In The Spirit of Christmas I Help The Anti-War Establishment Solve A Problem They Did Not Know They Had With A Solution They Never Thought Of
If you care deeply about re-deploying our troops to end the War in Iraq and you do not know who Rob Portman is, you are not paying enough attention.
Rob Portman is the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget and is responsible for keeping the Executive Branch's books.
Yesterday Portman released the official White House estimate of what the War in Iraq will cost in FY 2007. According to OMB, the War in Iraq will cost American taxpayers $110 billion dollars next year. Or, a little more than $2 billion a week.
$2 billion a week does not seem to buy you a whole lot of democracy these days, as anyone reading today's paper will tell you.
As people know, I was against the War from the beginning. However, for a variety of reasons I now favor putting more troops into Iraq to try and stabilize it. That conversation is not the purpose of this post.
This purpose of this post is to "suggest" to the Anti-War Establishment (a.k.a. the Congressional Class of 2006) a plan that will, I believe, help them side step the political train wreck currently barreling towards them.
Why do this? Sour grapes?
First, its Christmas.
Second, If, and this is a BIG if, the Anti-War Establishment actually does what I suggest then that outcome will be better for America’s future than will the outcome that will (probably) occur if America puts more troops into Iraq.
Therefore, and assuming someone with some authority actually reads what I’ve written; I’m suggesting all this for the good of my country.
Also, I like letting my opinions be known. Why else would I keep a Blog?
The political problem facing the Anti-War Establishment is as follows –
You won the 06' election after offering the voters "a new direction in Iraq". You will start work in January. The New York Times will write a glowing “First 100 Hours” editorial. Everything will be great.
And then the wheels come off. In a hurry.
In January, The President will announce that he is putting in twenty to thirty thousand more troops into Iraq. He will also announce that the current military is not large enough to fight the War on Terror and he is therefore going to increase the overall size of the military.
I'm calling it Bush's "Double Fuck You" to the 2006 voters. Bush will respond to your outrage by taking a nap.
Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, your leaders, will announce that they are "reluctantly" going along with the President's plan.
Behind closed doors they will lecture you on "The Presidential Election in 08'”, the need to be perceived as "strong on national security" and will repeatedly use the expression "the ends justify our means". You will want to scream.
To keep you on board they will beg and they will plead. And when they are done with that they will threaten.
They will tell you that if you submit a bill cutting off funding for the War In Iraq (which is the only way troops are coming home) your ass is grass and Pelosi is the (very nicely coiffed) lawn mower.
Remember, Pelosi didn’t become the first female Speaker of the House because she smells nice and has really, really cute grandkids.
You will come to realize that many of you aren't going to be around after the 08' election if you go along with your leadership and "cave" to the White House on Iraq. Allowing more troops to go to Iraq is not the new direction the voters were thinking about when they elected you.
To add a sense of urgency to this political problem, your freshly hired communications director, who hasn’t even officially started yet, is already telling you about letters to the editor popping up in the local newspapers questioning when you are going to “bring our boys home like you promised”.
It’s a jam alright. But, in Washington, every jam is a potential political opportunity – if you can stand the squeeze it takes to get out.
To get out of this pickle you first have to defy your own leadership and put forward a bill cutting off funding for the War in Iraq. You will not survive re-election in 08’ if you do not. It will be the hardest thing you have ever done in your professional career.
Official Washington will go absolutely bananas the moment you drop that bill in the House and Senate hopper. Hold on tight.
Every mainstream Democrat running for President will beat on the Anti-War Establishment like a drum. “Well Mr. Leher, while I agree with trying to end the War in Iraq as quickly as possible, I just can’t see cutting off funding for our troops.”
Every Republican running for President will gleefully skewer you. “That’s right Mr. O’Reilly, I think they hate our country. And, while I can’t prove it, I heard his mother is a whore.”
It’s always darkest right before it’s pitch black. And, just when you think that it can’t get any worse, it will. You will be cut-off by your own leadership.
Quietly, behind the scenes, Grandma Pelosi will kneecap you. It will hurt.
Hey, no one claimed taming the Military Industrial Complex was going to be easy. Taking them on means that you are (probably) soft of national security and (probably) don’t care about our troops.
And you’re just a silly little peacenik don’t forget.
But, just when the boys at Lockheed think they have “got you, smashed you and made an example of you” you fire your next two shots.
You may even scream, “Right back at you baby!” as you pull the (legislative) trigger.
This is where Rob Portman becomes your best friend because, since you voted against funding the war, you have (in theory) $110 billion dollars that has not yet been spent to work with.
And I’m going to tell you (this is MY Blog after all) how to spend that money to not only save your peacenik hides, but also maximize your political capitol and REALLY move this country forward -
The $110 billion should be used to fund two significant pieces of legislation.
The first bill would provide full funding for every single program that the Department of Veterans Affairs needs/wants/thinks they might want/isn’t sure they want but it couldn’t hurt to have/knows they don’t need or want but it would be cool, I guess, to have it just in case/and everything else that might be left.
“Mr. Leher, contrary to what others have been saying on your program, I love our troops. I love them so much I’m bringing them home and I’m taking care of them when they get here.”
Overnight the Anti-War Establishment becomes the political darling of the pro-military crowd. Politics makes strange bedfellows. You have successfully neutralized the “anti-troop” argument the other side is made. Cheney probably has a stroke. Imagine that.
But that’s only the first $10 billion or so. You still have $100 billion to play with.
The next bill you should propose with Portman’s billions is legislation creating a “NASA type program to move America and the world off of fossils fuels as an energy source”.
Everyone ran on this idea in 06’. Now you have the funding to actually start doing it.
The Feds only spent $3 billion on alternative energy research last year. How much more could they do with another $97 billion?
And, after telling the Military Industrial Complex to take a flying leap, telling the oil companies to do the same will be a walk in the park (and many of you will actually enjoy it).
To maximize your position (good policy makes great politics) use language like: “While ending our dependence on fossil fuels is good for our economy and our environment, we are most immediately concerned with ending our dependence on unstable foreign regimes. We never want to have to send our troops to places like Iraq again.”
Take that crazy Arabs! The Anti-War Establishment has just become the new authority on national security policy. Imagine that.
That’s all there is to it. Sometimes it really is that easy. If you have leaders that can lead.
As I wrote in an earlier post, I don’t think the Anti-War Establishment has the moxie to actually go through with this. I think you all cave to Grandma Pelosi and then get whipped in 08’ (which is why I’m sticking with the more troops in Iraq strategy).
However, if the Congressional Class of 2006 proves me wrong…
Well, not only will you have proved the great Monday Morning Clacker wrong, but you will have ended up keeping your campaign promise and served you country with honor.
I’d think about voting for that.