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John Murtha is right: The American public has turned against the war.
Democrats and Republicans must put aside politics and work together to
bring the troops home quickly and focus on the real work to stabilize
Iraq.

The Senate will soon consider the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act (FAIR) that is anything but for the workers whose health has been impaired by asbestos. It's a move by major corporations to significantly reduce their liability.

Chastened by voter response to their earlier errors, many legislators push reform.

With their handling of the heart-wrenching Terri Schiavo case, George W. Bush and his Republican allies in tragedy exploitation were awash in the currency of Washington: hypocrisy.

         I.
In order never to convey
A tolerance for going astray,
Republicans, who now hold sway,

There has been much comment about the take-no-prisoners approach of the Congressional Republican leadership in cramming through the Medicare prescription-drug benefit this past November 22.

When Attorney General John Ashcroft felt obliged to go out campaigning
in August in defense of the USA Patriot Act, his problem wasn't just
what people were saying about the act.

Democrat Paul Wellstone, the only vulnerable incumbent senator to vote
against blank-check authorization to use force against Iraq, is locked
in one of the year's closest Senate contests.

In January, when George W. Bush's pollster warned that "Enron is a much
bigger story than anyone in Washington realizes," White House political
director Karl Rove informed the Republican National Committee that this
fall's election would have to be about national security rather than the
economy. Rove wasn't practicing political rocket science; he was merely
echoing the common-sense calculations of veteran Republican strategists
like Jack Pitney, who says, "If voters go to the polls with corporate
scandals at the top of their list, they're probably going to vote
Democratic. If they go [thinking about] the war on terrorism and taxes,"
Republicans have the advantage. Now, with the election that will set the
course for the second half of Bush's term less than two months away,
Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, National Security
Adviser Rice and every other Republican with a talking-head permit is
busy making the improbable case for war with Iraq.

Rove's sly strategy appears to be working. On September 4, the day
Congress returned from its summer break, the Dow Jones average plunged
355 points. Yet the next morning's headlines talked about how Bush would
"put the case for action in Iraq to key lawmakers." Whether Bush
actually believes that the war he's promoting is necessary--or even
marketable--there's no question that Republican prospects are aided by
the fact that he's talking about Saddam Hussein rather than Enron,
WorldCom, Harken, Halliburton, deficits, layoffs and 401(k)atastrophes.
There is, however, some question as to why Democrats are allowing Rove's
scenario to play out so smoothly. Along with those questions comes the
fear that unless the supposed party of opposition finds its voice soon,
Democrats could squander opportunities not only to stop a senseless and
unnecessary war but also to hold the Senate and wrest control of the
House from the right in November.

So far, however, most of the coherent Congressional challenges to the
Bush strategy have been initiated by Republicans worried about the
threat a war would pose to the domestic economy (House majority leader
Dick Armey) or who actually listen to the State Department (Jim Leach, a
key player on the House International Relations Committee). While Bush
and Rove have had trouble keeping their GOP comrades in line, they've
had more luck with Democrats. Only a handful of Democrats, like
Progressive Caucus chair Dennis Kucinich, have echoed Armey's blunt
criticisms of the rush to war. A few more have chimed in with practical
arguments against the Administration line, a view perhaps best expressed
by Martin Sabo of Minnesota, who says that "to move into a country and
say we're going to topple the government and take over the
government--and I think inherent in that is also 'run it'--is not
something we have ever proved very capable of doing."

But House Democratic opposition has been muddled by the fact that
minority leader Dick Gephardt has positioned himself as an enthusiastic
backer of "regime change" in Iraq. One senior member of his caucus says,
"You can pin most of the blame on Gephardt. If he hadn't been so
enthusiastic about going to war when the Bush people brought this up in
the first place, I think they would have backed off." Acknowledging that
Gephardt's position could make it difficult to hold off a House vote in
October, Kucinich says, "I think it could all come down to how Daschle
handles the issue."

Senate majority leader Tom Daschle is not doing Bush as many favors as
Gephardt--Daschle at least says Congress needs more information. But the
Senate's leader has yet to echo likely 2004 Democratic presidential
candidate Senator John Kerry's suggestion that a policy of containment
would be sufficient to manage any threat posed by Iraq, let alone to
express the steady skepticism of Senate Armed Services Committee chair
Carl Levin, who left a meeting at which Rumsfeld tried to make the case
for war and said, "I don't think [the Administration] added anything."

Daschle's caution is rooted in his concern that a misstep on issues of
war and patriotism could jeopardize his continued leadership of the
Senate. It's a legitimate worry; his one-seat majority could well be
endangered if flag-waving appeals take hold--as they have before--in
Senate battleground states like Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Georgia,
North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Daschle's own South Dakota.
But Daschle's caution is not making things easier for Democrats in those
states. It has simply left him playing Karl Rove's game when he should
be saying what most Americans know: that in the absence of any credible
evidence of an immediate and quantifiable threat from Iraq, Congress
should not get bogged down in this issue. Moving aggressively to shift
the focus from Iraq to corporate wrongdoing and economic instability
would be smart politics for Daschle and the Democrats. More important,
calling the President's bluff on Iraq would slow the rush toward a
senseless war while freeing Congress to debate genuine threats to
America.

Blogs

Nobody saw this vote coming—but progressive activism delivered a shocking result Friday in Congress.

June 12, 2015

Senators John McCain and Dianne Feinstein have introduced a measure to prevent the CIA from evading the bans on torture that are already law. 

June 10, 2015

An idea that didn't formall exist six weeks ago is picking up a lot of steam.

May 27, 2015

Senate cloture vote limits debate, restricts amendments and erects another barrier to honest discourse about trade policy.

May 21, 2015

Too many derailments, too many bridge collapses. The neglect has got to stop.

May 13, 2015

Why does the White House keep telling reporters the public is lining up behind the trade push?

May 13, 2015

The White House has been going hard against Elizabeth Warren for making this claim—but she’s right.

May 12, 2015

Doug Hughes is not a dangerous fruitcake. In fact, he is a small-d democratic idealist who went out of his way to alert the authorities in advance of his so-called “Freedom Flight.”

April 17, 2015

The Congressional Progressive Caucus’s alternative budget was the best proposal. But only ninety-six Democrats backed it.

March 26, 2015