'The Responsible Left': Funding Obama's Expanding Wars

The cowardly Democrats who checked their spines at the door to Congress when they voted Tuesday try to defend their flip-flop on war funding. Frankly, it is embarrassing.

Over the past few days, we reported
on how the White House and Democratic Congressional Leadership waged a
dirty campaign to scare up votes to support another $106 billion in
funds for their wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Now, several of
the so-called anti-war Democrats who left their principles at the House
coat check on their way in to vote Tuesday are trying to explain away
their hypocritical votes.

New York Democrat Anthony Weiner,
who voted against the war funding in May--when it didn't matter--only to
vote Tuesday with the pro-war Dems, sounded like an imbecile when he
made this statement after the vote: "We are in the process of wrapping up the wars. The president needed our support."
What planet is Weiner living on? "Wrapping up the wars?" Last time I
checked, there are 21,000 more US troops heading to Afghanistan
alongside a surge in contractors there, including a 29% increase
in armed contractors. Does Weiner think the $106 billion in war funding
he voted for is going to pay for one way tickets home for the troops?
What he voted for was certainly not the "Demolition of the 80
Football-field-size US Embassy in Baghdad Act of 2009." To cap off this
idiocy, Weiner basically admitted he is a fraud when he said the bill
he voted in favor of "still sucks."

Jan Schakowsky, who has done
some incredibly important work on Blackwater and the privatized war
machine, also voted against the supplemental in May, but switched her
vote on Tuesday. "I do believe my president is a peacemaker," Schakowsky said. "I'm going to give him what he wants."
A peacemaker who is expanding war? Moreover, what happened to the
system of "checks and balances?" If Congressmembers, especially
anti-war ones like Schakowsky, start just giving the president "what he
wants," then where is the peoples' voice?

How are these people sleeping at night?

Obviously these folks are partisans or else they wouldn't be
Democrats, but this "Dear Leader knows best" mentality is cultish.
Republican Rep. Ron Paul, who, whatever one thinks of him, has been
consistently opposed to these wars, put it best when he rose on the
floor Tuesday to speak
against the war funding: "I wonder what happened to all of my
colleagues who said they were opposed to the ongoing wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan. I wonder what happened to my colleagues who voted with me
as I opposed every war supplemental request under the previous
administration. It seems, with very few exceptions, they have changed
their position on the war now that the White House has changed hands."

One "anonymous" Massachusetts lawmaker told Politico
that those Democrats who voted for the war funding and IMF credits are
"what we call the responsible left." Barney Frank, another flip-flopper
on war funding, compared the anti-war left to the Rush Limbaugh
right-wing, saying, "They have no sense of reality." Perhaps Rep. Frank
should ask the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who lobbied intensely
against the war funding he supported if they have "no sense of reality."

As previously discussed,
this vote was a crucial test--because the White House and pro-war
Democrats actually needed to get some 'anti-war' legislators to vote
with them or the bill would have failed--in determining which Democrats
have a spine when it comes to standing up to the war and which are just
party operatives with their principles and votes up for political

While the White House reportedly
told some Democrats who voted against the war, "you'll never hear from
us again," Obama has made it a point this week to intervene to defend
those hypocritical "anti-war" legislators who voted with him. Rep.
Steve Cohen, D-Tenn was one of the 51 Democrats who voted against the
funding in May and then consciously misplaced his principles Tuesday.
Cohen was targeted for his hypocrisy by activists, spurring President
Obama to issue a statement to local media in his district praising Cohen:

The White House Press Office called the Washington bureau
of The Commercial Appeal late Wednesday afternoon offering the
statement after anti-war liberals across the country derided Cohen as a
"fraud" and one who deserved a place in the "Hall of Shame."

"Congressman Cohen is a leader in the United States Congress and a
strong voice for the people of Tennessee," Obama's statement declared,
adding that Cohen's vote will "ensure our men and women in uniform have
the resources they need to protect our country."

What is
particularly telling is how Cohen doesn't even pretend his vote had
anything to do with principle or representing his constituents. It was
simple partisanship. "Maybe [Obama] just wanted to respond to people
who helped him," Cohen said. "Yes, I was surprised but I've been in the
president's corner on several occasions and it's good to have him in my

All of this sounds, frankly, corrupt. Instead of using
cold hard cash, the White House threatens to pull the rug from under
dissenting legislators and offers its support to those who cede their
conscience to the president's agenda. So much for change.

spending bill is likely to sail through the Senate where there is no
group even vaguely resembling the ever-shrinking anti-war crowd in the
House. Once again, here are the Democrats who turned their backs on
their pledges to vote against this war funding:

Yvette Clarke, Steve Cohen, Jim Cooper, Jerry Costello, Barney
Frank, Luis Gutierrez, Jay Inslee, Steve Kagen, Edward Markey, Doris
Matsui, Jim McDermott, George Miller, Grace Napolitano, Richard Neal
(MA), James Oberstar, Jan Schakowsky, Mike Thompson, Edolphus Towns,
Nydia Velazquez, and Anthony Weiner.

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