Monday, March 19, 2007

Unity '08 Anyone?

Just a few short months ago, those of us who lean a bit more to the left were yelling about the Republican-controlled Congress for stuffing funding bills with pet projects and lots of other extras that had nothing to do with the original bill (anyone remember the 300 million dollar Bridge to Nowhere, which even the conservative Heritage Foundation called a "national embarrassment?"). We called it pork. We called it earmarks. We also called it "wrong."

And now we get to call the Democrats hypocrites for doing exactly the same thing.

In order to pass a funding bill that would end the war in Iraq in 2008, the Democrats have stuffed the bill with billions of dollars in domestic spending--otherwise know as "large carrots" or "bribes." Republicans and conservative Democrats who would have voted "No" on the funding bill are having to rethink the issue since this is money that, in some cases, is badly needed in their districts. This isn't "bridge to nowhere" kind of money either. It's about 21 billion dollars split among projects that include rebuilding the Gulf Coast; drought relief for some southern and western states; help for California's farmers hit by the E. coli outbreak; as well as various other agricultural disasters. All in need of funding, but maybe this isn't the way to go about it.

When you use tactics like this you cannot call the outcome a "bipartisan victory," or tout it as a bipartisan declaration that the war must end. Because it's pretty much a few people holding a gun to the collective head of the rest of the House and denying them the right to vote their conscience, or that of their constituents. (Forgive me while I play Pollyanna here.)

Bill Number One should be the war funding bill. You all know how I feel about that debacle (if not, you do now!), but this bill should be about the US military already in Iraq, when to get them out and how. Not to mention how to clean up the mess we're leaving behind. [Lest anyone think that I am a peace-at-all-costs kind of girl: I thought we were right to bomb the hell out of the Taliban--a little "thanks for your hospitality to BL and his cohorts." It was a bonus that these were the same people who executed anyone who dared to teach a girl or employ a woman. But I digress once again.] So that's Bill Number One: Funding for the War in Iraq.

Bills Number Two through However-Many-it-Takes should cover the domestic issues mentioned above. But let's stop playing this little game of "hide the pork" because, 1) it sounds disgusting, 2) it's BS. And it's just one more reason that Unity '08 is starting to look so appealing.

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