Friday, November 11, 2005

Two Democrats Lose Spines

On Wednesday, November 9th, H. Res 505 was up for a vote in the House International Relations Committee. Had it passed, H. Res. 505 - introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich and cosponsored by 109 House members - would have required the Bush administration to turn over all documents relating to the White House Iraq Group. It did not pass. Why? Because two Democratic committee members decided not to show up to work that day. The kicker? It failed by a two vote margin: 23-25. And that was with two Republican committee members voting for it.

Who are the representatives who seem to have misplaced their spines? Eni Faleomavaega of American Samoa and, I'm sorry to say, Howard Berman of California's 28th district - my own representative. I'm unclear about Faleomavaega's current position on the war. Like many Democratic representatives, he did vote to support Bush's war resolution but these days he appears to be more focused on retaining and granting rights for active service personnel.

Berman's position is clear: he also voted for the War Resolution, but has since admitted that he was mistaken in that action. However he is against setting a timetable to pull our troops out of Iraq, believing such an action will "embolden the insurgents" - these are positions that were imparted by his legislative director to a group of progressive constituents who lobbied his Washington office in September. A group that included your erstwhile contributor.

We don't know why Berman and Faleomavaega didn't show up for the vote. We can privately speculate about the reasons, especially regarding Berman, and let's just say that such speculations do not shed a favorable light on the congressman. Especially considering that this was not a resolution that called for immediate withdrawal or even a timetable to remove our troops from Iraq. It simply called for an investigation into the selling of the Iraq War to the American public. Something that a man who realized that the war - and his vote for it - was a mistake should have been all for. The very definition of a no-brainer.

Unfortunately Berman's possession of a spine in admitting his mistake was of a temporary nature. Let's tell him - and Faleomavaega - that unless they find their spines immediately, they may be finding themselves out of a job when the 2006 elections roll around:

Rep. Eni Faleomavaega - (202) 225-8577
Rep. Howard Berman - (202) 225-4695 and (818) 994-7200

You can also send them Spineless Citations - something that is, unfortunately, richly deserved by far too many of our "Democratic" congresspeople.

And for those who worked hard on H. Res 505 and have continued to speak out against the war, let's communicate to them our thanks. Perhaps send them Spine Cards:

Rep. Dennis Kucinich - (202) 225-5871
Rep. Adam Smith - (202) 225-8901
Rep. Barbara Lee - (202) 225-2661

No comments: