One of the things we have admired about those who represent us in Congress is their willingness to stand by their convictions and our best interests and vote accordingly. Really? Wouldn’t it be great if we could write that with a straight face? Wouldn’t it be great if those we sent to Congress were men and women of principle and high values? Wouldn’t we like them to be selfless and concerned only with what is best for their constituents? Those hopes stand about as much of a chance of becoming reality as world peace and universal love. Let’s get real. We allowed those who represent us to become part of an elite ruling class more concerned with self-preservation than with true representation. It is only by happenstance that our interests sometimes converge with theirs. In fact, a study recently published by Princeton University states that we are no longer an actual democracy, but rather an autocracy. They work very hard to create the illusion of representation while in fact placing most of their efforts in raising funds to perpetuate that illusion during their next re-election campaign. In todays Congress the public committee hearing has become one of the favorite vehicles for self-aggrandizing and self-serving visibility. The GOP-lead Congress has truly played the committee hearing card to its extreme with unabashed enthusiasm. It, after all, provides them with the most visible platform to make statements that while securing the love and support of their constituents, requires no actual proof or substantiation. Most importantly, it allows them to look like they are working on behalf of their constituents while never actually having to vote on anything, like perhaps legislation, that they might have to defend in the next election. Another favorite vehicle for this kind of faux official behavior is the Sunday talk show circuit. The undisputed king of this method is John McCain He is also the undisputed GOP expert on everything related to war and peace. However, while he talks a good game on Iraq, he is not willing to put his vote where his mouth is.
It has been very interesting over the past few days that while he and the once and always neocons have been pushing for more US involvement in the current Iraq crisis, they have made it clear that they believe that the President has authority to do what he wants without coming back to Congress for approval. Yet, they have wasted no time in criticizing the President for his tentativeness and his less than full-throated commitment to do whatever is necessary to defend Iraq. Why all of a sudden are they willing to yell from the sidelines and allow the President to call the shots, even when his actions aren’t up to their standards? Could it be that they see an opportunity to remove the “Iraq albatross” from around the GOP neck before the 2014, and more importantly, before the 2016 elections?
Let’s go back to 2008 for just a moment to remember how a vote to approve the Iraq war played out on the Democratic side. Here we have Obama clearly stating that he voted against the war, while we have Clinton trying to untie the knot around her neck because she voted in favor of the war. It is clear that this distinction played an important role in the ensuing campaign. Let’s come back to 2014 and see how Obama is dealing with the current situation. He can clearly state that he ended US military involvement in the war in Iraq, thus, cleaning up the GOP Iraq mess. However, if he is compelled to somehow reintroduce US military involvement, it becomes the Democrats’mess. Compound that with the fact that the probable nominee, Hillary Clinton voted for the war as a Senator and you have a great sigh of relief from the GOP in 2016. If it comes back to Congress and the hawkish GOP is forced to vote on any increased US commitment to Iraq, the GOP loses the opportunity to untie the Iraq knot.
However, let’s be clear, this has nothing to do with the overwhelming desire by Americans of both parties to remain uninvolved in the current Iraq debacle. It has everything to do with the fact that recent polls show that 70% of Americans feel that the Iraq war was a mistake. While the autocrats of the GOP still would like us to go back to war, they are afraid that it will impact on their electability. They therefore want to have their cake and eat it too. They want to force Obama to move more aggressively into involvement in Iraq, while they remove themselves from the responsibility of making the decision. It’s simple, they believe in their correctness and their constituents incorrectness. They simply want to create the illusion of supporting their constituents while doing everything they can do to achieve what they believe is correct. I believe the term for that behavior is duplicitous. Shocking that the GOP would behave in this manner.