Tony Blankley

When Mohandas Gandhi (aka "The Mahatma"-- the great soul) was asked what he thought about Western Civilization, the heir to 5,000 years of Hindu civilization responded: "It would be a very good idea." In that spirit of the new Washington bipartisanship (we will see unicorns grazing on the Capitol lawns and lions laying down with lambs in Washington's green and gentle Arcadian fields before we actually spot genuine bipartisanship in Washington), I am delighted to fully endorse Speaker Nancy Pelosi's recent call for honest talk both with her colleagues and the American people. Of course, honesty is in little danger of actually happening very often.

I had my first encounter with Pelosian honesty last week -- as practiced by several liberal Democrats on the various radio and television discussions in which I participated (and elsewhere) -- on the thorny political question of whether the Democratic-controlled Congress will cut off the money for President Bush's imminent call for more troops to Iraq.

To review the bidding: (1) The Democrats cheerfully campaigned all last year on "re-deploying" our troops out of Iraq, (2) now that they are in charge, many of their voters want and expect them to legislate their campaign promise, and (3) the Democrats want to continue to express their unflinching determination to oppose the war and bring the troops home.

Their problem is that many Democratic Party leaders don't want to actually cut off the money necessary to fight the war for fear that if things go badly, they might be held responsible by the voters in 2008 for a Middle East catastrophe. So, last week, many of their spokesmen and journalistic handmaidens (and handsquires) denied that Congress had the power to cut off the war money, particularly for the new troops that the president will presumably be sending over soon.

For example, Sen. Joe Biden questioned whether Congress had the "constitutional " power to do so. One of the panelists on "The McLaughlin Group" asserted to me that President Bush had enough money "sloshing around the Pentagon" not to need new congressionally appropriated money. But of course, the president cannot spend the already appropriated Defense funds willy-nilly. If Congress appropriated funds for buying tanks, he can't take that money and use it to pay troops, for example.

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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