Thursday, May 10, 2007

Take one day off

and you lose a week. I was out of the office last Friday to work on getting the lovely Rozinante
ready for the water, and I'm just catching up now. (Rozinante's color scheme is different now.)

What did I miss? The Queen's visit, for one thing. (Even after more than 200 years, if you say "the Queen," Americans know that you are referring to the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, more familiarly known as Great Britain, the UK or sometimes--wrongly--England.) I may be a liberal, but I have a soft spot for the Queen. Especially given what we have in the White House today.

Other than that, it seems like more of the same: Bush is threatening to veto the Democrats' latest Iraq spending bill, Not-So-Speedy Gonzalez is back in front of a congressional committee today, Wolfowitz is still hanging on at the World Bank and people are still dying in Iraq.

Perhaps the best development of the week was that Hillary Clinton has joined with Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) in a measure to repeal the authorization to use force in Iraq. Talkingpointsmemo reports that liberals in the House are talking about making their support for a new funding bill (the old one passed by just 10 votes, remember) dependent on an agreement to bring a de-authorization bill to the floor.

Some commentators have said that such a measure would be meaningless, because Bush would just veto it. Leaving aside that every such veto peels some more people away from W, I do not see why the President would have a chance to veto it. Did he have to sign the original authorization--which was an authorization for him to take action? What would that add? And why would he have the right to veto a bill that, in effect if not in form, expresses the will of an equal body of government? That makes no sense.

I don't mean to suggest that repealing authorization will end American participation in the war, any more than repealing the Gulf of Tonkin resolution did. To do that, Congress would have to cut off funds--or the chief executive would have to suffer an attack of good sense. But reversing its stance would be a powerful statement and would further isolate Mr. Bush.

(UPDATE: Greg Sargent reports that House Democrats will allow a straight up-or-down vote on whether to withdraw from Iraq.

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