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Blue America: Who Opposes Escalation, And Who Doesn’t?


Blue America is very proud to announce that Tuesday, January 23, at 4:15 PM (EST), we'll be welcoming Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) to Firedoglake for a chat about his bill "to prohibit an escalation in United States military forces in Iraq without prior authorization by Congress" (S. 308). Co-sponsored by Barbara Boxer and Ted Kennedy, Senator Dodd's legislation would prohibit U.S. combat forces being increased beyond current levels without advance approval by Congress.

Sen. Dodd stated that the authority given by Congress in 2002 to intervene in Iraq never contemplated that U.S. troops would be engaged in a civil war in Iraq, and the President must now come back to Congress to seek authorization for this new and ill-conceived mission. Sen. Dodd’s bill would also cap the number of troops at the level of troops present on January 16, 2007. Any additional increase in troop levels beyond January 16th levels must be specifically authorized by Congress.

Before we take a look at the districts Blue America was active in during the last election cycle with the idea of seeing what the congressmen and senators there are doing about Iraq, let me run down, briefly, the other proposals on the table in both houses of Congress.

Naturally the very first bill proposed to confront Bush was put up by Russ Feingold (co-sponsored by Barbara Boxer), S. 121, which calls for redeploying our forces out of Iraq within 3 months. The best known of the bills that actually seek to reign Bush in is Ted Kennedy's S. 233 (same as Rep. Ed Markey's H.R. 353) which prohibits Bush from using any funds for escalation. Although defeatist Establishment creep Dick Durbin said "Kennedy is on his own," there are seven co-sponsors:

Bernie Sanders, Barbara Boxer, Sherrod Brown, John Kerry, Tom Harkin, Pat Leahy and Bob Menendez.

Rep. Markey's House version has 18 co-sponsors:

Neil Abercrombie, Mike Capuano, John Conyers, Pete DeFazio, Bill Delahunt, Rosa DeLauro, Raul Grijalva, Maurice Hinchley, Barbara Lee, Carolyn Maloney, Jim McDermott, James McGovern, Martin Meehan, John Olver, Jan Schakowsky, Mike Thompson, John Tierney and Peter Welch.

The cowardly way out for the Democrats who want to go on record opposing Bush but who are afraid to do something "drastic" (like stop the war) is the Biden-Hagel-Levin bill introduced a couple days ago, the nonbinding symbolic thing. Olympia Snowe has signed on as a co-sponsor and it has wide support by the Inside-the-Beltway Democratic crowd, the Reids and Durbins and Hoyers and Emanuels. This is the one McConnell and Lieberman say they will filibuster and Bush says he'll ignore. HUGE waste of time.

A couple of Democrats running for president who want to give the impression they are leading a parade they've pretty much ignored, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, are about to introduce bills capping the number of troops which sounds suspiciously like the Dodd bill.

Aside from Markey's bill, the House has a dozen pending, from an all-encompassing bill by Lynn Woolsey (H.R. 508) that requires "disengagement from Iraq," with 16 co-sponsors: 

Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Diane Watson, James McGovern, Raul Grijalva, Dennis Kucinich, Barney Frank, Maurice Hinchey, John Conyers, Jerrold Nadler, Chaka Fattah, Bob Filner, William Clay, Donald Payne, Steve Cohen, and Sheila Jackson Lee

to a right wing bill (H.R, 511) calling for stay the course by Sam Johnson, an extremist from Texas and co-sponsored by the GOP House leaders and a bunch of the biggest kooks in the House (all Republicans, of course):

Blunt, Boehner, Putnam, plus Eric Cantor, Peter King, Duncan Hunter, Bill Young, Thaddeus McCotter, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Steve Buyer, Tom Cole, John Carter, David Dreier, Jerry Lewis, Kay Granger, and Peter Hoekstra.

