set-up for this liveblog of the current debate.

approx 8 PM EST

Currently Mr. Phil Gingrey (Republican of Georgia) is starting the debate (both sides get one hour). He said that he stands with the troops, and that he supports the removal of Saddam Hussein because he was and still is an enemy of the West-of our culture-and was a threat to us until he was removed.

Ms. Louise Slaughter (Democrate of New York) is saying that this is a polical attack on Mr Murtha, who is a war hero and thus doesn't deserve to be attacked. He knows combat.

Ooooo. I'm glad he knows combat, and that he served, but that doesn't make his idiotic idea any better. In fact, it makes it just seem strange. Why would he want to throw away the efforts and sacrifices that have occured so far in Iraq? Because if we leave, than the Baathists will come back into power, and everyone that died died for nothing.

Oh, it's our military occupation. We're drawing fire, not surpressing it, and causing insurgets to hate us. That's what she says.

She says we can no longer ask Iraqis and our soldiers to sacrifie for our goal. So, she'd rather have them die to Baathists acts of retribution when the reclaim the government? Our boys may come home, but the Iraqis will still be dying, but without the hope of having a democratic government in the future. That is most certainly not better.


The next GOP speaker after Slaughter didn't say anything that hasn't already been said.

Now Mr. Ike Skelton (Democrat of Missouri) is speaking. He spent the beginning of his time outlining Mr. Murtha's past credentials. I still fail to see why those matter now. You can have been great in the past and fail now. And anyway, why does bodily courage, which Mr. Murtha showed in his distinguished service, qualify someone for policy debates? Why does it make his moonbat [I'm redacting that, too strong a word for a man who is wrong, but is not a moonbat] opinions more valid? No one has answered that. Mr. Skelton just waved ath the medals and assumed we'd understand. Well, I don't, and I don't think most people understand.

Now, he said a few words about mistakes like the looting of the Baghdad Museum. Than he said he loved the troops. No words on why Mr. Murtha's opinion was a good one, and no real reasons why we should withrdawl. And no words on what the consequences of such a mistake would be.

UPDATE: Approx 8:16

Mr. (Republican of ) [C-Span hasn't flashed his name yet]. He said that the soldiers now are heroes, 18-19-20 year old heros. He won't cut and run. He says we should debate about democracy and victory. I hope someone does that, because no one on either side has yet.

Mr. Mel Watt (Democrat of North Carolina) says he's speaking for the Black Caucus. He says their votes won't be misinterpreted. It annoys me that he's trying to sound special because he's in the Black Caucus. There's no White Caucus. Anyway, that's not the core here.

Oh yay, he just urged Bush to withdrawl and redeploy at the 'earliest practicable date.' I think that's what we've always planned. The problem is Democrats want to do it now when doing so would cause us to lose. If we wait a couple of years, when the picture has changed, it'll be a better idea.

Oh, he wants no permanent military bases in Iraq. Well, if the Iraqis want that. But if they don't, why should we not have bases. I mean, Germany and Japan? Geeze.


Another GOP Speaker with no name flashed--didn't say much. Maybe they're saving their time until the end when they have a good speaker? I hope so.

Now Mr. Joseph Crowley (Democrat of New York). He just said Cindy Sheehan just wanted to meet Mr. Bush, but she was called unpatriotic. No she wasn't. But then he says that Now Mr. Murtha is being called unpatriotic. That might be true, but what the hell does it have to do with Cindy Sheehan? Geeze, I wish the Democrat speakers would actually address the point instead of just defending Murtha. By defending him, they're making themselves look stupid, because his idea is stupid.

Now Ms. Ginny Brown-Watte (Republican of Florida). She says that this is not about attacking a member. That's true. Now she says our exit strategy is to stay until Iraqis can take over. That's a good strategy to me.

Now Mr. Dennis Kucinich (Democrat of Ohio--but not my Ohio). He asks where WMD and Osama are. What the connection between 9/11 and Iraq is. Those may be questions that should be discussed, although I think the debate on that has been answered. But what does it have to do with us staying in Iraq right now? Staying now has to do with Iraq falling into civil war and destabilizing the middle east, or becoming more democratic thanks to our support. Why doesn't he talk about that?

