Foreign Policy

Feingold Goes for the Gold

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Feisty Sen. Feingold has gone wild! He

has scheduled a hearing next Tuesday in his Judiciary Committee subcommittee to explore whether Congress has the authority to cut off funding for the U.S. military campaign in Iraq. The move comes as Congress prepares to vote on a congressional resolution opposing President Bush's escalation of the war.

Feingold, a fierce war critic, will force Democrats to consider an option many consider politically suicidal: denying funds to the military and U.S. soldiers to force a quicker end to the war. Democratic leaders have privately called on members to restrain from cutting off funding and focus on congressional resolutions condemning the Bush policy. The resolutions are nonbinding and therefore symbolic.

Via the already essential Politico . Previous thoughts on the Democrats' power, and powerlessness, over the war issue from Dave Weigel and from me .

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  1. The libertarian in me loves a good budget cut. As a minarchist I have to wonder whether it would compromise the security of US borders if this Libertarian Democrat gets away with his government shrinking scheme here.

  2. Good for Feingold, calling the cheap-ass bluff of the Dem leaders with their “non-binding” (and responsibility-evading) resolutions.

  3. “…to explore whether Congress has the authority to cut off funding for the U.S. military campaign in Iraq….”

    Of course they have that authority. Does anybody seriously assert that they DON’T have that authority?

  4. Al, it’s also true that Bush can easily shift budget resources despite a cut-off in funding for Iraq.

  5. “Libertarian Democrat”?

    Is that like a tall midget?

  6. ed:

    No, it’s more like that “four-door coupe” that Mercedes put out a few years ago.

    Though it doesn’t quite have as much horsepower.

  7. A cut off in funding for the war is far more consistent with libertarianism than the alternative.

  8. Scary thought: The Dems think this will help them.

  9. I’m with Al. Why is this even a question?

  10. Why don’t they just quit dicking around and repeal the Authorization the Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution already?

  11. “Does anybody seriously assert that they DON’T have that authority?”

    We’ve got a President who’s been denying Congress’s authority to do all sorts of things that it is clearly authorized to do. Like pass a bill defining the executive’s right to listen to our phone calls and read our mail.

    It’s probably a good idea to flush the crackpot theories of the “elected king” types out in to the open now, rather than at the signing statement.

  12. “Scary thought: The Dems think this will help them.”

    It’s so cute the way the remaining war supporters think they’re still a majority.

  13. Personally, I’m all for the non-binding resolution. People want the war to end, but don’t want to cut off funding. Let’s put everyone, especially those up for reelection or the Presidency on the record to determine whether they support a policy that’s doomed to failure, knowing now what we know now. I suspect more than the ten or so Republican Senators are going to vote against the surge, and then we watch the Hewitt led boycott continue to implode the party. Republicans need to start from scratch. It’s better for the long-term health of the country.

  14. “”Does anybody seriously assert that they DON’T have that authority?” – Al

    “They can’t stop us.” – Dick Cheney

  15. joe:

    A move to actually cut funding has nothing to do with whether one supports the war or not. It won’t play well with a great majority of people.

  16. Personally, I’m all for the non-binding resolution. People want the war to end, but don’t want to cut off funding er, make that People want the war to end, but don’t want to do anything about it that they could be blamed for later.

  17. Jason Ligon,

    “A move to actually cut funding has nothing to do with whether one supports the war or not.”

    Since it is becoming clear that it would be the only action Congress can take to implement the will of the huge anti-war majority, I’d say the connection is pretty damn strong, and getting stronger.

    I don’t think there are as many “anti-war but anti-cutoff” people as Joe Lieberman claims. I also think that their numbers are getting smaller ever day.

  18. first cut funding

    then go after the Bush league for conspiracy to defraud the USA into a boondoggle of an imperial occupation (packaged, madison ave. style, as a “war”)

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20051114/delavega/4

  19. the huge anti-war majority

    at this point is probably made up of about equal parts anti-going-into-Iraq-ever-for-any-reason-bring-the-boys-home-now-damn-the-consequences and anti-fighting-wars-half-assed.

    Bush has managed to find that sweet spot where the “no-blood-for-oil” crowd hold him in contempt for ever going into Iraq, and the “fight-to-win” crowd holds him in contempt for being such a pansy once the Saddamites fell.

  20. Russ Feingold as a libertarian Democrat?

    Haha! Good one after all what are private property rights and free speech-fundamentalist superstitious Bible-thumper FASCIST issues.

