Congressman Charles Rangel admitted Dems added tons of pork, along with a withdrawal date, because they “needed the votes.” So, Democrats basically sold their votes on the war for a few piles of cash.
Nice. Ethical. Thank you for cleaning up the culture of corruption, Democrats.
MR. RUSSERT: Chairman Rangel, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS. Want to talk about your book in a second, but let me start with the war. The House voted for funding for the war with a date certain, March of ‘08, to begin a withdrawal of U.S. troops. But in that bill was $20 billion of so-called pork, money for cricket infestation, tours of the Capitol, security at the National Convention, peanut crops. Why would the Democrats put that kind of money in such a serious bill?
REP. CHARLES B. RANGEL (D-NY): Because they needed the votes. That bill, we lost so many Democrats, one, because people thought we went too far and others because we didn’t go far enough. And so a lot of things had to go into a bill that certainly those of us who respect great legislation did not want in there. But the real question was, were we doing something to stop this immoral war and what could we do instead of doing nothing except do what the president asks us to do? I think the most important thing and the worst thing that’s ever happened to this country in recent history is getting involved in the Middle East, and I didn’t care what was in that bill if there was anything to slow down, to, to say what the American people said in the last election, “Get out of Iraq!”
MR. RUSSERT: If you want to stop the war, why not just simply cut all the funding off?
REP. RANGEL: Because you don’t have the vote to do it. There’s some people who believe that if you cut all the funding off, you leave our soldiers and, and, and military people exposed, and that they’d have no money and then we’d go back to the scene we had in Vietnam where we’re fleeing by helicopter. And so it’s all compromised. That’s what legislation’s all about, and you have to make the best moral and conscious decision.
Update (AP): Obama’s on the same page as Rangel. To refresh your memory: the Senate’s version of the Iraq spending bill actually failed on its first go round, 50-48, thanks to Ben Nelson and Mark Pryor. The second version passed after Reid threw in some benchmarks to win Nelson and Pryor over, but only because Mitch McConnell declined to filibuster it. The House bill wouldn’t have passed at all if not for a Herculean effort by Pelosi and Rahm Emmanuel to strongarm or buy off enough people to push it through with 218 votes, the barest majority.
How does the leader of the reality-based community react to this political reality? By stamping his feet over Obama having “surrendered” to Bush and demanding a bill with even more restrictions if Bush vetoes this one. And naturally enough, Harry Reid’s going to give baby his bottle:
Ratcheting up pressure on the White House to end the Iraq war, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid joined one of the chamber’s biggest anti-war Democrats on Monday in proposing to terminate funding for the conflict within a year…
Reid said he would call for a vote on the Feingold legislation soon if Bush carries out his threat to veto the timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.
It’ll fail, but Reid has to periodically play these little games with the nutroots to show he’s a fightin’ fighter like they are. Let’s get on with it.