Now Ms. Candice Miller (Republican of Michigain). Yay, she's talking about what will happen if we leave. Says Zarqawi will spread violence. Iraq will fall into anarchy. And she says the fighting should happen there and not in our streets. And she says that if the President is so smart to dupe democrats, why didn't he plant WMD in Iraq? Good question, because that's what the conspiracy theories imply=)

Another Democrat. He didn't say much, but I was distracted so I didn't hear it.

Now another Republican, who said vote against the resolution. Not much else.

Now. Another Republican. (hmmm...I may have missed someone in here, a bunch of people just spoke very briefly). Mr. Rick Renzi (Republican of Arizona). He says that the media may have taken what Mr. Murtha said and spun it into immediate withdrawl. That may be true. He's taking a step back. That's responsible.

Now he's mentioning Clinton people like Burger and Albright that said that Clinton had WMD and would use it. Now he mentions that the investigations into manipulation found no evidence of manipulation. He says those are facts. He's right. The dems need to stop trying to rewrite history. Put politics aside. As an historian, I know that's wrong. I wish democrats would find a way to do politics that didn't involve such obvious lies. It just makes them look stupid or very cynical, and it's not persuasive to even those that are informed a little bit.

Now Mr. Rahm Emanuel (Democrat of Illinois). He says that lots of congresspeople have opinions. But he says that what most of them have in common is that Iraq policy is failing. Hmmm.. how is it failing, Mr. Emanuel? Historically low causualties and the complete and quick defeat of the Iraqi army in the invasion doesn't look like failure to me. Is it failure to Mr. Emanuel? He hasn't said yet.


Mr. Joe Wilson (Republican of South Carolina). Says that he has three sons in the military. Great. It'd be nice if he didn't have to prove he had a dog in this fight with his blood to not be attacked as a 'chickenhawk'. One can have good ideas without that direct risk. I think the ones that have been questioning patriotism cynically have been the democrats. They wave the medals on Murtha, but they don't recognize that when Republicans do it. It's silly.

Now Mr. Steve King (Republican of Iowa). He asks why there have been no objections to the Afghan operation. He's got a point that we've had success there with voting. He says so why can't we have that success in Iraq, even if it takes longer. He says our mission is to iradicate the habitat of terrorism (and tacitly islamo-fascism, since terrorism is merely a tactic used to get certain evil ends). Good point. That's what was discussed before the war. It'd be nice if we didn't have to have this fight again just because the Democrats see political opportunity in it.

UPDATE APPROX 8:40 Now a message from the Senate honoring Rosa Parks? Wha?

Anyway, now MS. Judy Biggert (Republican of Illinois). She explains that this resolution is about the chamber indicating its stance towards standing behind efforts to help stabilize Iraq. Exactly. That is what the resolution means. It may also show democrats to be hypocritical cynics, but that's just a welcome side effect.


Mr. Tom Tancredo (Republican of Colorado). He's running off successes, like all the soldiers, police, air force, media, hospitals, television stations, Iraqi candidates for office and televised debate. He says we are on the road to success. He says he wants our troops to be safe. He says it's sad when an American is killed in Iraq However, he says that he wants them home as soon as the mission is complete, and not a minute longer. Hasn't said when that is yet. He asks democrats not to let their hatred for the President to get in the way for their love of our country. If only democrats would listen to that good advise, they might win more elections.


Mr. Walter Jones (Republican of North Carolina). He says it's sad that Murtha has been attacked personally. If people are attacking him as a man, okay. But saying Murtha's ideas are stupid is perfectly fair, because THEY ARE STUPID.

He says that in the end point cannot be clearly explained, than there is no clear end-point. He says the administration should tell us what the strategy is.

Well, uh, Mr. Jones, the strategy is to win. It's to stabilize Iraq like we've been doing. That's been said a million times. He keeps spitting out the words 'exit strategy'. God, what a horrible term has been introduced into our debate. You leave when you win. You don't bend under distress. It's that simple. Otherwise our enemies will always hold out since they know we'll crumble. Wild Democratic applause. Yay. Not.

