Obama, Clinton and the Vote for Funding

The biggest question is whether Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama vote for or against the supplemental funding of the war. I would bet that, in the end, both of them vote against it. Neither of them can afford to let John Edwards (or Chris Dodd for that matter) be the candidates that would end the war now. But especially Obama, as that's a big part of his brand, his credibility and his campaign.

To date, Obama and Clinton have voted identically on supporting the war. Just last month, Obama framed the debate over cutting off funding as one over the troops and "night vision goggles and armored Humvees and other equipment they need," including the mistaken claim that "the vast majority of Democrats" are not interested in cutting funding.

A week later, poll numbers came out showing the exact opposite of what Obama stated. That, in fact, a vast majority of Democrats want to cut funding for the war, the Independents are split on the issue, and even 20% of the Republicans want to end funding of the war.

Notwithstanding Obama's defending his past votes in favor of Iraq funding in March, and even Clinton and Obama's vote in favor of Republican Senator Gregg's Iraq resolution, which argues that Congress has a constitutional duty to fully fund troops during wartime; even with that, if Obama doesn't vote against the funding I'll be shocked, Clinton too.

I really like the Obama of 2003:

"When I was asked, 'Would I have voted for the $87 billion,' I said 'no,' " Obama said in a speech before a Democratic community group in suburban Chicago in November 2003. "I said 'no' unequivocally because, at a certain point, we have to say no to George Bush. If we keep on getting steamrolled, we're not going to stand a chance."

I don't really like the Obama of March, 2007:
Obama explained that position yesterday by saying that his initial opposition to the $87 billion was based on the fact that $20 billion of that sum was earmarked for reconstruction projects that he feared would be awarded by the White House in no-bid contracts.
He said that because he was trying to maintain a thread of voting for funding of the war (or "of the troops" as he would say) throughout his career that was consistent and principled. He'll find away around that, he has too.

Obama will change his position, and in fact, he has an easy out. Bush veto'd the congressional decision, and that changed the whole equation. If Bush is going to say 'no compromise' then the war is no longer going to be funded.

Remember in 2003, when the Senate members, running against Dean while his campaign gained momentum, voted against the funding resolutions? Edwards was the first then, even ahead of Dean, in saying no more funding. It was in large part what equalized the Iraq issue in Iowa for Kerry and Edwards--Dean no longer had the high ground.

There's even less support for the war now in the Democratic Party. Obama wants to win the Democratic nomination and is not going to let Edwards or Dodd grab the ball and be the voice/vote ending the war. Maybe, in voting against any further funding, Obama will get his 2002-03 voice back too-- that would be a good thing.

Tags: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton (all tags)



Re: Obama, Clinton and the Vote for Funding

Okay, so is this bill going to be filibustered, and who do we have so far who are definite "no" votes in the senate.

Note to the senators:  we are watching you!

by jgarcia 2007-05-23 08:36PM | 0 recs
You Got the Magic Word

Jerome, you're on the right track, but you're not thinking dynamically enough here. If Dodd joins Feingold (most likely), Sanders, Byrd, and Kerry in mounting a filibuster, he will instantly transform his Democratic presidential campaign for the better.

But as long as one senator starts the ball rolling, one of the Senate presidential contenders will want to jump right in as soon as possible. Being the first counts a lot here, particularly if you're on the undercard.

Will Dodd do the right thing? Will he lead like a president or will he maintain his status as history's footnote?

by BBCWatcher 2007-05-23 08:54PM | 0 recs

This word keeps coming up in the discussions here, but I can't figure out-- has anybody in the Senate actually used it? Is there any reason to believe there will in fact be a filibuster attempt against the bill?

by mcc 2007-05-23 09:43PM | 0 recs
Re: "Filibuster"

Feingold, Boxer, Kennedy and Byrd?  I could see one of those four leading a fillibuster attempt.

by Valatan 2007-05-24 07:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Clinton and the Vote for Funding

Well, if and when Obama votes no, will everyone from mainstream journalists to Greg Sargent (all the people who've been so perplexed by Edwards's welcome evolution on Iraq) wonder why Obama keeps changing his position on funding.

First, he opposed the 87 mill.
Then he said no one wants to "play chicken."
The (if he votes no) he "plays chicken."

That's not just a flip flop; that's a flip flop flip.

