Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Poll: Sizable U.S. Majorities Want Congress to Cut War Funds

A new poll by the Washington Post shows that a sizable majority of the U.S. public wants Congress to cut funding for the war/occupation of Iraq.  Only 27% favor giving the president the full $190 billion he has requested.  I guess Congress isn’t listening.  The power of the purse is the way to stop this war and that is why the Framers gave Congress that power.

The same poll showed that most Americans favor the S-CHIP expansion that Congress just passed and Bush has threatened to veto. Well, we already knew the president wasn’t listening to the people.  He has said repeatedly that his reelection in ’04 was his only “accountability moment.”  But maybe Congress should try to override this veto.  We have the votes in the Senate. So far, the House falls 2 dozen short of the needed 2/3 majority–but maybe those Representatives (ALL of whom must stand for reelection next year) will read the polls–or listen to floods of phone calls.  As Oscar Wilde said, “the prospect of a hanging in the morning wonderfully concentrates the mind.”

The Washington Post poll showed Bush at new lows in approval ratings, but Congress even lower.   The public is rates Congressional Republicans lower than Democrats, but not by much.  Much of the disatisfaction with Congress is over a failure to end the war.  That should tell Congress something.  It should also tell presidential candidates something–the refusal of Clinton, Obama, or Edwards to commit to having all troops home by 2013(!!!) is likely to anger their base.  If discouraged, that base could stay home or not work hard to “get out the vote” in the general election–and if the general election is close, that will spell defeat.  Didn’t the Democrats find out with Kerry that if the two candidates sound nearly as hawkish in foreign policy, the public will vote Republican? 

It’s hard to end an unpopular war.  About 70% of the public now want this war over–which is about the same as had turned against the Vietnam War by ’68–and yet that monstrosity dragged on for 7 more years!! God help us.

October 2, 2007 - Posted by | Iraq, just peacemaking


  1. Excellent post. Two points:
    1. The big three were forced into a corner, how can you promise what’s going to happen in the future? You can only say what you would like to be able to do. Remember “No new taxes!”?
    2. I’ve been thinking about 1968, there are some parallels to 2008. We changed parties in the White House, but the war dragged on.

    Comment by kip | October 2, 2007

  2. A high percentage want to “cut” funding. Most still want to fund some presence in Iraq. Where do you fall? Are you against the overwhelming majority? You are hiding your minority position behind the stats. Polls recently showed modest approval of Petraeus’ surge. You also don’t point to the falling death counts in this war, nor do you seem concerned about the expansion of the ‘war’ that would surely follow a US withdrawal. Your “pacifism” is causing you to mis-characterize the situation as a war and may ironically cause a real one. This is why the Democratic candidates are sensibly talking about long-range scale down. We are still in Kosovo, as I pointed out, where roadside bombs are going off as well. Peace and stability takes time and infrastructure.

    And it’s no surprise that the mobocracy eagerly wants to vote themselves more entitlements. That’s why they don’t have the ‘power of the purse’ through referendum in our goverment. SCHIP expansion is fiscally irresponsible. It is clear it will cause many middle class Americans to switch to the dole (including me). Medicaid and the current program are sufficient even underutilized. The President’s $7500 insurance credit de-linking insurance from employment is the somewhat radical reform you should be supporting. Add to that inter-state competition in health insurance to lower rates.

    Expanding the welfare state to the middle class is fiscally irresponsible when we are already under heavy burden of future entitlements(and like it or not Iraq reconstruction and security). Heartless Bush has already been compassionate enough with Medicare prescription drug coverage. We do not need anymore permanent expansions of government spending (Iraq is not) which is what this is. The dollar won’t be able to take it.

    Comment by slim | October 2, 2007

  3. WE are not still in Kosovo: NATO and UN troops are. Since I believe the U.S. presence as occupiers is fueling the insurgence, I want rapid removal of all our troops coupled with an international force entering as peacekeepers until Iraq is able to handle its own security. The comparison with the former Yugoslavia is not really apropo: There civil war was started without any outside help and it took outside help to get it to end (although I am not sure that a military invasion was the best form of that help). But in the case of Iraq, the U.S. and the “Coalition of the Willing” invaded and set-up the conditions for civil war–making our presence a constant fuel for insurgency.

    Naturally, I am happy with the 1 month lower deaths (although I wonder if they were achieved by poor counting methods as they were with the Petraeus report). Whether such will continue, I don’t know.

    I AM concerned that chaos will follow our withdrawal–but I think there is a good chance that will happen no matter how far in the future we finally leave.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | October 2, 2007

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