Democracy Has Prevailed.

February 19, 2007

My Interview with Congressman Mike Doyle

I was lucky enough to get 90 minutes of Congressman Mike Doyle's time this weekend. We sat at a small table in a thankfully warm coffee shop on Walnut street - I had a small decaf while he had a large coffee (with a refill, in fact. It was a long chat).

We talked about the Iraq Resolution, Speaker Pelosi's plane, and Impeachment.

The Iraq Resolution

I asked about first about H.Con.Res.63. Let's take a look at the resolution itself, to see what's in it and what isn't. Here it is in its entirety.

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That--

(1) Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and

(2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.

Very simple. Part one to support the troops and part two to disapprove of the president's decision to escalate. As I said, very simple. We can guess where the the Congressman is coming from based on what he said on the House floor this week:
Madam Speaker, as someone who has opposed this misguided diversion from the War on Terror from the very beginning, I believe it's way past time for our country to take stock of where we've been, where we are, and where we're going in Iraq.

I think it's important to remember how we got here. President Bush told Congress and the American People:

That Saddam had weapons of mass destruction;

That Saddam was an imminent threat to the United States ;

That Saddam had ties to al Qaeda and the 9/11 attackers;

That we would be greeted as liberators;

That the invasion, occupation, and reconstruction would cost us nothing - and that Iraqi oil revenues would cover all the costs; and

That the invasion and reconstruction of Iraq would transform the Middle East into a region composed of peaceful democracies.

So where are we today?

We know that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. We know that Saddam posed no imminent threat to the United States . We know that Saddam had no operational relationship with al Qaeda. 80 percent of the Iraqi people want us to leave their country.
The nonbinding resolution passed the House 246-182. There were 17 Republicans who voted in favor of the resolution (in spite of what Doyle caled "feverish" work of the Republicans to keep in control of all their members) and 2 Democrats voted against. I asked the Congressman the "goldilocks" question (was the resolution too strong? too weak? just right?) and the first thing he said was that if it was the only thing the House was going to do, he'd have voted against it - it's only the first step.

While he said he feels that the public is "ahead of us on this" and called it a vote of no confidence for the president's new strategy - a bipartisan one at that.

The second step, he said, was found with Congressman John Murtha's plans for the Pentagon budget. It clearly supports the troops, Doyle said, as they won't be sent into harm's way without the proper training or equipment or rest. It'll set some rules for the Pentagon to follow before sending any more troops into battle.

The third step, as outlined by Doyle, would be to redeploy the troops in the area - keep a multinational force over there to contain the civil war. Staying there, he said, only keeps Iraq's Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki from making the tough decisions on securing his own country. While we're there, Doyle said, we're his police force. What al-Maliki wants is for the US to "build him an invincible police force before we leave."

He brought up how Republicans always point out how the Democrats don't have a plan. Here's mine, he said: Contain the civil war and stabilize the region through heavy diplomacy. We can do that with about 50,000 troops in the region.

He brought up an interesting point - one that should probably be emphasized. He said there are two camps in considering Iraq's place in the war on terror. Camp one says that Iraq is definitely a huge part of the war on terror. The president and his backers hold this position. Camp two says that the war in Iraq is a diversion. Doyle places himself in this camp.

Like a lot of contentious discussions, neither side can accept the other's general position, so it's impossible to settle things.

The Pelosi Smear

When I asked about Speaker Pelosi's airplane (and the "scandal" surrounding it), Doyle began with two words "buncha crap." He went on to restate the facts that everyone but those who only get their news from the Washington Times and Brit Hume; The Sargent-at-Arms Bill Livingood (a 31 year veteran of the Secret Service and elected during the 104th Congress, by the way) is the one who made the inquiries into the travel arrangements and so on.

We all know the story, by now.

Doyle said it was kind of funny when the story first broke, but once they got to see how brutal it was, it became annoying. Doyle, though, added that they (meaning the Republicans who're trying their best to keep this "story" alive) want to talk about anything (ANYTHING!) but the war in Iraq. This is the best they can scrape together.


We talked abit about the "I" word. Doyle pointed out that his "legacy will never be to make Dick Cheney President." And that's the basis of his thought on impeachment.

Obviously with the word posted above the logo on this blog, we feel a little different, but that's OK.

Doyle feels that impeachment would be a diversion that would only serve to boost the president's approval ratings as his core would rally around him, taking with them, probably, a sizeable number of moderate republicans with them.

The real damage to be done is through strict oversight (and on this we, of course, agree). Once all the corruption is uncovered (for example how much taxpayer money's been wasted in Iraq) those guilty will be leaving office humiliated. Impeachment would inevitably be spun as a political circus. Oversight hearings will prove the charges.


Anonymous said...

Why didn't you ask him about his position on a woman's right to choose how to handle her own body, Dayvoe?

Why didn't you ask him about his vote in favor of a constitutional amendment to restrict freedom of political speech in the form of flag burning?

That's OK, you wouldn't have liked his answers anyway.

Anonymous said...

You asked about impeachment for the wrong executive official. After the Libby trial, I think it's pretty clear that Cheney has committed "high crimes and misdemeanours."


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Anonymous said...

"Camp two says that the war in Iraq is a diversion. Doyle places himself in this camp."
What are we specifically being diverted from?

Dayvoe said...


The war in Iraq is a diversion from the War on Terror.


Philip Shropshire said...

You could actually move to impeach both President Bush and Dick Cheney at the same time. Pelosi could promise to turn over the seat in 2008...

Anonymous said...

Yes, and you could move the Rose Bowl to Statten Island, but it won't ever happen. Wouldn't be practical.