Nearly two months ago — as Congress began debate over a non-binding resolution that sought to put lawmakers on the record as to whether they supported escalation — conservatives complained that it was a “debate without any real consequence.” They derided the debate over the non-binding resolution as “a meaningless political stunt” and pure “political theater.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL) called on the majority to produce a substantive proposal:
BOEHNER: “Why don’t we have the real debate and have the real vote and do it now? Let’s get out of the shadow boxing. Let’s get away from the non- binding resolution. Let’s get away from the slow bleed. Let’s just have the real debate that the American people want us to have and bring it to an end.” [CNN, 2/16/07]
PUTNAM: “If you’re not cutting off the funds for the troops in the field, then you are supporting the commander in chief’s policy. This gamesmanship sends the wrong message to our troops, and it is trying to have it both ways.’’ [SF Chronicle, 2/7/07]
This week, House Democrats did what the conservatives had been asking for. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced a legislative plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by August 2008 at the latest, tying the proposal to the authorization of funding for the war.
So how did Boehner and Putnam react to the news that Congress could now engage in a “real debate”? By shifting their attacks and blaming Congress for taking the action that they had been encouraging just weeks earlier:
BOEHNER: “The Democrats are using the critical troop funding bill to micromanage the war on terror, undermining our generals on the ground and slowly choking off resources for our troops. [Press Conference, 3/8/07]
PUTNAM: “Democrats have put forward a haphazardly created proposal that micromanages the war now in order to slowly bleed off funds for our troops later.” [Statement, 3/8/07]
Because House conservatives’ are so desperate to avoid an Iraq debate and provide cover for Bush’s Iraq policy, their hypocrisy knows no bounds.