    Go Feingold Go!

  21. “at this point is probably made up of about equal parts anti-going-into-Iraq-ever-for-any-reason-bring-the-boys-home-now-damn-the-consequences and anti-fighting-wars-half-assed.”

    “Was going into Iraq a good idea/the right thing” type questions are getting about 60% “no” in most polls, so your ratios are off.

    And I love the way the “half-assed” complaint just happened to surfacE at the same time majority support for the war disappeared. Before that, all we had to do was “stay the course,” and the light at the end of the tunnel against the last legs was just around the corner.

    The “anti-half-assed” criticism is the equivalent of “that wasn’t Real Communism. Real Communism would have worked.” – which also became popular only after the abject failure of the project in question was apparent to everyone.

    In other words, even the “anti-half-assed” crowd realizes that the pooch is thoroughly screwed.

  22. SIV, I see you’re branching out.

  23. Russ Feingold supports Federal anti-cockfighting legislation. He might be running for POTUS.

    Legal cockfighting is a property rights issue.
    I reject any notion of a liberal-libertarian alliance as liberals(icluding the majority of elected Democrats) are hostile to if not dismissive of private property rights.

  24. Why don’t they just quit dicking around and repeal the Authorization the Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution already?

    CNN: Democrats may revise 2002 bill allowing Bush to call war:
    http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/01/26/iraq.hoyer/index.html

    Because they are supposedly against the war, Democrats are going to float a new revised bill authorizing the use of force in Iraq.. just under their terms.

  25. I just don’t get it. Considering how important the Iraq war to the pro-war fringe, it’s amazing how they continue to support a President who has done such a half-assed job as CIC. He talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk.

  26. “””Of course they have that authority. Does anybody seriously assert that they DON’T have that authority?”””

    What, he’s not sure if they have the authority? That par for a Senator.

    “”””Scary thought: The Dems think this will help them.””””

    They don’t. What are you from the Ann Coulter school of mis-represnting the Democrats so you can pretend they are stupid, and then bitch about it?
    OK, you didn’t commit the second part.

    “””And I love the way the “half-assed” complaint just happened to surfacE at the same time majority support for the war disappeared. Before that, all we had to do was “stay the course,” and the light at the end of the tunnel against the last legs was just around the corner.”””

    We are taught to support winners not losers. So it’s naturally, when the fight is looking good, people will support it, and abandon it when it looks like a loser.

  27. Two years ago withdrawal was unthinkable; now something like sixty percent of the country backs it. I don’t expect a majority of the country to get behind a funding cut now, but it’s important for people like Feingold to start pushing it as an option, because I don’t think anything less has a chance of stopping this war, and because it’s going to take time for more politicians – and more Americans – to support it.

  28. Chris Peterson,

    “Because they are supposedly against the war, Democrats are going to float a new revised bill authorizing the use of force in Iraq.. just under their terms.

    Democrats, including such Iraq doves as myself, have never been opposed to defending the Kurds’s democracy and territory (as we did under Clinton), nor to going after stateless al Qaedist terrorists (as we now have to do in Iraq, thanks to Bush).

    A new AUMF that authorizes those missions, while taking our troops out of the middle of the civil war (ie, the Murtha Plan) would be a repudiation of this war, and a return to the pre-Bush policy of fighting terrorists and supporting democratic allies.

  29. Feingold, by the way, is officially out of the race for POTUS.

    A shame, since he has more courage in his finger than about 90 other Senators have in their whole bodies.

  30. What? The courage to gut the First Amendment?

    Good riddance to that POS . Wish he would take McCain with him out of the race.

  31. Go Feingold! He’s no libertarian but he’s right on this one.

    Democratic leaders have privately called on members to restrain from cutting off funding and focus on congressional resolutions condemning the Bush policy.

    In other words, the Democratic leaders are urging that nothing be done which will actually bring an end to this needless war.

    This does not inspire confidence that they will assert their congressional authority and stop the administration’s coming attack on Iran.

    “Bush Is About to Attack Iran
    Why Can’t Americans See it?”

    http://www.antiwar.com/roberts/?articleid=10411

    “Homage to Herzliya
    The Lobby wants war with Iran”

    http://antiwar.com/justin/

  32. A new AUMF that authorizes those missions

    It should also limit the permissible level of collateral damage.

    They tried delegating that issue to the executive last time around. Bad outcomes.

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