Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Gordon Smith Files

Two Iraq votes to add to Smith's record.

First, a vote against cutting off funding for Iraq operations after 3/31/2008.

Impact: If passed it would have been a big step towards actually ending the occupation. No one expected that though. Too many conservative Democrats, and too little trust in Bush to manage the withdrawal or aftermath. So the vote was in essence a platform for Democratic presidential candidates to go on record opposing the war.

Guts: Zero. Smith played the dead fish*.

Second, an alternative funding measure intended to tie Iraq reconstruction funds to benchmarks. Only John Warner amended it so that Bush could arbitrarily ignore it:


(a) LIMITATION.--No funds appropriated or otherwise made available for the ``Economic Support Fund'' and available for Iraq may be obligated or expended unless and until the President of the United States certifies in the report outlined in subsection (2)(b)(1) above and makes a further certification in the report outlined in subsection (2)(b)(4) above that Iraq is making progress on each of the benchmarks set forth in Section 2 above.

(b) WAIVER AUTHORITY.--The President may waive the requirements of this section if he submits to Congress a written certification setting forth a detailed justification for the waiver, which shall include a detailed report describing the actions being taken by the Unites States to bring the Iraqi government into compliance with the benchmarks set forth in Section 2 above, The certification shall be submitted in unclassified form, but may include a classified annex,

Impact: Benchmarks are one of the strategies intended to improve Iraq. The concept is that by tying the performance of the Iraq government to reconstruction funds, the Iraqis will 'stand up'. If that sounds like someone using an analogy to cover up ill-conceived strategy, give yourself a cigar. With respect to Warner giving Bush an escape clause, really, was that necessary? Like Bush wasn't going to put that in a signing statement? Who says appeasement is a dirty word? Sadly, Smith voted for the amendment.

Guts: -10. A bill only a dead and rotting fish could love.

Not a good day for Smith

*Dead fish is a term coined by Bill Fleckenstein to describe stock analysts who just go with the flow. I think it quite accurately describes the Republican congress of the Bush years.

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