And Obama supporters hold their breath...

by david mizner 2007-05-24 03:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Clinton and the Vote for Funding

'Playing chicken' had to do with the Congress sending the same bill back and naively hoping Bush caved. By opposing a weak bill, Obama would not be playing chicken--no more so than Nancy Pelosi, who said she'll vote against it even though she enabled the compromise.

Having said that, I don't know how he's going to vote.

by eskimo 2007-05-24 01:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Clinton and the Vote for Funding

Careful Jerome. ObamaEdwards2008 tells me that pointing out how Obama hasn't lead on ending the military action in Iraq since getting to the senate by having voted for funding bills for Iraq, against time lines for withdrawal and benchmarks and for the Gregg amendment is "trollish."


by Quinton 2007-05-23 08:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Clinton and the Vote for Funding

Yes, Obama and Clinton need to vote the right way.

by rikyrah 2007-05-23 08:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Clinton and the Vote for Funding

I thought his was the position to fund it through to the end of the year-- at least that's what I heard at the DNC winter convo; maybe I missed the update. I tell you, not funding it is going to be the de facto Democratic stance by the end of the year for all of those that want the Democratic nomination, if not sooner.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-05-23 09:00PM | 0 recs
Vote for Funding

I've always thought that there are two good arguments against continuing to fund the Iraq war-

#1- Military force isn't going to bring about the desired result.  It never works against these insurgencies, especially in places like Iraq with their extremely complex ethnic and religious and political dyamics.

#2- Even if the war was a great idea, we can't trust the Bush administration to carry out the war honestly and competently.

by global yokel 2007-05-23 09:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Clinton and the Vote for Funding

We are waiting for leadership out of Iraq and Obama waters down his best point?

by Bob Brigham 2007-05-23 09:26PM | 0 recs
I don't agree with you on Kerry, Edwards and Dean

I don't think that the vote on funding equalized the war issue. A certain percentage of anti-war Democrats simply would not consider caucusing for anyone who voted for the AUMF resolution. They were for Dean and Kucinich.

A larger group of anti-war Democrats simply did not consider that AUMF vote a deal-breaker. Maybe domestic policy issues were more salient for them. Maybe they recognized that Bush manipulated the timing of that vote, and the debate, in order to put Democrats in a tough spot before the 2002 elections.

Whatever the reason, a whole lot of anti-war Democrats did not agree with what Kerry and Edwards said to justify their votes for the AUMF, but were willing to look past that.

At the same time, I don't think these voters would have pretended that Kerry or Edwards took as strong an anti-war stance as Dean or Kucinich. (I know I would never have said that, nor did I ever try to use that argument in persuading people to caucus for Kerry.) So the ground was not "equalized" on Iraq.

by desmoinesdem 2007-05-23 10:02PM | 0 recs
Its a difficult choice for Obama

first being relatively outspoken (2007, not 2003) that cutting funding is irresponsible and second with his strong support of benchmarks as a useful tool (see his withdrawal bill).

His out seems to be as Jerome suggested that Bush won't compromise and also that these benchmarks dont have the teeth that his own have.

The question though is whether he feels more pressure to make a strong anti-war statement and vote no or does he feel more pressure to cut off any future criticism that he cut funding for the troops. By his recent rhetoric, it would seem he would vote yes, but political realities may dictate otherwise.

Unfortunately I don't think this is a vote either he or Hillary wanted to have to make, whichever way they vote.

by okamichan13 2007-05-23 10:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Its a difficult choice for Obama

It's not just politics. He is genuinly concerned about the troops.

by Populism2008 2007-05-24 01:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Its a difficult choice for Obama

Not saying he isn't at all, but when you are running for president whoever you are, politics is always a consideration.

by okamichan13 2007-05-24 05:33AM | 0 recs
Obama's easy way out?

I disagree.  He may have no easy way out.

Obama has said that we must be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in.  That was part of his justification for voting for Gregg and against Kerry-Feingold last year.  

Bush's veto should not theoretically change his position regarding funding itself, assuming he is going to be true to the principle he espoused, unless it was an exercise in expediency.

Voting against funding now will be the right vote,  but can open him up to questions about whether he was/is being opportunistic.

Based on his rhetoric, contrasted to his actions, these questions may be legitimate, a proper result from him holding himself out as superior to Clinton, Edwards and Dodd on the war issue.

by citizen53 2007-05-23 10:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's easy way out?

