Today's Blogs

Courting a Veto

Bloggers debate the timetable-laden Iraq war-spending bill, weigh in on farm subsidies, and discuss the prospects of Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s same-sex marriage bill.

Courting a veto:  House and Senate Democrats agreed to a supplemental funding bill for the Iraq war with a provision to begin the “phased redeployment” of U.S. troops starting Oct. 1. President Bush has vowed to veto it. Bloggers analyze the Democrats’ tactics.

Liberals and conservatives have, unsurprisingly, differing views on the public reaction. Fester at lefty blog The Newshoggers calls the timetable “a political goldmine for Democrats. This is a clear distinction between the two parties, and the public will not be paying intimate attention to the details. …[T]he American public will see that Democrats are trying to end the war.” But B.T. at right-leaning Ankle Biting Pundits predicts a different response: “They’re finally showing who they are and what they’re about, and they’re not about anything associated with victory for America or Iraqis.  What’s funny is the nutroots’ insistence the American people will like that message. … They’ve made their stand firmly on the side of failure. I say let them stay there and reap the consequences of publicly hoping and planning for our defeat.”

Bloggers also wonder about that promised veto. Highlighting an AP story that points out that there is no hard deadline for troop removal, Rob at righty Say Anything says Bush should just sign the bill: “The ‘showdown’ between Bush and the Dems over Iraq isn’t beginning, it’s over. Bush won.  Now all he needs to do is claim his victory. The Democrats blinked, and for all their bluster the most anti-war element they could muster for this bill is a ‘non binding’ withdrawal deadline.” Sean Aqui at moderate Donklephant foresees a Democratic white flag: “Neither side really wants an immediate, precipitous pullout, so each is hoping the other will blink first…So if it comes to pure stubborn, expect Congress to blink first. And then expect a short-term funding bill that will see this debate renewed — with firmer Congressional resolve if the surge is going badly — in the fall.”

Read more about the Iraq appropriation.

Agri-vation: A New York Times Magazine article by Michael Pollan blames federal subsidies of staples such as corn and soybeans for contributing to obesity: Processed junk food is cheaper per calorie than healthier produce. Bloggers swap agricultural policy suggestions.

Classical liberal Brad Warbiany attributes Pollan’s subject of critique to dirty politicking on The Liberty Papers: “If you think the government really wants you to be healthier, ask them why they don’t repeal farm subsidies? Maybe you’ll realize that they don’t have your best interests at heart, they’re looking to reward the people who get them elected. Farmers have more lobbying money than the health nuts, so they get their goods and— as usual— poor people get screwed.”

DairyQueen at sustainable eating blog The Ethicurean assesses the article’s bearing on ethanol production: “The 2007 Farm Bill offers the most significant chance to revamp the food system in a way that would scale back our agricultural system to more like “four-Earth” greedy… Corn-based ethanol is not the solution to our energy crisis, nor is fat-powered biodisel from factory farms. They just swap one problem for another, and they make the same people rich. Let’s put more land into conservation, not take it out to grow more resource-intensive corn.”

Read more about the farm bill.

For Spitzer or for poorer: New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is making good on a campaign promise with plans to introduce a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. Bloggers speculate about the bill’s political viability.

Kip, a New York City resident posting on A Stitch in Haste, gives the proposal a grim prognosis: “Members of the Democratic majority in the Assembly vote exactly the way Speaker Sheldon Silver instructs them to, while Republican state senators unquestioningly obey Majority Leader Joe Bruno. The legislative agenda itself, meanwhile, is directly (and exclusively) negotiated by Silver and Bruno, along with the governor. … And Bruno is on the record as being opposed to same-sex marriage. … So in that sense the bill has already been defeated.”

Liberal Josh Ing at Joshing Politics notes that even a legislative failure will advance the cause: “Spitzer may be biting off more than he can chew with all the other controversial legislation on the table. Yet it is good to see he is following his principles when it comes to this hot button issue. Even if the bill does not make it into law this session, it puts the question in the minds of New Yorkers that we need to make marriage and its benefits available to anyone that wants to live together for eternity or something like that.”

Read more about Spitzer’s plan.