A lot of the other bills seek to prevent Bush from attacking Iran, including a congressional resolution (33) by Pete DeFazio and a similar one by Republican Walter Jones (with 11 Democratic co-sponsors and no Republicans signing on except Libertarian Ron Paul). Sam Farr has a bill, H.R. 413, that seeks to repeal the 2002 authorization Congress gave Bush to use the military in Iraq (no co-sponsors) and the most dangerous one to Bush is Jack Murtha's bill to deny Bush funds to use to escalate the war.

In the last election cycle Blue America worked actively in congressional districts and states (in Senate races), collecting money and placing radio and TV spots. I think it's fair to ask which of the congressmen and senators are supporting Bush and which are opposing him on his escalation plans.

House Members:

Mike Arcuri (NY-24). We raised $6,335.86 and he is opposing Bush.
Brian Bilbray (CA-50). We raised $22,796.43 for his opponent, Francine Busby, who lost and Bilbray is supporting escalation.
Mary Bono (CA-45). We raised $6,745.86 for her opponent, Dave Roth. Bono is for escalation.
Bruce Braley (IA-01). We raised $5,525.86 and he is opposing Bush.
Ginny Brown-Waite (FL-05). We raised $3,264.05 for Rick Penberthy in the primary and he lost. True to form she's rubber stamping the stay the course approach.
Vern Buchanan (FL-13). We raised $1,238.24 for Jan Schneider in the primary and she lost. Vern, a right wing extremist is petrified that he'll lose in 2008 and he says he's leaning towards supporting Bush.
Chris Carney (PA-10). We raised $8,210.86 and he won in a solidly Republican district and he's opposing Bush
Henry Cuellar (TX-28). We raised $27,925.92 for Ciro Rodriguez in the primary and Ciro lost that one but won a seat in a neighboring district. Cuellar, in a relatively rare break with Bush, is opposing escalation. Ciro (TX-23) hasn't taken a position but he is expected to oppose Bush.
John Doolittle (CA-04). We collected $25,015.86 for Charlie Brown and our PAC ran radio spots for him. Doolittle is petrified to face him again in 2008 and he has refused to take a position on escalation so far, although he is expected to vote with Bush as usual.
Phil English (PA-03). We raised $5,630.86 for Steve Porter. English has made some tepid statements about opposing escalation but there is virtually no chance he will vote in a meaningful way against Bush.
Virginia Foxx (NC-05). We raised $5,255.86 for Roger Sharpe. Foxx, one of the most radical rightists in the House is supporting stay the course, of course.
Jim Gerlach (PA-06). We raised $11,771.43 for Lois Murphy. Gerlach says he is leaning toward supporting Bush.
Kirstin Gillibrand (NY-20). We donated $10,136.43 to her campaign. She opposes escalation.
Virgil Goode (VA-05). We raised $3,560.84 for Al Weed. Goode, aside from being an insane racist, supports Bush on escalation but doesn't want him spending any money on rebuilding Iraq.
John Hall (NY-19). We contributed $12,170.86 and he opposes escalation.
Jane Harman (CA-36). We raised $2,547.15 for her primary opponent, Marcy Winograd. Harman has substantially changed her stances on the war and has come out against escalation, knowing full well that if she steps out of line she will have another bitter primary.
Denny Hastert (IL-14). We raised $20,075.86 for John Laesch and bought radio spots in the district. Hastert hasn't let on how he feels about the escalation plans but it is inconceivable that he will vote against Bush.
Robin Hayes (NC-08). We raised $10,875.86 for Larry Kissell who came within a handful of votes of defeating Hayes. Hayes is supporting escalation.
Paul Hodes (NH-02). We donated $5,830.86 to his campaign and he is opposing escalation.
Peter King (NY-03). We raised $9,760.86 for Dave Mejias. King supports escalation.
John Kline (MN-02). We raised $22,091.43 for Coleen Rowley and ran a newspaper ad on her behalf. Kline aggressively supports escalation.
Randy Kuhl (NY-29). We raised $11,170.86 for Eric Massa. Kuhl supports Bush's escalation plans.
Doug Lamborn (CO-05). We raised $6,690.86 for Jay Fawcett. Lamborn is a gung-ho escalator.
Tom Mahoney (FL-16). We raised $464.21 for Dave Lutrin who was forced out of the primary by Rahm Emanuel. Mahoney is tepidly opposing escalation, although not in a meaningful way.
Thaddeus McCotter (MI-11). We raised $10,070.84 for Tony Trupiano and ran TV spots against McCotter. McCotter, though a member of the GOP leadership team is too scared to take a public position on this although it is certain he will support Bush as he always does.
Buck McKeon (CA-25). We raised $27,925.92 for Robert Rodriguez and ran radios spots against McKeon. McKeon says he is "leaning" towards stay the course; big surprise (not)!
Jerry McNerney (CA-11). We raised $25,140.86. He hasn't taken a public position although one of his staffers told me yesterday he expects him to come out against escalation next week.
Brad Miller (NC-13). The only incumbent we asked our members to contribute to. He has come out against escalation.
Chris Murphy (CT-05). We placed radio spots against Nancy Johnson, the incumbent. Chris hasn't taken a public stand yet.
Patrick Murphy (PA-08). We raised $7,690.86 for him. He's come out swingin' against escalation in strong and meaningful terms and is a co-sponsor of Murtha's bill to cut off funds.
Marilyn Musgrave (CO-04). We raised $15,446.43 for Angie Paccione and ran radio spots against Musgrave. She says she is leaning towards escalation.
Mean Jean Schmidt (OH-02). We raised $27,031.42 for Victoria Wulsin and ran radio spots on her behalf. Mean Jean is keeping her head down and not saying anything. She is expected to continue supporting "stay the course."
Joe Sestak (PA-07). We raised $13,500.86 for Admiral Sestak and he is opposing escalation.
Tom Tancredo (CO-06). We raised $6,695.84 for Bill Winter. Tancredo is too busy rabble rousing against immigrants to make up his mind on anything else but he says he's "leaning" towards supporting escalation.
Al Wynn (MD-4). We raised $6,600.00 for Donna Edwards and she lost the primary. Wynn knows she will challenge him again and he is watching his p's and q's. He is opposing Bush on this and has signed on as a co-sponsor for Murtha's bill.

