Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cowards, Quislings & Scrubs II

Alternate title: Give me the money with no strings or the soldier gets it.

About a week ago, Spot posted a link to a Keith Olberman "Special Comment" on YouTube about the passage of the Iraq Supplemental stripped of any deadlines, benchmarks, or any other even half-way enforceable measures to require the president to begin winding down the fiasco in Iraq. Olberman was, as you would suspect, boys and girls, distressed. And Spot concurs with his sentiments.

It occurs to Spot, however, that he should single out for mention—and appreciation—the two legislators in the entire Minnesota congressional delegation who voted against the final iteration of the bill: Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison. Jim Oberstar didn't vote, but Tim Walz, Colin Peterson, and Amy Klobuchar were Democrats who voted for the bill.

Walz said that he wanted to "support the troops." (Not that Spot is picking on Tim Walz; well, maybe he is because Walz has been so impressive to date.) But Glenn Greenwald (quoted) and Digby make it clear what hogwash that meme is. And the Democrats conceded the field.

There are all sorts of reasons which, though misguided, at least constitute coherent arguments against withdrawal. But the notion that de-funding constitutes a failure to support the troops -- in a way that, say, timetables do not -- is just inane, not even in the realm of basic rationality or coherence.

And yet exactly this nonsensical notion was permitted not only to take hold, but to become unchallengeable conventional wisdom in our public debate over the war. The whole debate we just had was centrally premised on an idea that is not merely unpersuasive, but factually false, just ridiculous on its face. That a blatant myth could be outcome-determinative in such an important debate is a depressingly commonplace indictment of our dysfunctional media and political institutions.

Digby calls the argument just one more in a long string of fatuous slogans used to support decision-making in our political life. And the thing is, Tim Walz is better positioned to make that argument than anybody else in the Minnesota congressional delegation. Based on what he has said and written before, he has to know what fatuous gas baggery it is. Where was Tim Walz the teacher to tell his constituents that he would force the president to begin winding down this awful, useless mess because that was the only way to really support the troops? The war can't be materially more popular in the 1st than anywhere else.

If, as MNPublius suggests, it was a matter of political calculation, it was a bad one. Tim Walz is a better congressman and teacher than that. Spot really hoped that Walz would use his military experience and his prominence in the freshman class to help bring this war to an end. Spot, for one, is very disappointed.

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