'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Goodbye, Dennis the Menace (Part 2) 

The born again Dennis Kucinich, team player par excellence:

A few hours after Rep. Dennis Kucinich switched his support to become a critical vote for the health care bill, he took to the House floor to ask wavering colleagues to join him. Astonished colleagues pointed to Kucinich (D-OH) darting from member to member on the House floor yesterday, saying privately they'd never seen him get so involved in whipping a vote.

It's not just progressives he's targeting to keep in the fold, it's everyone, a top Democratic aide told me. Members know that Kucinich - a staunch antiwar liberal long in favor of a single-payer system and often going out on a limb with his own agenda - is setting aside deep ideology to help get something passed. It's a totally new dynamic. People are realizing he's doing it for history, the aide said.

People with long memories know that this movie is a remake of a March 2007 release:

The supplemental funding bill has cleared the House with exactly the number of votes required for passage:

The House of Representatives voted today, by the narrowest possible margin and after an unusually emotional debate, to set a timetable for bringing American troops home from Iraq.

The bill received 218 votes in favor, the minimum needed for passage in the 435-seat chamber. There were 212 votes opposed. The Democratic leadership held the voting open for two additional minutes past the originally scheduled 15 to lock up the majority. Vote-counters had predicted beforehand that the outcome would be very close.

Who made this victory for the proponents of perpetual war in the Middle East possible? It's shocking, and should never be forgotten:

With Democrats holding 233 seats and Republicans with 201, Democrats were able to afford only 15 "no" votes. Accordingly, Pelosi, and her leadership team spent days trying to convince members that the bill was Congress' best chance of forcing Bush to change course—an argument that was aided when they added more than $20 billion in domestic spending in an effort to lure votes.

They got a breakthrough Thursday when four of the bill's most consistent critics said they would not stand in its way. California Democrats Lynn Woolsey, Diane Watson, Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters said they would help round up support for the bill despite their intention to personally vote against it because it would not end the war immediately. "Despite my steadfast opposition, I have told the speaker that I will work with her to obtain the needed votes to pass the supplemental, but that in the end I must vote my conscience," said Rep. Diane Watson, D- Calif.

Woolsey, Watson, Lee and Waters, the Gang of Four that rescued funding for the President's wars in the Middle East, while keeping their own voting records scrupulously clean.

Careful readers have no doubt identified the one significant change in the narrative for the current sequel. In 2007, Woolsey, Watson, Lee and Waters were permitted to personally vote against supplemental war funding as long as they could round up enough support from others to get it passed. One suspects that one or more of them would have voted for it as required to get it passed if necessary. Here, there is no such margin, every last vote must be turned to assure victory, and, as emphasized yesterday, the President's socioeconomic vision generates so much public hostility that liberals must be compelled to support it to the greatest extent possible.

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