I attended a fundraiser on Friday for Dick Durbin, one of my senators from Illinois. Senator Durbin is very accessible at these events, so you can usually get a minute or two to shake hands and mention something that's important to you. Knowing this, I was prepared.
I presented the Senator with a "gentleman's bet". I told him that I'd bet him $1 that if Congress didn't cut off funding for combat operations in Iraq, we'd still be actively fighting there in January 2009. (Remember that January 20, 2009 is the day America will be liberated from the Bush Administration.)
I told him that I understood that congressional Democrats was trying to be reasonable, trying to negotiate with the White House. But the president just isn't listening to anyone. I made it clear that I support allocating funds to bring our troops home safely, but that Congress shouldn't approve another dime for fighting.
Mr. Durbin looked a little sad and frustrated. His only comment was, "It seems like it's coming to that."
So there you go. Maybe Congress will find a way to get us out of Iraq before Bush leaves office without cutting off combat funding. If so, I'll gladly send Senator Durbin my dollar. He'll have earned it. But I think I've made a pretty safe bet.
More importantly, I hope I've made my point to Mr. Durbin that the time for reasonable negation is over. Bush only understands force. Therefore, the best course is for Congress to use its Power of the Purse to force him to do what he should.
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