Sherrod Brown (OH). We collected $3,573.43 for him before he voted for Bush's torture bill which caused us to stop collecting money for him though we still prayed he'd win. He did and he's opposing Bush's escalation in the true sense.
Ben Cardin (MD). We raised $8,105.86 for him and he's opposing escalation.
Russ Feingold (WI). We contributed $6,505.86 for Russ' leadership PAC and, of course, he's taking a leading role in opposing Bush.
Amy Kobuchar (MN). We raised $5,491.43 for Amy. She opposes escalation.
Joe Lieberman (CT). We raised $77,141.43 for Ned Lamont. Lieberman criticizes Bush for not sending enough troops. He's further right on this than almost anyone in the Senate from either party.
John Tester (MT). We raised $16,985.84 for him. He's opposing Bush.
James Webb (VA). We ran TV spots for him. He's opposing Bush.

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Howie Klein

Howie Klein

Howie Klein spent much of his life wandering around the world living in places like Afghanistan, Nepal, Holland and Morocco. He moved backed to America when Richard Nixon resigned and promptly helped start the first punk rock radio show in the country and then a DIY punk rock record label. His adventures in the music business ended a couple of years ago when he retired as president of Reprise Records. He began blogging almost immediately, starting Down With Tyranny. Jane taught him html while he held one of her dogs at a party. He is a raw foodist, lives in L.A., swims and hikes every day, thinks Howard Dean could be a president as great as FDR and will never be completely happy until Bush and Cheney are behind bars.