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July 18, 2007

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JimPortlandOR

Spencer's summary is v. good. There are, of course, more options.

First off, the Dems made a crucial error in letting the Def. authorization bill out of committee without the Levin-Reed amendment-contents being inside the bill - so this whole thing was a side show of amendments for people to hide behind, or choose among (I like A but not B, and C is out of the question).

They should have been debating the Def. Auth. bill, with a stark choice. Vote yea or nay.

Second, money and authority to spend things is all the Dems can control. But they have to avoid the trap on 'defunding the troops' completely.

So, contingent authority and contingent funds can be deployed: you get this much if the strategy and deployments are staged this way, and you get this much less authority and money if you insist on staying the course. And this must be ruthlessly deployed. No floor amendments (fill up the amendment tree). Stark choices only. Vote yea or nay.

Last night they were debating to change the committee bill, so the message to the public was muddled. Let the debate be on the full bill, with built-in redeployment (or less money). Then force the choice. Nice and clear.

It doesn't matter if Bush threatens or signs a veto. He'd be vetoing the entire bill and leaving him with the choice (new fiscal year starts 10/1/07) of spending without authorization and appropriations - a real constitutional crisis, or accomodating the Dem and public majority position.

Let's recall that Ron Reagan didn't really want to sign the biggest tax increase in a long while, but Tip O'Neil, the then Dem. speaker, didn't give him a choice that Reagan could defend. And Tip never wavered. Hardball, baby.

The Boy King needs to be brought to the table for some lessons in democratic manners. Parents don't give their kids options on whether they can eat with their fingers on Thanksgiving Day. Knife and Fork, or no meal.

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