Saturday, February 17, 2007

Nebraska Unites in Rejecting Bush's Iraq Escalation

by Kyle Michaelis
Thank you to Sen. Ben Nelson (D) and to Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) for their votes this afternoon to allow the U.S. Senate and the American people to be heard in opposition to President Bush's plan for escalation of the war in Iraq.

Hagel was one of seven Senate Republicans who sided with the Democratic majority in support of advancing the non-binding resolution passed by the House of Representatives earlier in the week. Still, with only 56 votes, the measure was unable to overcome a filibuster by the Rubber-stamp Republicans - maintaining their 4-year blockade on honest Congressional debate of this continuing debacle Bush & Co. have created.

Only 33 Republicans (& one Joe Lieberman) actually had the audacity to tell the American people they couldn't be heard on this Resolution. But the abstentions by 9 Republicans on the most important issue of our day served the same cowardly purpose and will not be forgotten by the voting public.

It's nice to see that Hagel has come around and realized that the Republican leadership will do everything in their power to prevent this debate from happening. How unfortunate that just 2 weeks ago, in the vote on the Warner-Levin Resolution, Hagel sacrificed so much credibility in service to their bad faith agenda.

Chalk this one up as another in a long history of Hagel flip-flops on Iraq. Still, though it's taken four long years, this vote is probably worth celebrating as Hagel's first real vote outside of committee and before the full Senate challenging Bush's Iraq policy with something more than talk show rhetoric.

For once, Hagel backed-up his bark with just a little bit of bite. Guess we'll have to wait and see how he handles that tiny taste of principled defiance. Sadly, the Iraq War isn't going anywhere, and Hagel will have plenty more opportunities to prove his dedication to truly changing the course of this disastrous war.

Of course, our embarrassing House delegation - the Timid Trio of Jeff Fortenberry, Lee Terry, and Adrian Smith - all fell in-line on President Bush's escalation and will spend the next two years blaming the Democratic majority for every failure in Iraq for their emboldening "the enemy." But, I have faith that our Republican Congressmen's gamble on Nebraskans' gullibility won't be paying-off as they hope in 2008. By then, voters might even be ready to collect on their false promises and empty spin, finally holding these jokers accountable at the ballot box.

At the same time, these last several weeks, it has been a pleasure to see Sen. Ben Nelson demonstrate such courage, conviction, and consistency on the war in Iraq. With the same voice of common sense and steady leadership with which he has always served the people of Nebraska, Nelson is to be commended for his realizing - along with the people he represents - that the time has come to take a stand against Bush and the Republican Party's "stay the course" policies.

The New Nebraska Network has a representative in whom it can be proud in Sen. Ben Nelson. Today, we can even say that of both Nebraska Senators, as they stood up for the people's right to be heard in opposition to Bush's escalation. Nelson and Hagel may have been on the losing side of a procedural vote today, but the people of Nebraska and their loved ones fighting overseas clearly won an important victory.

Though it may take more time - and some new faces in the House - the tide is turning, the truth will be heard, and the people will have their day.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prediction: On Meet the Press tomorrow Hagel finds a way to be critical of the vote and will seemingly contradict his vote somehow.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good prediction, not as terribly as I expected, but critical.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The non-binding resolution is stupid. If the Democrats really think we aren't doing good over there, then have them yank the funding - that is the easiest way to get the troops home! I should know, I was over there for 15 months.

Democrats are all talk.

Blogger Kyle Michaelis said...

I actually thought Sen. Hagel performed quite admirably on "Meet the Press" this morning, at least on the issue of Iraq. And, though it hurts his standing in progressives' eyes, it was good to see him be completely upfront on his record as the Senate's #1 supporter of Bush's unpopular agenda.

Defending yourself from Dick Cheney by asserting that you've been Dick Cheney's biggest supporter probably isn't smart politics, but - who knows - maybe it will be enough for Republican primary voters to give Hagel a long, hard look as they hopefully wake to the reality of our Iraqi quagmire.

Blogger Kyle Michaelis said...

Anonymous #3-

The New Nebraska Network thanks you for your service, appreciates your opinion, but must respectfully disagree with your assessment of this Resolution. But, I hope you will keep an eye on the recent statements by Congressman Murtha and Sen. Reid that suggest the Democratic Congress is going to be attaching stipulations to their funding of the Iraq War.

It's unfair for you to accuse Democrats of being "all talk". They've only been in the majority for 6 weeks, and they've already forced more discussion on the reality of the Iraq War than we'd seen in the prior four years. The time for action will come, but please give them the opportunity to craft the new course - a true alternative to our current operations in Iraq - for which our nation so desperately pleads.


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