Another Veto Cometh

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: May 09, 2007 12:42 PM
The threat hath been levied:

President Bush would veto the new Iraq spending bill being developed by House Democrats because it includes unacceptable language restricting funding, White House press secretary Tony Snow said Wednesday morning.

Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, Snow said of the bill: "There are restrictions on funding and there are also some of the spending items that were mentioned in the first veto message that are still in the bill."

Cheney was in Iraq today, speaking about the state of the nation in the U.S. Embassy, which was briefly rocked by a nearby explosion while he was there:

"I think they recognize it's in their interests as well as ours to make progress on the political front," Cheney said.

Cheney spoke less than an hour after an explosion could be heard in the U.S. embassy where he spent most of the day. Windows rattled and reporters covering the vice president were briefly moved to a more secure area.

Said Cheney spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride: "His meeting was not disturbed and he was not moved."

Meanwhile, we've only got 'til September for a turn-around:

Where, a few months ago, Giulliani beat (by 5-10 percent) and McCain beat or tied all Democratic comers, in this week's poll, Giuliani loses to Clinton by 3 percent, to Edwards by 6 percent and to Obama by 7 percent. (For a net negative turn around of 10-15 percent for Giuliani). McCain loses worse, respectively, by 6 percent, 10 percent and 13 percent.

As neither the Democratic nor Republican candidates' campaigns (nor their parties' general efforts) have been strikingly strong or weak in the last month, what these shocking shifts demonstrate is the virtual collapse of the Republican brand appeal in the face of the continuing bad news from Iraq.

Unless the numbers shift back by September, Republican congressmen will naturally assume that they are looking at the prospect of a 2008 electoral drubbing along the lines of post-Watergate 1974 or Goldwater 1964 (let us pray they don't add to that list Hoover 1932).

Assuming continuing bad news and bad polling in September, enough Republicans may well support the Democrats' inevitable "out by the spring" military appropriation to allow for a successful override of the president's certain veto. Then the president may try to challenge congressional authority in court (perhaps relying on the 1861 Food and Forage Act, if Congress doesn't exempt their cut-off from that law, which permits an army to stay in the field without appropriated monies.)

Perhaps the president will win in court. Perhaps things will be seen to be getting much better in Iraq. Perhaps fewer Republicans will cross the aisle, and instead stick with their commitment to our national security requirements. Perhaps the Democrats will so grossly demonstrate their unfitness for national leadership that they lose electoral credibility (although their growing electoral strength in the face of their already clearly grotesque irresponsibility makes one wonder what more they could do that might, finally, appall the public.) But a betting man wouldn't count on it.

Some Republicans are already planning to bail

I think this calls for a little statesmanship from John McCain, in one of my favorite quotes of his, upon being asked how success or failure in Iraq might affect his presidential run:

"My only answer is that I've held this position for four years. I cannot let anything to do with my political career affect my judgment on Iraq."

"I don't know and I don't care what effect it will have on my political aspirations."

Well said. Maybe he can get his fellow Republicans some spine supplement pills?