Shuler Surrenders Oversight To Bush, Votes For Endless Deployment in Iraq

Heath Shuler and the Blue Dog Democrats had this to say last month:

"[The] Democratic Blue Dog Coalition sent a letter today urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership to support the Coalition’s resolution calling for increased fiscal accountability in funding the Iraq war."

Shuler blogged about it at his AC-T site:

"Think about that, four years into this conflict with billions of taxpayer dollars spent, we have troops in Humvees without the protection they need to protect American lives."

Oh, what a difference a month makes:

"In addition to supporting the White House line on Iran, the Blue Dogs want to give Bush a waiver to keep US troops in Iraq indefinitely."

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThe Blue Dog Democrats, a group of like-minded Congressfolks, won a battle within the Democratic Party to allow the President to send unprepared soldiers to Iraq and to extend the war as long as he likes.

NC-11's Congressman Heath Shuler voted with his Blue Dogs, standing together as a mealy-mouthed group unwilling to lead us out of Bush's failure in Iraq. Shuler came out against Bush's conduct of the war back on Valentine's Day:

"The Administration has lacked a clear plan for rebuilding Iraq since day one. And past Congresses have failed to demand accountability and exercise the oversight the Constitution charges them with. In the words of Lt. General Greg Newbold, “Members of Congress--from both parties--defaulted in fulfilling their constitutional responsibility for oversight.”

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketIt looks like the Blue Dog Democrats believe that their constitutional responsibility for oversight ends where the President's whims begin. The Iraq bill does not tie war funding to benchmarks or a reasonable calendar, instead electing to Stay The Course. It also fails to protect our young men and women in uniform by not ensuring that our troops are "fully mission capable". The language added by the Blue Dogs gives Bush permission to send sick and injured troops back to the Iraq civil war.

Daily Kos asks a question that Scrutiny Hooligans put to Congressman Shuler today:

Does the Congressman support requiring that all troops are properly rested, trained and equipped before being sent to Iraq?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketShuler and his Blue Dogs refused to restrain Iraq spending. Back in February he said the Bush administration was irresponsibly spending our money, "That is why I stood with fellow members of the fiscally responsible Blue Dog Caucus to demand greater accountability and responsibility regarding spending for the war in Iraq." Now he's giving Bush a blank check on Iraq and carte blanche to attack Iran.

This is not leadership. Carping against unrestrained spending, poor troop treatment, and a unitary executive and then giving that unitary executive license to treat the troops poorly while spending without restraint? This is the kind of thinking, the kind of spinelessness that lost us the Whitehouse in 2004.

Some of you may remember when held a pro-Shuler, anti-escalation rally outside Shuler HQ in Asheville. The anti-war crowd carried signs trumpeting Shuler's bold statement against Bush's war plans. And now? What should the progressive community, right to oppose this war before it began and still right today, understand about Rep. Shuler's vote? It appears that Shuler wants to be both for and against the war. Shuler and his Blue Dogs voice opposition to the conduct of the war, but they will not move to improve conditions or to bring our troops home.

If you're against it, Congressman Shuler, then put your votes where your mouth is. Otherwise you're surrendering your oversight while claiming outrage. It's not o.k. We notice these things.

Heath's phone numbers are:


On Balance

Up until this week, Shuler's votes were predictable. And while it appeared that his stem-cell vote was purely political, I shrugged and chalked it up to the conservatism of my district.

But when Heath chooses not to hold Bush accountable for his errors, then he's harming our district and our nation. It's no longer shruggable.

I'm a Democrat through and through.
I just wish that Heath was too.

Scrutiny Hooligans -

I agree.

I was disappointed with the stem cell vote, but could go along with it since it made no significant difference (bill still passed). But, here, he and his ilk are standing in the way of what the American people support.

That isn't "centrist", that's "obstructionist".

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Keep on him Screwy

He's got to know that he's not representing the majority of the people that elected him. Come on Heath, good people believed in you and what you said!

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Try to change Shuler's mind, but ...

Try to change Shuler's mind, but please don't try to replace him unless you are really, really sure that whoever beats him in a primary would also beat a Republican.

Even if Kos himself forgets the lesson of Crashing the Gate, the mere presence of Shuler and the Blue Dogs makes Pelosi possible (more possible, anyway).


And I really think that we'll be better off if we don't accuse everyone who worries about the consequences of withdrawal from Iraq of being "mealy-mouthed" sellouts. It is possible for people of good will to come to different conclusions from us, you know. Most of your post sticks to the facts - waivers, lack of rest, training, etc - but tone matters.


Besta é tu se você não viver nesse mundo

Besta é tu se você não viver nesse mundo

Thanks Momo and ge

When someone says one thing one month then votes another way the next month, he is "mealy-mouthed". That's a fact.

I'm really quite over-the-top in my political thinking. I can walk through just about any line of craven political thought without my heartrate going up even a beat.

But when it comes to this war, I have no patience for craven political calculus. Shuler and the Blue Dogs are trying to make it seem as though they oppose Bush but support the troops. Their vote, however, demonstrates quite the opposite.

I'm real glad Shuler voted for the increased minimum wage, for labor organization, for slashing corporate welfare, for cutting taxes on small business, and every other vote (except that anti-science stem-cell junk).

But my greatest pet peeve is when folks pretend to be for one thing while voting against it. This is called lying. I can't bear it. And especially lying about whether he supports Bush and his prosecution of this war.

Scrutiny Hooligans -

I think the Blue Dogs are trying to send a message

that they are more of a force than they really are. They have to side with Republicans in order to do it, though. It's sad, really. Makes it look like they are flexing a bit of muscle with American lives at stake.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I've been saying much the same

about our D7 Rep McIntyre. I am trying to view him positively and not attack him, but it's getting harder and harder to ignore his votes on things that matter...or his lack of interest in things that also matter to many of the OLF.

