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Thursday, Sept. 15, 2005 05:57 pm

Gutless Beltway Democrats

Why the opposition party won't stand up to Bush

Excuse me, but has anyone seen the Democratic Party?

An outrageous war of lies rages in Iraq, nearly 2,000 American troops have died there, Iraq itself is spiraling down into civil war and theocracy, a growing majority of Americans now see President George W. Bush’s policy for the disastrous deceit that it is, and grassroots America is alive with a burgeoning peace movement. But where are the congressional Democrats?

AWOL, that’s where — cowering in indecision and fear. Instead of standing up to the ideological extremism of the Bush administration and giving the public a rallying point for antiwar action, the Beltway Democrats are just sitting there, quiet and motionless. They say they fear that opposition to Bush might make them appear to be “weak on war.”

Great galloping gutlessness! What about weak on peace? What about weak on principle, on integrity, on leadership, on political backbone? The majority of Americans are now against Bush’s war and believe that it has made America less secure. Whatever happened to the notion that at least one party in Congress should represent the will of the people, especially when the other party is so dead wrong?

Luckily, many Democrats are not waiting on their weak-kneed “leaders.” U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, for example, is out front for bringing the troops home. U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey of California has also stepped up — her amendment in May calling for an exit strategy drew 123 Democratic votes (and five Republicans), and she is holding unofficial hearings on Capitol Hill this month to debate withdrawal from Bush’s deadly quagmire. Also, state Democratic parties are taking action — Arizona recently became the seventh state party to call both for bringing our troops home and fully funding veterans benefits.

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