“I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or if they try, they will shortly be out of office.”
― Milton Friedman

“Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Sunday, February 18, 2007


The following letter appeared in this morning's Lansing State Journal. Reading the first sentence, most people might expect that the author was preparing to excoriate Majority Leader Harry Reid for refusing to entertain more than a single recreational resolution regarding troop reinforcements in Iraq. Not exactly.

Take stand on Iraq

Senators who tuck tail and run from the most important debate in this country aren't fit to be a [sic] U.S. senator.

Well, that's exactly what Republicans are doing right now. The tricks that they are pulling in the Senate to avoid a real debate on Iraq are pure political cowardice.

Republicans are using a bunch of procedural nonsense and bogus amendments to prevent an up or down vote to see where each senator stands on George Bush's plan to escalate the war in Iraq.

These Republicans just don't get it. The people made it real clear in November that they have had it with King George's war. But Republicans apparently still haven't gotten the message.

These are not your father's Republicans. Stop supporting them just because your family always has and start paying attention.

Let's tell them today to quit the political tricks and allow a real debate on Iraq.

Gary Mathias

In fact, all but 7 Republicans were joined by Joe Leiberman, who is "your father's Democrat" - the only one - in voting not to cut off debate. It was the Democrats who wanted debate to end, so they could display the courage of their resoutions to be non-binding. The "political trick" in play is same one the Democrats used over and over to prevent up or down votes on judicial nominations. They became the first to use a filibuster for this purpose in the history of the United States. Up until the Democrats used it in this fashion, it was a standard Senate procedure. It would be interesting to hear Mr. Mathias' opinion on that.

Here is the only resolution the Democrats will allow to be "debated:"

1st Session
S. 574

To express the sense of Congress on Iraq.


February 13, 2007

Mr. Reid introduced the following bill; which was read the first time

February 14, 2007

Read the second time and placed on the calendar



To express the sense of Congress on Iraq.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,


It is the sense of Congress that--
(1) Congress and the American people will continue to
support and protect the members of the United States Armed
Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably
in Iraq; and
(2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President
George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more
than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.


The United States Policy in Iraq Act (section 1227 of Public Law
109-163; 119 Stat. 3465; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) is amended by adding at
the end the following new subsection:
``(d) Frequency of Reports on Certain Aspects of United States
Policy and Military Operations in Iraq.--Not later than 30 days after
the date of the enactment of this subsection, and every 30 days
thereafter until all United States combat brigades have redeployed from
Iraq, the President shall submit to Congress a report on the matters
set forth in paragraphs (1)(A), (1)(B), and (2) of subsection (c). To
the maximum extent practicable each report shall be unclassified, with
a classified annex if necessary.''.

Again, the vote to cut off debate was proposed by the Democrats, not the Republicans. The Republicans wanted to debate, and vote on, other resolutions on the topic. Harry Reid blocked any resolution except the Democrats', and refused to consider any amendments to it.

Here's an example, proposed by New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, of a resolution Harry Reid refused to consider:

"It is the sense of Congress that Congress should not take any action that will endanger United States military forces in the field, including the elimination or reduction of funds for troops in the field, as such action with respect to funding would undermine their safety or harm their effectiveness in pursing their assigned missions."

You might think, with Rep. John Murtha planning stealth funding cuts over in the House, that the more deliberative and wise Senate Democrats would welcome an opportunity to reject any strategy designed to subvert reinforcement of our troops, in general, while they are in harm's way. Mark Steyn notes this from the Washington Post:

"The Murtha plan, based on existing military guidelines, includes a stipulation that Army troops who have already served in Iraq must be granted two years at home before an additional deployment. . . . The idea is to slowly choke off the war by stopping the deployment of troops from units that have been badly degraded by four years of combat."

[Steyn]...as the endearingly honest anti-war group MoveCongress.org put it, in an e-mail preview of an exclusive interview with the wise old Murtha:

"Chairman Murtha will describe his strategy for not only limiting the deployment of troops to Iraq but undermining other aspects of the president's foreign and national security policy."

"Undermining"? Why not? To the Slow-Bleed Democrats, it's the Republicans' war. To an increasing number of what my radio pal Hugh Hewitt calls the White-Flag Republicans, it's Bush's war. To everyone else on the planet, it's America's war. And it will be America's defeat.

In another attempt at provoking a full debate, Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., proposed a resolution backing Bush's plan to deploy 21,500 additional troops to Iraq. That resolution would also set firm benchmarks for the Iraqi government to achieve after the deployment.

Harry Reid also refused to allow this resolution to be introduced. If a debate were desirable, as contrasted with pure political opportunism, both resolutions should be presented for up or down votes.

Just what is the meaning of the term "debate" to Democrats and Mr. Mathias?

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