Tuesday, June 05, 2007

adding a little color this summer?

Yesterday’s LA Times featured a story about how Democrats (and the activists that love them) are planning on making this summer the Summer of Iraq (cue music).

WASHINGTON — Democratic congressional leaders, whose efforts to force a withdrawal from Iraq were stymied last month, plan a summer of repeated Iraq-related votes designed to force Republican lawmakers to abandon the White House before the fall.

. . . .

"The debate on Iraq will continue," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said last week. Pelosi, who in March helped push Democrats to embrace a withdrawal of American combat forces, has pledged that the House will vote on numerous measures aimed at ending the war.

My first thought was, “Wouldn’t it have just been better to continue full-bore with the spring offensive to shut down this war?” My second thought was, “Gosh, for Iraqis, and the troops over there, and for all of us here that have been paying attention, every day of every season has been ‘of Iraq’ for the past four years.” But then I settled on another thought. . . .

If the Democrats goal is to split Republicans away from the Bush Administration on the Iraq issue, well, I admire the effort, but, as recent votes show us, it’s a heavy lift. However, the issue where congressional Republicans seem to have no problem standing up to and against the White House is immigration. I mean, honestly, nothing dries up a rubberstamper’s inkpad like the threat of adding a little color to the American envelope.

So, what if Democrats made one of their front-and-center “all Iraq, all the time” bills a piece of legislation designed to, on an emergency basis, quickly allow for, and even facilitate, a massive up tick in the numbers of Iraqi refuges allowed into the United States? What if the Democrats say the mayhem necessitates that a humane nation take care of the people whose lives we’ve disrupted? What if they propose a resettlement to the US of, say, 20,000, or 50,000, or even 100,000 Iraqis?

Granted, even 100,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to the million Iraqis that will be displaced this year because of this conflict, but even 20,000 is a massive improvement over the 68—yes, sixty-eight—that have been relocated to the US this year. It is possible that 4 million Iraqis have been forced to flee their homes since the start of Bush’s war, surely Bush’s country can make room for a small fraction of those poor people.

That would be the argument, anyway (one I actually believe).

Now, I understand that both President Bush and his rubberstamp Republicans are both opposed to the idea of increased Iraqi resettlement for their own selfish reasons, so you won’t necessarily get a divided vote out of the GOP caucus—but imagine the floor speeches! Who wouldn’t like to hear a variety of Republicans try to gracefully meld immigration reform with Iraq war policy? Whose heart doesn’t quicken at the prospect of seeing the odd elephant chase its own tail in an attempt to find just the right way to stand on being helpful to our Iraqi brethren while safeguarding our white race, oh, I mean, our nation’s borders?

And how about the pickle in which this would put Senator and presidential wannabe John (asshole) McCain? He’s pro immigration reform and pro-escalation. . . and now, pro-fifty-years-war.

I know that the Democratic leadership has a lot to do to get back on offense this summer, but I can think of few better ways than to take two issues that have the backing of two-thirds (or more) of Americans (ending the Iraqi occupation and liberalizing our immigration policy), and hold them up to show whose on the side of the voters. . . and who is on the other—the Republican—side.

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