He is the only candidate with a clean record on Iraq.

Against the war, then taking responsibility for it.

I think he will vote "yes" and then keep pushing for a new course over the summer.

by Populism2008 2007-05-24 01:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's easy way out?

The guy ran for the Senate saying he wouldn't vote for funding the war -- and has voted to fund it 100% of the time.  Sorry, I have a difficult time believing Obama would have actually voted against the AUMF had he been in the Senate.  That one, single, unrepeated speech is the only thing that makes him different from Hillary on the war.

by philgoblue 2007-05-24 04:59AM | 0 recs
You inspired me, Jerome

Because of this diary, I just gave Obama $250.00. Thanks.

by RandyMI 2007-05-23 11:23PM | 0 recs
Re: You inspired me, Jerome

Because of this post, I just gave $500.00 to Edwards.

by Vox Populi 2007-05-24 02:44AM | 0 recs
I just gave $1000 to Mike Gravel!

Okay ... so I didn't really do it.

by dpANDREWS 2007-05-24 03:52AM | 0 recs

I just chipped in another $250 to Barack.

by RandyMI 2007-05-24 07:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Ok

My entire family just maxed out to Hillary.

by Vox Populi 2007-05-24 08:34AM | 0 recs

by RandyMI 2007-05-24 01:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Clinton and the Vote for Funding

I think that he will vote to continue funding for the troops.  That would be his most consistant path. He has yet to pander to the base.  

by aiko 2007-05-23 11:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Clinton and the Vote for Funding

This is a lose/lose situation for Hillary and Obama, but its a win/win for Edwards/Richardson.

by sepulvedaj3 2007-05-23 11:57PM | 0 recs
Of course it is much easier for Edwards

to shout from the sidelines. While on the pitch he pushed for the war, even cosponsoring it. Who knows what his positions would be if he actually was in the Senate?

Perhaps/probably Edwards is honest, but he also has a big advantage of being on the outside.

by Populism2008 2007-05-24 01:48AM | 0 recs
That is so not true!

Whatever Edwards does is just as much under a microscope as the rest of them. Being in or not has little to do with it, they all running for the same office of the Presidency.

If that is true than Obama should stop trying to make everyone believe he wouldn't have vote for it in the first place.   After all he has said that he    didn't have all the information that the others had, that he can't really say, yet he tries to campaign continually on his stance - with no vote to support it.

by dk2 2007-05-24 06:33AM | 0 recs
Re: That is so not true!

As I've pointed out before, Obama has every right to say that he opposed, was against, thought the war was a bad idea because he spoke out against it in detail on more than one occasion in 2002.

Twenty-three senators voted against authorization, including Senate Intelligence Chairman Bob Graham. I doubt anybody who said the war was a bad idea ended up voting for the authorization.

by eskimo 2007-05-24 01:25PM | 0 recs
Not impressive

Well you can dream when you are half a world away from Washington.

by Populism2008 2007-05-24 01:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Clinton and the Vote for Funding

Wanna bet Kerry tries to filibuster this?  I really wish he'd won in '04 :(

by Illustrious 2007-05-24 01:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Clinton and the Vote for Funding

and I really wish Dean had won...

by aiko 2007-05-24 04:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Clinton and the Vote for Funding

Fair point. :)

by Illustrious 2007-05-24 04:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Clinton and the Vote for Funding

I really wish Edwards had won!

by dk2 2007-05-24 06:34AM | 0 recs

I think that Obama will vote "yes" and then keep pushing for a new course over the summer. Clinton will vote "yes" and then stay inactive.

The only way to stop this war is to put pressure on Republicans. GWB doesn't care about the polls, about the people, or anything. He will continue his way regardless. There will be veto after veto after veto, and Obama knows this.

by Populism2008 2007-05-24 01:56AM | 0 recs
Re: "yes"

"Yes" is still "yes" regardless of what comes next.  Obama will vote, as he has multiple times, to continue the war he allegedly detests.

by Vox Populi 2007-05-24 02:45AM | 0 recs
A warped reality?

How is one "yes" okay with you while another "yes" seems not okay with you?  Is there anything Barry Obama can do you tick you off?  

by dpANDREWS 2007-05-24 03:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Clinton and the Vote for Funding

I don't think that Obama's vote here is too important.  What matters more than funding is how exactly we get out of this war.

