Friday, July 13, 2007

Chuck Hagel Calls for the "Nuclear Option" Against Senate Republicans?

by Kyle Michaelis
The Republican minority in the U.S. Senate has effectively blocked most meaningful challenges to President George W. Bush's disastrous and unpopular Iraq War policy (strategy would be too kind a word) by closing ranks for a procedural filibuster that has prevented a host of bills from coming to a final vote.

Of course, it wasn't long ago that these same Republicans were decrying Democrats as obstructionists for employing these same tactics. The big difference here is that Senate Republicans are acting in direct defiance of the American people who long ago realized and rejected the Iraq War as a blackhole of money and lives unlikely to see any return but in heartache and suffering.

So far, the Democratic majority has avoided forcing a real showdown with Bush and Senate Republicans. Some suggest Democrats are too ineffective and too scatttered to carry a shared message that would truly take the GOP to task. On the other hand, they might just be giving the GOP enough rope to hang itself with in 2008.

Either way, Nebraska's Republican Senator Chuck Hagel continues to break farther and farther away from his party on Iraq, to the point where a man who just months ago talked about the possibility of Bush's impeachment now seems willing to lay the blame on his entire party for the continued mis-steps in Iraq.

The Lincoln Journal-Star reports:
The Senate’s inability to force major changes in Iraq policy because of a 60-vote supermajority threshhold is weakening confidence in government, Sen. Chuck Hagel said Thursday.

“It’s a frustrating process,” he told his weekly telephone news conference from Washington. “It paralyzes us. The American people have lost confidence in our leadership.”

Hagel’s comments came the day after two of his Iraq amendments commanded majority support among the Senate’s 100 members, but fell to the 60-vote requirement to stave off a filibuster by invoking cloture to end debate....

[T]he 60-vote cloture procedure comes with “a standard of responsible behavior we’re not paying much attention to,” he suggested....

Hagel’s two amendments would have mandated more leave time at home for soldiers following deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan and limited the length of time they could be deployed. One amendment attracted 56 votes for cloture; the other received 52 votes.
In singling out the Senate's procedural rules, one has to wonder whether Hagel isn't suggesting that drastic measures be taken to overcome continued Republican roadblocks to accountability and a change of course in Iraq. In essence, one could foresee from Hagel's statements an argument for resurrecting the Nuclear Option long-threated by Republicans to secure confirmation of right-wing judges.

Still, Democrats would have little to gain from such threats with a Republican President in office with veto power. Furthermore, these kinds of hard-ball tactics just aren't the modern Democratic Party's style and - besides - there's a lot to be said for letting the Republicans continue in their insanity as long they desire. Each day draws a clearer and clearer distinction for the American people. The only problem is that each day also brings new casualties that were never necessary in the first place.

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Blogger JimEenright said...

While the majority of Americans according to polls, want some sort of pullout from Iraq, either sooner or later, the majority of Republicans that vote in primaries in Nebraska are opposed to Sen. Hagel's irresponsible, thoughtless, emotional surrender plans in Irag, which would lead to a huge bloodbath there, possibly an Iranian takeover of the country and probably a wider war which we couldn't avoid being involved in .Not to mention $4.00 gas.

Hagel can't win a primary in Nebraska. Of course, Jon Bruning or someone with similar views could see a credible challenge from an attractive Democrat in the general election.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comments like Jim need to be rejected in light of their source--the right wing sound machine and echo chamber which was Absolutely Wrong about its predictions of how easy this war for Iraqi occupation and oil would be to win. The same bozos who so confidently predicted that our soldiers would be welcomed there with open arms and that the war would be paid for with Iraq's own oil are now trying to predict dire consequences for American troops leaving??? Don't believe them a second time! They know nothing except whatever the Repub leaders tell them to believe. The sooner Nebraska's soldiers return home to their families, the sooner Iraq will be able to work out its own problems, possibly creating a government which works. We toppled Saddam Hussein, igniting this battle for control in which our own soldiers are now targets and casualties daily. Hagel is Absolutely Right to keep trying to explain why Republicans must support withdrawal. The only losers will not be the Iraqi people, it will be the big U.S. oil companies who keep feeding America these lies which Jim Enright spouted.


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