Here's what I'm thinking...maybe you should file to run against him...and, not caring whether you win or lose, attack him on his voting record and have a forum to be heard.

Ought to scare the snot out of least...or you might actually win.

Stan Bozarth

Not Running

I'll disapprove of the votes that I don't like and support the votes I like.

But the times when Shuler says one thing then does another? I'll call him out every time.

Heath's a good guy, and I'll support him in 2008 - UNLESS - He turns out to be just another lying pol. Then I'll find somewhere else to put my energies.

When Democrats act like Democrats, we ought to reward them. When they act like Republicans, we ought to hold them accountable.

Scrutiny Hooligans -

The thing that's so depressing about all this

is one simple question: Just who the hell IS Heath Shuler? I thought I knew him to be a man of honor who understood that integrity and accountability are the touchstones government. The Blue Dogs have just written the Child King a blank fucking check.

Well you know what? There are lots of us who write checks. In fact, I wrote Heath Shuler a blank check myself back when he needed progressive support to win against Taylor.

There's a last time for everything . . . and that was the last time Mr. Shuler can count on me for support.

I'm with Screwy on this.

Thanks Anglico

I always get a lump in my throat when criticizing Democrats. I worked as hard as anyone to get Heath Shuler elected, and I'm surprised to find him hiding behind the skirts of the Blue Dogs and voting to support the President's war plans.

Y'all know I'm Blue through and through, but I wonder if Shuler is.

Scrutiny Hooligans -

Screwy, this is probably a stupid question, but...

Heath was aware of your efforts to get him elected right? Do you have any contact with his office other than the numbers you posted? It just seems that he's a reasonable guy and maybe you could talk to him and find out what he's thinking. And while you're at it, tell him how disappointed you are and everyone else that contributed to his win. Geez, if we wanted a Republican in that seat, we wouldn't have fought so hard to get him elected.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

I just called Shulers office

and blasted him...through whoever it was in his office taking calls.

Neither Nan nor I put near the effort into his campaign as many others, but we damn sure drove up from Wilmington to Hendersonville and printed and passed out hundreds of flyers and high-gloss post cards to the press and others...and helped get it vlogged with NCDem...and stood in the rain and later made lots of phone calls.

I'm done with supporting him...and his "Blue Dog" pals. They are spitting in the faces of those who actually worked to get them elected. What do they intend to do for 2008 when the activists they've screwed tell them to go find some other dopes to do your hard work for you?

Stan Bozarth

A well-thought Op Ed might be in order.

Listing the times that Bush has been given the benefit of the doubt and what he did with those opportunities.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

I Don't Know What to Think

But one thing I am sure of is - things are not always as they appear.

Rather than speculate, I'd rather give him the opportunity to explain his 'Why'.

Misinformation and Disinformation floats around Washington like pine pollen in the spring.

For me, myself, and I - I'm watching closely and looking - always looking for the 'Why'.

A Few Things

I used to have more contact with Shuler's office in the heady days after the election, but now it appears I'm just another face in the crowd. Part of the reason I wrote this piece was to grab some attention (Hiya Shuler folks!) and let Heath and his crew know that Progressives are still here.

The "Why" seems simple - Blue Dogs are primarily from purple districts, and they want to get reelected. The error in their thinking is the assumption that folks are going to admire their inaction when 2008 rolls around.

If the Republican in the race calls for "troops out now", where will Shuler stand?

Thanks, Stan, for making your voice heard. It's important that we keep our elected officials aware of how their decisions are playing at home.

Op-Eds are great tools.

Shuler's walking a tightrope on Iraq when he could choose to stand on firm, principled ground.

Scrutiny Hooligans -

Rep. Duncan Hunter

I heard HIM saying we needed to get out of Iraq, but that Democrats want to do it the "wrong" way.

I would ask Heath Shuler to read some literature about Vietnam in 1967 or so, when the two sides were saying EXACTLY what they are saying now.

The blood of unprepared, untrained, unequipped soldiers will be on his hands.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Another Vietnam

I hear the 'blah, blah' about, 'We can't leave - it will be another Vietnam.'

Hello!?! It already is another Vietnam - orchestrated in part by the same crew who brought you the first one.

Do you remember when Saigon fell?
I do.

I was relatively young at the time (14) but my initial reaction was, 'OMG. You mean we still have people over there?!?'

Not this time. Iraqnam cannot fall off the American radar. Bring those people home.

Saigon....oh yeah I remember

hubby was there, flew out people by the tons in C-130's. The last flight in their plane was hit and they had to jump as soon as the plane touched down and run like hell. They caught one of the last 130's out, when flying out, they saw the North Vietnamese marching in to the city. He still wakes up screaming covered in sweat to this day....and he was Air Force! (He was also volunteered to rescue the crew of the Myaquez (sp?) which thankfully didn't happen, and to bag the babies when the C-5 crashed...war is hell...for a lifetime for many)

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

a french teacher of mine

actually the only french teacher i had, all 4 years of HS, was vietnamese. Her stories about that time were very interesting. I think she was 10-12 when Saigon fell. She might have been on one of those last flights out from the embassy, but I dont remember. Crazy stories from that time.

What people dont understand about Iraq is that it isnt Vietnam. Vietnam was still very much a war. In large part it was one side against another. In Iraq there are at least 5 sides (including us). Bagdhad will not fall like Saigon did, but it also means that it would be impossible to fully defeat any of the sides.

This isnt a conventional war that will be won or loss. This is a civil war, with political solutions.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"