From Arianna Huffington’s interview with Nancy Pelosi:
Over the course of the interview, Pelosi made three specific promises on the question of funding the war and on the Congressional battle over FISA: 1) that the House will not take up a war appropriations bill this year 2) that there will be no war appropriations bill next year that doesn’t include a fixed date for bringing the troops home 3) that House Democrats will put up a major fight over the Bush administration’s desire to make permanent the FISA law passed in August, particularly over the issue of retroactive immunity that the Senate has already given in on.
A couple of weeks ago Pach, Stoller and I went see Pelosi get an award from PFAW just after the floor vote on SCHIP. She was glowing with victory and the audience gave her a standing ovation. The three of us just looked at each other stony faced, knowing this was all kabuki and that the House did not have the votes to override Bush’s veto. While I’m delighted that Pelosi is promising that there will be no appropriations bill that does not include mandatory troop withdrawal, I fear it is just more of the same. Recently the House put forward a FISA bill that does not have retroactive telecom immunity but the Senate has already added it in, and word has it that Steny Hoyer is working furiously to make sure it passes in the House. The fact of the matter is that Pelosi has no control over her Bush Dogs, and Steny Hoyer has built his power base in the House by raising a lot of money for his fellow representatives, particularly freshmen. He negotiated the deal with the Republicans to take timetables out in the first place (PDF), replacing them with benchmarks for the Iraqi government instead. Brilliant move. That one worked out really well, didn’t it.
We were supposed to be all giddy over what we are told is a largely for show FISA bill that will turn out to be worse than the one in August, giving criminals in the telecom industry immunity for breaking the law and in the process creating huge profit centers for themselves. We’re supposed to clap while all the Democrats scowl at Republican boogeymen who won’t vote for children’s healthcare when they say nothing about members of their own party they can’t even manage to whip.
I hope she’s serious. Because I really don’t think we’re interested in kicking that particular football any more.