Sunday, February 18, 2007

And the Award for Folly Goes To ...

... House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who is quoted in Jonathan Weisman's inappropriately titled "House Rebukes Bush on Iraq" as follows:

Some liberals and conservatives dismissed the House resolution as merely a symbolic gesture and said that Democratic leaders should have resorted to binding legislation if they were serious about stopping the troop buildup. But House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said that Bush would have vetoed such a bill, with no possibility of an override. The nonbinding resolution is not dependent on the president's signature.

"What the president cannot veto is the opinion of the Congress of the United States, the judgment of the Congress of the United States, the counsel of the Congress of the United States," Hoyer added, pounding on a lectern after the vote. "Let us hope that the commander in chief hears this counsel."

For those of you wondering whether you took the same eighth-grade social studies class as Representative Hoyer, binding legislation that the President vetoes is a much more substantive event than a nonbinding resolution that doesn't make it to his desk.

A close runner-up in this weekend's contest is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is quoted as follows:
Democrats in the Senate face a similar political dynamic. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said yesterday that most Republicans will block a debate on the House-passed resolution until they are guaranteed a vote on a resolution opposing any effort to cut off funding for the war. He predicted that Democrats will muster nowhere near the 60 votes they would need today to move to a debate on the resolution opposing additional troop deployments.

Many Republicans will not bother to show up in the rare Saturday session. Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) will be campaigning for president in Iowa. A Democratic counterpart, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), will be campaigning in South Carolina.

Democratic aides said that will only mean another round of newspaper headlines proclaiming that Republicans are blocking a debate on the war.

"Let us be clear," Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said, "anyone voting 'no' tomorrow is voting to give the president a green light to escalate the war.

So voting "no" on a nonbinding resolution (or the decision to have a vote on a nonbinding resolution) gives the President a green light? For those of you trying to figure out the rules of the road, voting "yes" on a binding resolution to authorize the funding for the additional troops is the green light. What has been happening on Capitol Hill this week is analogous to the yellow "Slow Children" sign that you sometimes see on the side of the road.

6 comments:

alphie said...

I think the Democrats are trying to avoid a constitutional crisis, professor.

Serious business here, America could fall.

A little caution is in order.

Andrew Samwick said...

How does passing a nonbinding resolution disapproving of a tactic for fighting the war help avoid a constitutional crisis? How does it do so better than binding legislation?

micah said...

How does continuing to do something counter productive in Iraq Help? The American people gave the President a message in November. The message seems to need repeating. That seems to be what the Democratic Party is doing.

Andrew Samwick said...

But not repeated in the form of legislation--only a nonbinding resolution?

alphie said...

Professor,

Iraq is a lost cause and all we're debating is when we leave.

I see the resolution more as a warning not to attack Iran.

Say Bush attacks Iran without congressional approval...that act would certainly start the impeachment process.

But an attack on Iran could also split the country and possibly even the loyalty of our armed forces.

Could get very ugly.

Balfegor said...

Say Bush attacks Iran without congressional approval...that act would certainly start the impeachment process.

For what? I thought the war powers act gave him the power to conduct military operations abroad for 60 days without Congressional approval. That's what Clinton did when he invaded the Balkans, after all.

I don't think Bush intends to attack Iran (at least, not in open war), but even if he did, I'm not seeing the impeachable offense, unless he continued military operations without congressional approval after the 60 day deadline. And even then, I think the Constitutionality of the War Powers Act remains an open question, no?

On the other hand, if you just mean that in a political sense, the Democrats would start up impeachment in retaliation, that's probably an accurate prediction. The grounds would be something different, though.

But an attack on Iran could also split the country and possibly even the loyalty of our armed forces.

I have to say I think the country is rather more robust than that. And the troops rather more loyal.