Monday, February 12, 2007
"This Debate Will be Different" - You Can Say that Again
GOP Scrambling * In Portugal, Prime Minister Socrates Does the Right Thing
A sign of the times. The self-described Decider is no longer in control. In the Senate, the passage of a strong, non-binding resolution about Iraq and the troop surge is far from a done deal. However, things are moving quite differently in the House. "Three days of intense debate over the Iraq war begins in the House today, with Democrats planning to propose a narrowly worded rebuke of President Bush's troop buildup and Republicans girding for broad defections on their side."
One House Republican close to the GOP leadership spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to be blunt. "This next week is going to be a very tough one for us to get through," he said. "The Democrats know that. We can sit back and hope they overplay their hand, but I don't think they will."
Although the order of speakers has not yet been set, Democrats and Republicans are vying for the most desired slots at a time when attention in Washington will focus on the House. Lawmakers from the West Coast do not want to speak early in the morning, when their constituents are asleep; those from the East do not want to appear at 11:25 p.m. And nearly everyone wants to talk in time to make the evening news and beat the daily newspapers' deadlines.
The last time an Iraq resolution came before the House was in June, when the Republicans controlled Congress. After two days of largely partisan debate, the House easily approved a measure declaring that the United States must complete "the mission to create a sovereign, free, secure and united Iraq," without setting "an arbitrary date for the withdrawal" of troops. Forty-two Democrats bucked their leadership to join a virtually united GOP.
But this debate will be different, lawmakers from both parties agree.
For Women of Portugal, the Right to Choose
LISBON (Reuters) - Catholic Portugal's decision to join most European countries and allow abortions has shaken the country's conservative establishment but was hailed by liberals as a victory for modernity.
Socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates said on Sunday he would use his majority in parliament to legalize abortion after a referendum on the issue failed because too few people turned out to vote. But of those who did vote, the majority approved.
I can understand the panic state of republicans. But Democrats need to come up with more clarity as well. When they are majority, they better push for the right strategy.