Monday, March 05, 2007

BREAKING: Iraq Res. Passes House Cmte 6-1

I've been informed by staff for Chair Diane Rosenbaum that House Joint Memorial 9, the Iraq withdrawal bill, has passed out of her Rules, Ethics and Elections committee on a 6-1 vote. The only 'Nay' was delivered by everyone's favorite legislative genius, Kim Thatcher (HD25). Apparently she feels it "sends the wrong message," and we can't send it because we need to "support the troops." I wonder what kind of message it sends to tell the President, "That's OK, you can keep our Guard soldiers as long as you want. Also don't bother training or equipping them properly--and make sure not to fund replenishment of the equipment they need for disaster assistance but which is being used up in Iraq. " I can't be sure, but it may be hard to parse "support the troops" out of that one.

There was a "troop" on the committee; Sal Esquivel (HD6) is a Vietnam veteran from Medford, and apparently he had no qualms about the message he was sending. Vicki Berger (HD20) also passed the bill through to the floor, where it will likely end up getting debate early next week.

Passage seems all but assured; the question that remains will be how many Republicans decide this is an issue worth standing--even symbolically--with the President on. Obviously it's not a typical litmus test for state legislators, election-wise, to choose a stance on the performance of the US President--but in a campaign it would nonetheless be difficult in some districts to attempt a justification for essentially backing the Iraq war as late as spring 2007. By fall 2008, assuming Oregon soldiers are still dying over there, the metaphorical flaming Humvee tire may become a dangerously difficult political object to remove, perhaps even "necklacing" a couple of war-backing Rep.'s along the way.