Thursday, February 8, 2007

Tester "rips" Bush -- but his proposals don't

We learn today from the Gazette that Tester rips Bush, Senate on war. Sen. Tester talks real tough, and perhaps should, since the 527's like who poured money into his narrow victory need a little red meat -- or at least a little purple oratory -- in return for their investment. And the Gazette headline assists in making him sound tough.

Reading the article, it doesn't sound as though Tester is willing to advocate the bills that would actually do what he says needs to be done.

And it isn't like Tester would need to stand alone. There is at least one Democrat who is being honest about the war and putting his money (or rather, our money) where his mouth is, and that is Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis. His is one of the bills being introduced in Congress to cut funding for the war and force it to an end. Fears that such a move would provoke a constitutional crisis are overblown, and even if not, they reflect a Senatorial timidity that should provoke disdain, not admiration.

There are enough strict constructionists on the Supreme Court that Congress would probably win that battle, and it is a battle that probably needs to be fought and won, as Montana Headlines has pointed out before.

But don't look for Senate Democrats to do anything but posture on this issue. Their point has never been the war in Iraq, it has always been about scoring political points. That dithering pusillanimity is what created the "I voted for that bill before I voted against it" situations which have hobbled nearly every Senatorial Democrat with a passion for being President.

This is not a foreign policy website (well, except for Montana's international relations with Canada.) The issue here is not whether to support the President's plan for the war or not, it is whether Montanans should let their Senators get by with taking the very un-Montanan stance of expressing themselves through meaningless "non-binding resolutions."

There are two general choices: consider the President to be the Commander-in-Chief of operations in a war authorized by Congress, and support him in how he finishes the job; or exercising Congressional power by telling him that the war is no longer authorized or funded.

Jon Tester and Max Baucus should pick one. We all know Baucus, so that cause is already in the grave. And unfortunately, in dealing with a man who campaigned with a shotgun in his hand, when he hadn't purchased a Montana hunting license in the last 15 years, we probably are tacking into the wind in trying to get Tester to commit. Say what one will about Burns (and there was a lot to be said), he committed, and supported Bush on Iraq even during the period where the national Republican party had left him hanging.

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