I just got out of a House of Representatives press conference led by Republican Rep. Walter Jones, featuring Democratic and Republican co-sponsors of his binding resolution to demand congressional approval before any military action in Iran. The money bit:
Absent a national emergency created by attack by Iran, or a demonstrably imminent attack by Iran, upon the United States, its territories, possessions or its armed forces, the president shall consult with Congress, and receive specific authorization pursuant to law from Congress, prior to initiating any use of force on Iran.
Confession: I didn't come out of the presser with the sense this was going to be rushed to the floor. For one, Ron Paul is supporting it, and I'm way too used to Paul supporting good ideas that don't work. He sounded almost as heartsick about Jones at the possibility of war. "What we're doing here is constitutionally redundant, but very necessary," he said. "Let's consider the possibility of a Gulf of Tonkin incident." And he pointed to the free-flowing "rumors" always trickling out from the Middle East about Iran's meddling in an attack on Americans or its readiness for war.
Another reason I'm pessimistic: the men behind the Jones Resolution talk much more diplomatically about Iran than the leaders of either party. Hawaii Democrat Neil Abercrombie thundered against the Bush administration for refusing to dialogue with Iran and Syria, and said the government of Iraq would be perfectly justified in talking with them: "They have issues with their neighbors just as we have issues with Canada over the lumber trade." A great message, but if the Jones Resolution breaks through the lobbyists' spiderweb and moves ahead, they'll probably hone it.
On the way out, after getting buttonholed by a LaRouchie, Abercrombie got asked if he'd heard Tony Snow's dismissals of congressional resolutions on the war.
"I haven't talked to the ASPCA today," Abercrombie said. "I don't know what's going on with the lapdogs."