If you look at former colonies of the british empire you can see the danger in simply leaving without any thought for the Iraqis at all.

Democrats currently have the power to send legislation to Bush, I'd like to see something with a little more thought put into it than a lack of funding or timetables.  I'd like to see a plan for getting out of Iraq that is better than "we just leave".

by sterra 2007-05-24 03:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Clinton and the Vote for Funding

It's so easy to be John Edwards or even Chris Dodd right now- When you're not a front runner you have nothing to lose-and Edwards doesn't even have a job-he truly has nothing to lose-We see how differently Obama responds when his vote has real consequences-not so simplistic these decisions.  Arm chair quarterbacks don't always belong in the real game.

by Menemshasunset 2007-05-24 04:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Clinton and the Vote for Funding

Sorry, that argument makes absolutely no sense.  Edwards and Dodd have plenty to lose -- the Presidency of the United States of America!

And, you and Big Media might not see it, but Edwards is doing so well in Iowa that there is a faction within the Clinton camp that wants to throw in the towel 7 months out and the meme from the Obama-bloggers is that they're now shooting for second place.

by philgoblue 2007-05-24 04:56AM | 0 recs
Hogwash - not true

they are all running for the same office and Edwards is just a much at risk even more so for speaking out because his fellow democratic candidate can try and use what he says, just like what you are trying to do.

He has a double edge sword to fight not being in the Congress, yet he is the one pushing withdrawal and has made the others come to the table.

by dk2 2007-05-24 06:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Clinton and the Vote for Funding

They can't vote against it because it's terrible policy to give this failure of a "president" a blank check in the fifth year of Bush's War after the November Democratic Revolution, they have to do it because they can't "afford to let John Edwards" become the clear anti-war candidate?

That's some leadership Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton!

by philgoblue 2007-05-24 04:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Clinton and the Vote for Funding

When you're behind and distant third in most of the country you have to stand out- that's the game- Edward's is a swell guy but that's the nature of politics- sorry -

by Menemshasunset 2007-05-24 05:43AM | 0 recs
It isn't that hard if you value your country more

than your political career.  Which is what the problem is for many that won't stand up to President Bush.

Are they for America and the will of the American people or are they going to be like Ostrichs with their heads in the sand - hoping it all passes away without an attention drawn to themselve.

Edwards is the one showing courage, great courage, if nothing else he is the main target by the right wing and a target of R MSM, it is obvious in the attacks on him that they do not want him to win Iowa - everyone of them thinking he is out if he doesn't.  He is the one taking the heat - while Obama and Clinton can pander and ponder.

by dk2 2007-05-24 06:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Clinton and the Vote for Funding

Obama has to vote no to differentiate himself from Hillary and keep his progressive base.  Regardless of his prior comments, a yes vote here would be terrible for his candidacy.

Regarding worries about a "flip-flop," I think in the general election, Republicans are going to want to try and keep attention away from Iraq because their records are much worse.  I don't think Obama voting no here will be an issue.

by dmfox 2007-05-24 05:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, Clinton and the Vote for Funding

I am going to take a different track here and say that I think both Obama and Hillary will vote for this bill. I hope I am wrong but this is my reasoning:

Obama needs to vote for the bill to prove that he has a consistent position as many have previously stated. Other than his pre-Senate anti-war position he has consistently funded the troops.

Hillary nullified any potential rebellion for her supporting the bill yesterday by demonstrating much needed leadership in requesting that the Pentagon brief the Senate about existing Iraq withdraw plans or explain why no such plans exist. So I think she will support the bill. However, she needs to shake things up and may very well surprise everyone.

Honestly I want all of them to oppose this bill. If it gives one candidate or the other an edge for the nomination it matters very little to me. Frankly this war should no longer be about politics. We need to take the moral high ground regardless of where the politics may fall.

The Democratic party needs to stand up, assert itself and show the citizenry what we are really made of. These meager mealy-mouthed spine challenged so-called current leaders of our party do it and our country a great disservice.

Progressive requires Progress!

by JustaDem 2007-05-24 06:53AM | 0 recs
Let's see if...

Obama puts his money where his mouth is (literally).

by LnGrrrR 2007-05-24 08:37AM | 0 recs


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