What do you do if you don't have the nerve to tell a fellow lawmaker with an office next door that his cigar smoke bothers you? You call the Capitol Police and tell them to let your neighbor know of your displeasure. Rep. Keith Ellison, that first peaceful, love your neighbor first Muslim in Congress, seems to be lacking on simple office courtesy. Instead of first, finding out the rules, which do indeed allow a member of the House to smoke a stogy in his/her own office, and then send over an aide if you are chicken, to voice complaint, no, he saw fit to just call the police. They then told Rep. Tom Tancredo, the neighboring officeholder, a complaint was lodged and they were sent to check it out. Then the police told Ellison's office workers that, in fact, Tancredo was not breaking any rules.
Love your neighbor indeed. By the way, the two have never met. And Tancredo uses an air purifying system in his office with three running units.
What do you do, as a member of a State Senate, if you, as an elected lawmaker, don't have the courage of your convictions when it comes time to vote on the Senate floor? You vote 'present' instead of yes or no. It is the coward's way out. Then you write a book about your personal lofty ideas for the country, because you are just a good guy leading the way for all us fellow citizens, and state in said book that sometimes hard choices have to be made and lawmakers have to cast difficult votes.
Senator Obama, running for President of the U.S. now, was such a politician. Oops. These recorded votes made in Illinois' Senate were not the 'who cares?' type of votes. These votes require thought, research and personal conviction. Some examples were: partial birth abortion, carrying a concealed weapon charge lowered from a felony to a misdemeanor, privacy of sex abuse victims with sealed records, two parental notification abortion bills, prohibiting strip clubs 1,000 feet from schools, churches and day care facilities. His votes of 'present' counted as no votes under the rules of the Illinois Senate.
If you feel the need to lecture the country on how we should all be feeling and doing good for the country, it seems to me you should walk the walk yourself. If you are an elected legislator, do you not have a responsibility to represent your constituency and vote your conscience? If there is a technical problem with the way the bill is written or if it contains what is known as a poison pill, then you owe it to your voters to explain your failure to lead with your voting record.
Is there a conflict of interest if you are a recognized elected leader in your state who also has an advertising agency, and a candidate running for President gives your company a big contract for said candidate's campaign, which requires you to support publicly this candidate over the others in your party running for President? Seems Rep. Darrell Johnson of South Carolina, courted by all Dems running for President and a supporter of the Edwards campaign last time around, is such a legislator. The Clinton campaign bought his support. Johnson, a popular black Representative and a go-to guy in South Carolina politics for the minority community, is publicly supporting Clinton.
Do you view the fact that rather than stay in Baghdad and rally your supporters to fight the U.S. and coalition forces, you flee to Iran because you fear the new military surge policy as a victory for the coalition? Muqtada al-Sadr has fled as the beginning of the new strategy, the last chance for the Iraqis, is beginning. He is believed to be in Tehran with family. He is viewed as the main threat to the struggling unity of Iraqis and a high value target for the military operations in Baghdad. al-Sadr is a radical Shiite cleric and loud anti-America critic. As Saddam was ousted from power, al-Sadr hoisted himself on the Iraqis by harnessing the support of young, poor males opposing the U.S. military action and longing for Shiite control of the country.
al-Sadr is a young thug, in his mid-30's and possessing a talent for street politics. He and his young supporters are capable of rounding up thousands of marching protesters when the situation calls for a good street protest. He is suspected in killing a cleric and is a strong supporter of al-Maliki.
Rather than let the beginnings of hints of progress flourish in Baghdad, the U.S. House of Representatives continues to stoke the divides of U.S. politics in response to the surge. Pelosi and Murtha are implementing a tactic known as the slow bleed. Instead of having the courage to bring a vote to cut funding the war in Iraq, as they hold as the endgame of their political course, they are bringing votes on non-binding resolutions as a pre-cursor of the binding resolutions to come. They intend to bring forth benchmarks impossible for the military, our military, to meet in order to refuse to fund the troops to participate in the surge. It is a back door way of leading as the majority in the House. They are partnering up with anti war groups, flush with funding, to produce commercials coming to a tv near you, in order to pressure supporters of the military action. The intent of the ads is to force those in the House and Senate unwilling to vote to cut off funding because they feel it does not show support of the military, rightly so, and vote to leave the military hanging in the wind.
They vote to send the troops into harms way, with Presidential authorization, then when times are tough and the battle is not yet won, they publicly criticize thru their willing cohorts in the American press which is broadcast throughout the world. They try to micromanage the war. When all else fails, cut the funding and force the military home. There's your 'we support the troops' in action.
There is a member of the Texas delegation in the House, Representative Johnson, who is a former POW of the Vietnam war. He encourages the House members to vote against the resolution being speechified, not debated, on the floor this week. "Words can't fully describe the unspeakable damage of the anti-American efforts against the war back home to the guys on the ground," he said. He is a former F-4 Phantom combat pilot, now 76 years of age. "When they pulled the funds for Vietnam, we were still POWs. We thought we were going to be there forever."
Murtha, a former Marine held up as a veteran against this continuing war in Iraq, is using the low polling numbers of this president and the American public's growing weariness with the daily news from Baghdad to push his agenda. It's his right. It is also the right of the opposing views to be here in the People's House. Johnson is praised by both parties as a hero and patriot. His bill, however, competing with the purposed resolution is not being allowed on the floor of the House. These kinds of tactics, when used by the former Republican majority, were loudly criticized by Pelosi and Murtha and all of the others. When she took over control of the House, Pelosi said such tactics would not be used anymore.
The resolution works to demoralize the troops on the ground. To think otherwise is utter folly.
Things to ponder.
In the present.