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Democrats in Congress: The Wheels Are Coming Off

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The wheels are coming off the Democratic machine, with angry voters starting to lose patience with the Party’s chronic inability to act decisively on any of the key issues of public concern.

In a Reuters dispatch on June 18, Democratic leaders in Congress concede that voters are angry with them for not doing enough to end the Iraq War. They might have added that voters are also angry at them for not impeaching the president or even for moving on Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s bill to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney (H Res. 333).

“I understand their disappointment. We raised the bar too high,” bleats Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

No Harry. You didn’t raise the bar too high. You ducked under the bar, when it came time to act to defund the war.

Last month, instead of cutting off funding for Bush’s war in Iraq, Congress passed a measure providing him with over $100 billion to fund it, attaching no strings to the measure—not even any deadlines for starting to withdraw troops. This after running a 2006 campaign on ending the war.

No wonder Democrats and the independents and, yes, even Republicans who voted Democrats into control of Congress last November are furious.

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“We can only do so much,” whines House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

No, Nancy. The problem is that you have done so little. Next to nothing really. Of the vaunted list of progressive measures you came into office as Speaker promising to push, only one—the minimum wage bill—passed, and you managed that only by making it “blood money”—that is, by tying it to the Iraq War funding bill so that the president wouldn’t veto it. That was a sick deal—making the same poor Americans who disproportionately carry the burden of fighting an insane, criminal and brutal war in Iraq also earn their raise by funding that war with their hard-earned tax dollars. And besides, it’s a pathetic measure anyway, offering workers only a minor raise for the first year, and ultimately, after a year and a half, bringing them to a wage--$7.25 per hour—that most workers in the country already receive, or will be receiving by July, thanks to state laws.

Thanks a lot!

Meanwhile, Speaker Pelosi, who cannot stand up to a criminal president, has continued to stand in the way of any effort by her own party colleagues to call the administration to account for the crimes it has committed against the nation and the Constitution. Sure, Congress is holding hearings, but the president and vice president are, quite predictably, stonewalling those hearings, refusing to allow key aides to testify, refusing to provide documents, and threatening to refuse subpoenas.

What Americans want is impeachment hearings on both men.

Let’s at least start with Kucinich’s Cheney impeachment bill. It has seven co-sponsors. That should be plenty to indicate that it’s a serious measure. So let’s push it forward and start hearings on it.

Meanwhile, if Pelosi wants Americans to start thinking better of her party, she should lift the shackles from her minions and let Democratic House members freely file bills of impeachment against President Bush. She should let John Conyers (D-MI), the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, start holding hearings on impeachment.

Too divisive?

Listen, Nancy and Harry, we Americans want a little divisiveness. Americans thrive on political conflict.

Besides, we’re sick of this war, and of the men who tricked us into it. We’re sick of seeing our cherished rights trashed. We’re sick of being told that we in this country are a bunch of whimpering wusses ready to surrender our rights in the fear that some third world bomb-thrower might attack the local Wendy’s.

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Dave Lindorff is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper www.thiscantbehappening.net. He is a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the (more...)

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widespread resistance to the US political system:M... by Richard Mynick on Monday, Jun 18, 2007 at 3:16:41 PM
How satisfying to see that there are others still ... by Joel S. Hirschhorn on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 7:57:31 AM
What's needed now is a major effort to recruit... by Mark A. Goldman on Monday, Jun 18, 2007 at 6:14:55 PM
As long as only millionaires can afford to run for... by Mr M on Monday, Jun 18, 2007 at 8:33:11 PM
The disconnect between Democrats and their constit... by Jimmy Montague on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 7:08:07 AM
Let's not forget that most of these Democrats vote... by RCG on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 12:09:36 PM
Yadda yadda yaddaWhat was the House vote on t... by Robert Chapman on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 2:09:44 PM
apologists.You claim that in the recent war fundin... by Richard Mynick on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 4:36:39 PM
If not, please think twice before you come through... by Christie on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 4:53:28 PM
if what you mean by that is a group acting to sabo... by Richard Mynick on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 7:29:57 PM
Why is politics treated like a game in America, wh... by Inaru on Tuesday, Jun 19, 2007 at 7:18:23 PM
It's too bad that if I cursed you out like I w... by RCG on Wednesday, Jun 20, 2007 at 12:38:12 AM