Friday, February 09, 2007

What Reason is there to be Hopeful?

As the coffee started to kick in, I finally left Chowhound for Counterpunch, where John V. Walsh has broken down the numbers for us on the senate. He says that the Senate could filibuster the spending bill on the issue of "surge" funding with one courageous senator (say, Ted Kennedy or Russ Feingold) and 41 supporeters.

Right now there are 18 sitting Senators who voted against the war in 2002. And there are 13 more who voted for the war and now say they regret it. That comes to 31 nominally antiwar Senators.(2) In addition there are 4 new Senators, Barak Obama among them, who claim to be against the war. That brings the count to 35 of the necessary 41, leaving only 6 more needed. And the Democrats now have 51 seats, with at least one or two Republican antiwar Senators to boot. So it would take only 41 out of 51 who claim to be against the war to actually end the war. If they are not lying about their anti-war position, let them stand up and be counted. For example, Hillary Clinton, who is not among those who regret their vote in 2002, were to be one of a handful who refused to vote for cloture, what would happen to her chances in 2008? Let her and others who claim to be against the war go on record for or against the filibuster.

But instead of that bold action, we have this back and forth about a non-binding resolution. I'm sure the Democrats argue that if they were to deny funding, they would not be re-elected because they'd be seen as "unpatriotic" and not supporting the troops. Some pollstell a different story. In the House, the Progressive Caucusis putting forward legislation to bring the troops home and defund the war, but their efforts over the past few years have been unsuccessful. Is there reason to hope that this year will be different?

On the one hand: Most polls say that Americans want the troops out. The daily reports about the US plans to attack Iran continue to frighten.
However, I remain depressed, disappointed, and am beginning to despair. When I checked the New York Times website, the most-blogged article concerned the fracas over two bloggers involved w/ John Edwards campaign, and the most searched term for today's newspaper was....Anna Nicole Smith.
Speaking of which, I guess it's time for me to read some history and go to the gym.


Anonymous said...

There are no "reasons" to be hopeful.

Hope is the reason to act

reb said...

On the last part, I couldn't agree more. That's my explanation for the lack of activity in America. When people say the "masses" are sheep or apathetic or complacent, I've always thought that the apathy was a product of despair. So, looking for reasons to be hopeful is important to me. I don't know why you say there is no reason for hope. Or are you just being "snarky"?

Anonymous said...

I mean you can't wait for reasons - hope is not the product of reasons, it is almost by definition UNREASONABLE to hope - but it is necessary to hope and not to despair in order to act

Anonymous said...

This is a good & helpful piece of number crunching, Reb. I think what it shows most clearly is this: the democrats' spinelessness is the spinelessness of the American street. Even with a very large march on Washington, and other coming next month, the pressure simply isn't there. Obama was heckled here (Chicago) earlier this week, but the majority of the crowd was too star-struck to push him to say or do anything meaningful about the war.
I remember during the Reagan years, the Central America movement had frequent, large, and militant demonstrations. Even the rumor of an escalation (the "Honduras episode," spring 1988) brought hundreds of thousands into the streets in cities and town across the country; not merely for a candle-light vigil or two, but for Dumpster-burning, bowling-ball-throwing actions that carried a sense of actual menace to those in power.
There just isn't anything comparable going on now.
There's no reason for the dems to do anything more "binding" that what they're doing.