Now Mr. Phil Gingrey (Republican of Georgia who is running the GOP side of the debate and allocating time--so far I think repubs have more time left) is saying that the resolution is about fighting Islamo-fascism (he actually said that, yay;) and not attacking Murtha. He got boos. God, the democrats that booed are cynical idiots.

Now Mr. Rodney Frelinghuysen (Republican of New Jersey). Didn't say much.

Now Mr. Gene Green (Democrat of Texas). Says that Civilian leadership is the problem, not enouhg troops or supplies to win. But he says that Mr. Murtha should be able to give his opinion without resolutions against his opinion being passed. Uhh, why does he have that right? If his idea is stupid, it is the responsibility of good people to rebut it and show the world that we do have the fortitude and stomach to support our troops and our policy decisions.

Now Mr. Jim Gibbons (Republican of Nevada). Asks do we want to send a message of surrender or a message of support. Nice phrase. Says he wants our troops to read this message of support. I support that sentiment.

Now. Mr. Ron Lewis (Republican of Kentucky). Not much new to say.


Now Mr. George Miller (Democrat of California). He says that he disagrees with Murtha, but that character attacks against Murtha are wrong. I wish Democrats would point out these character attacks. I haven’t seen any yet. He went well beyond his time, and was applauded while he was being called out of order.

Now a repub that didn't say much. But when he went over with his time he was applauded.

Now Mr. Steny Hover (Democrat of Maryland and Minority Whip). Says congress' most solemn decision is when to go to war. Says he respects Mr. Murtha's words. Says that the proposal of Murtha directs us to a change in policy that we should make.

Attacks the GOP alternate proposal because it is not Murtha's proposal and thus is not serious. Says all of this is below the dignity of the House.

His points are off the substance of this debate. He's just bloviating about how the resolution is irresponsible. No substance here. And he's a leader of the Democrats. Nice.

The democrats have consistantly dodged the issue at the heart of all of this--should be stay in Iraq, despite the costs, or leave and lose? They're dodging the point. I guess it's true. They want to rip on the President, GOP, and Iraq, but they don't want to actually have a debate if the other side engages with them. That is the hight of cynicism--seaking only the political gain and avoiding the tough discussions and decisions.

Now Mr. Louie Gohmert (Republican of Texas). Mentions Pelosi's district and San Franciso's throwing recruiters out of Iraq. Booed. But it's true. I liked the line "Mommas don't let your babies grow up to defend their country". Heh.

UPDATE 9:09 Now Mr. Tom Osborne (Republican of Nebraska). Mentions unity after 9/11. Says we can do better and be united. Weak speaker, sounded frail.

Now Mr. Jack Kingston (Republican of Georgia). Mentions that Al Jazeera reported that a leading member of congress called for immediate withdrawl. I'm glad this was mentioned. It's true. Murtha's call was irresponsible, because it provides fodder for enemy media and propoganda.

UPDATE: 9:13

Mr. Jeff Fortenberry (Republican of Nebraska). Talks about soldiers that have been killed. Not much else, besides soldiers fought well and bravely...

Now Ms Nancy Pelosi (Democrat of New York and Minority Leader). Says Republicans were deceptive and decietful. Says that this resolution is a continuation of that deciet. Says American people deserve better than Murtha being attacked. No endgagement with substance yet. Again, she repeats the meme that medals make ones ideas good. Again, I say NO THEY DON'T. Medals don't make stupid ideas less stupid, and Murtha's call for withdrawl is stupid.

She says that some have called Murtha's idea akin with cooperating with the enemy. Well, if one considers providing fodder for enemy propoganda acting for the enemy, than in that way he did support the enemy.

Says Murtha has delievered 'a might blow of truth' against Bush's policy? Wha? How is calling for us to leave that? It's not a legitimate alternative.

Now the last speaker Mr. Phil Gingrey (Republica of Georgia who ran the GOPs side of the debate). Says that cheap talk is not bounded by geography or the media. Says that the words of reps are heard by our troops and our enemies. He says that while talk is cheap, the vote is not, so he calls for the vote.

A good way to end, although not wordered in the soundbites that the media will actually put out, instead of just supporting the the democrats like the usually do.

While they may like to claim that the enemy won't seize on what they say, the democrats that is, when they try to play against the war for their own domestic gains, these claims aren't true. The enemy, as was said, does hear and seize on what is said.

Hope you liked this liveblog. I need a break. I'll post more later tonight or tomorrow=)

UPDATE: The resolution changing the rules to allow a vote on the resolution calling for troop withdrawl passed, so debate is now beginning on the actual resolution, although the debate on the rule change was really also about the resolution.

Post-Debate UPDATE: First thanks to David Adesnik at Oxblog for the link. Hope those of you that followed it here will take a look around. Also, let me appologize to you the reader for the hasty thoughts that appear above. I'm not going to modify them, although I'll go over them tomorrow and change any obvious errors or opinions I wish to qualify now that I have time to consider what I wrote. I'll leave what I originally typed, messy and inarticulate though much of it may be. That's normally how thoughts are when they spill out and are recorded quickly. But examining what I thought as the debate actually took place has its own value. There is certainly time to write more well-thought opinions tomorrow.

Now, let me say I'm sorry for not getting the last part of the debate, when Murtha himself spoke, and the GOP rebutted. I didn't have access to the computer then, so all I can do is record a few thoughts I remember after watching the conclusion of the debate and the subsequent vote on the resolution.

The speakers in the second half were definately more articulate. While generally the same points were made in the second half by a few speakers that were made in the first half by the many, the extra polish and continuity of the remarks did help to lend a better air to what occured in this half. Even though much was repeated, I'll record a few thoughts here concerning what I remember.

Murtha, while wrong on the point he kept driving that the troops should quickly withdrawl from Iraq, was articulate and did not get overly excited for most of his remarks. After reading his own resolution into the record (not the one that was voted for tonight which was not his, but the one he announced yesterday), Murtha spent much of the remainder of his time reading letters from injured troops and their families that were critical of the war and which demanded quick troop withdrawl from Iraq.

That rhetorical tactic holds little weight with me. I want to hear debate on the substance of policy, and not the reading of sad letters attempting to make me feel guilty for making or supporting tough but necessary decisions and policies.

The GOP had articulate speakers, which I think did a reasonable job addressing more policy than the democrats did--probably an acceptable amount considering the time limitations imposed on debate in the House of Representatives. The GOP speakers addressed points concerning what the disasterous consequences of a premature pullout would be, what wobly messages from congress did in Vietnam and thus what they could do now, and why the war was and the continued efforts in Iraq are in the best interest of the United States.

From an objective viewpoint, despite my tendancy to side with the Republican party on many issues, I think the Republicans came off winning the debate over this resolution. They addressed substantive points about the topic, instead of whining about the unfairness of the resolution and the criticism of medal-winning Mr. Murtha and his resolution.

However, if one has a tendancy to view any loss of American life, no matter how necessary, as unacceptable, the democrats certainly won. I just hope the majority of the American people have enough wisdom and backbone to realize that freedom is neither free nor cheap--sacrifice and constant vigilance is required to ensure that our civilization of liberty is continued for many, many more years.

LAST UPDATE: Forgot to include that the resolution calling for the immediate withdrawl of US forces from Iraq failed miserably, with only 3 "Yea"s( all Democrats) and 6 "Present"s (all Democrats).

It'll be interesting to see what the next move is in this political chess game. I think right policy point is clear, but the ultimate outcome will rest less on the rightness or wrongness of a sides policies and more on their political acumen, talking-point delivery, and media manipulation. So, the scorecard right now is Republicans 1 because they've gone on the offensive against the weak-willed branch of the Democratic party, and Democrats 1 because they by default always have a handicap due to media bias.

I wonder if the Democrats voting against a resolution that a large segment of their fringe base supports will hurt them or not. For it not to, it seems to me that they'll have to go out and tell their base that they didn't mean what they voted for. And saying that will hurt them come time for the next general election when more reasonable people that are skeptical of blatant liars and hypocrits will vote.

Considering what the ultimate outcome of this will be leaves my head spinning with infinite loops of political strategy. I do not envy Karl Rove.

I suppose we'll know more next week about who'll win this match.

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