« The racing form | Main | Take your medicine, children »

Hurt me, Melvin. Hurt me.

By Owen Paine on Thursday February 22, 2007 05:43 PM

Here's a somewhat sanctimonious account of Gerry Ford's last-gasp, final-chance, must-act-now request for funds to keep the Red congs from tanking through Saigon:


The piece seems to have been ripped off from The New Republic, and what it mostly goes to show -- unintentionally, of course -- is just how un-opposed to the war the Democratic Party was, even after Nixon took over the management of it:

In 1970, during the Vietnam war, an amendment to the military procurement authorization act introduced by Republican Mark Hatfield and Democrat George McGovern proposed that, unless President Nixon sought and won a declaration of war from Congress, no money could be spent after the end of the year “for any purposes other than to pay costs relating to the withdrawal of all United States forces.” Of course, withdrawing forces is not cutting funding for them (in fact, it might have turned out to be more expensive in the short term), and Hatfield-McGovern never got more than 42 votes in the Senate–even though, in its second go-round in 1971, 73 percent of the public supported it.

The first time the Senate actually voted to suspend funding for American military activities in Vietnam was in the summer of 1973, two months after the last American combat brigades left, by the terms of a peace treaty Nixon negotiated. That amendment passed by a veto-proof majority–encompassing Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals–of 64 to 26....

Early in 1974, Nixon requested a support package for the South Vietnamese that included $474 million in emergency military aid. The Senate Armed Services Committee balked and approved about half. A liberal coup? Hardly. One of the critics was Senator Barry Goldwater. “We can scratch South Vietnam,” he said. “It is imminent that South Vietnam is going to fall into the hands of North Vietnam.” The House turned down the president’s emergency aid request 177 to 154; the majority included 50 Republicans....

Finally, of course, under the hapless Ford, lopsided bipartisan majorities in both houses turned down a last-ditch request. Comes now Melvin Laird -- bet you didn't know he was still around, did you? -- writing in Foreign Affairs that
Congress snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by cutting off funding for our ally in 1975. Washington should follow a similar strategy now [in Iraq], but this time finish the job properly.
Implications: the Dems will abandon our fightin' kids in Iraq, let 'em get picked off one by one, as they hole up there in the green zone and at forts Haliburton and Bechtel, pinned down like Beau Geste, dying like rats, etc. etc.

Huge indignation about this from the Dems. Don't throw us in that briar patch. What a nice cover for them. Their liberal true-believer base is infinitely credulous that the yahoo inanity, out there in their tens of poorly-educated millions, live on such invisible foreskin music. And so, of course, the poor donkey's flank must be guarded, and that means... well, you fill it in. The dance of mutual enablement continues, without missing a step.

Here, for example, is The Nation's ace beltway scout:


A few days ago , a senior Capitol Hill Democratic aide called to tell me he was worried. The aide feared that his party would soon find itself split over the Iraq war.
Gee, David, you say that like it's a bad thing. The threnody continues:
Progressive House Democrats are pushing for a cutoff in funding, he said, not caring that such legislation would put their colleagues from less-liberal districts in a bind. Moderate Democrats, the aide said, will not likely want to vote against military spending for Iraq and face the criticism (justified or not) that they are not supporting the troops. Even though the war is unpopular and Bush and the Republicans are on the run, we’ll be dividing ourselves, said the aide, who works for a legislator who favors a funding cutoff.

The following day, a prominent liberal thinker in Washington told me he was concerned that Democratic leaders and antiwar activists are swinging behind Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Jack Murtha’s plan to attach restrictions to Iraq war funding. Murtha’s proposal would prohibit money from being used to deploy troops to Iraq who are not fully equipped, fully trained and fully rested. That plan cannot win a majority, this thinker said; putting it up to a vote would only rip apart the party. The Democrats, consequently, would look weak and not achieve anything, but they still would give the Republicans the chance to accuse them of undermining the soldiers in the field. Couldn’t antiwar Democrats and activists, this liberal asked, find a more mature and sophisticated strategy?

Lo, the hour of combat approaches on winged sandals. Mayhaps the soap will even get softer.

Comments (2)


Shorter Dems: If Bush doesn't listen to us, we'll be forced to say "Now please stop that, Mr. Bush" a second time.

owen paine:

a true Wilsonian



" If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or has said his vote was a mistake, then there are others to choose from."

"Some people may be running who may tell you that we don’t face a real threat from terrorism....I am not one of those "
mother clinton

brother scruggs comments:

"To any moderately alert person, those are immediate disqualifiers. The first affirms the importance of maintaining an inability to recognize rotten ideas, and entices with the pigeonshit pride to be found in persisting with them. The second proudly and idiotically tries to steal the wingnuts’ thunder, with a preemptive strawman and laying the groundwork for impugning whoever is less bellicose...."


"It demoralizes people"

Post a comment

Note also that comments with three or more links may be held for "moderation" -- a strange term to apply to the ghost in this blog's machine. Seems to be a hard-coded limitation of the blog software, unfortunately.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on Thursday February 22, 2007 05:43 PM.

The previous post in this blog was The racing form.

The next post in this blog is Take your medicine, children.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License

This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 3.31