The new funding bill put to Congress this week is a ghastly representation of politics' nastiness. There are so many problems with this legislation that it's difficult to know where to begin. Read an excellent Washington Post piece here.
It includes enough war funding only to keep the Iraq war up and running through next year (at $124 billion of your hard-earned tax payments). That's fine and well, and at least proves that the Democrats are really, really serious about ending this thing.
The bill gets ugly when the Democrats start enticing Congressional members who would otherwise oppose this appropriation and vote for more funding, with home-district earmarks. The inclusion of extraneous earmarks is contemptable in and of itself, but this tactic goes immorally further by compromising Congressmen's integrity. For example, if Johnny Representative favors continued Iraq engagement, he still might vote for the current fund-cutting bill because a Democrat slipped in an earmark worth several million bucks in economic assistance for his district. It becomes a choice between war ideology and easy cash to buy votes.
There are many differing options as to how much, and for how long, Congress should fund this conflict, but the addition of juicy home-district earmarks may compromise members of Congress who ideologically support continued military presence in Iraq to vote their conscience. In a time when ideology on the war is so important to American voters, votes on war funding should be separate appropriations bills where Representatives express their feelings on the war with no strings attached. This is politics at its worst.
We're not sure how, but opposing the war with such dramatic tactics could still dangerously backfire.