The vote that never happened
Another Sunday, another hopeless response to a false premise. Is this really that hard?
TIM RUSSERT: Based on what you now know today, do you regret having voted for the war?
SEN. SCHUMER: Well, no Tim, because my vote was seen, and I still see it as a need to say we need to fight a strong and active war on terror...
And then he changed the subject. Absolutely incredible.
Let's replay this interview, but in the universe where DB lives. The part of Tim Russert will be played by Mit Tressur, and Senator Schumer will be replaced with Senator Remuhcs.
MIT TRESSUR: Senator Remuchs, it would appear that "liberal hawks" such as yourself are in a bit of a spot. You are critical of the war, but Republicans point out that you voted for it. Do you regret your vote?
SEN. REMUHCS: Well, Mit, before I can answer that, we need to be clear about something. I did not vote for a war. There was no declaration of war and subsequently, there was never an opportunity to vote for war. Even if a senator was desperate for a war, all he could do was vote for the authorization to use force and then hope that the conditions eventually warranted military action.
TRESSUR: But wasn't it really the same thing? Wasn't it clear that this was a vote for war?
SEN. REMUHCS: Absolutely not, Mit. Here's why... First, look at what the president said about the bill I voted for. He said, and I quote, 'I have asked Congress to authorize the use of America's military, if it proves necessary, to enforce U.N. Security Council demands. Approving this resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable.'
TRESSUR: OK. But...
SEN. REMUHCS: And that was referring to the bill we voted on. It wasn't the only draft that the White House sent us. They sent us a bill on Sept. 19, exactly a week before this one, and we never even voted on it. It didn't have a chance because that bill was as close to a declaration of war as you could get. It didn't say anything about the United Nations. It said nothing about weapons inspections and disarmament. It didn't even limit the president to Iraq. It would have let him immediately begin fighting all over the Middle East. Now, they basically ignored the wishes of the U.N. and didn't let the inspectors do their jobs... and this week they started talking about Syria... I'll tell you, Mit, you and the republicans might think we voted for that first bill, but I never did.
TRESSUR: Well, I wasn't suggesting that you...
SEN. REMUHCS: You know, Mit, it's also funny... they accused us, myself and John Kerry and others, of wanting to give France a veto, even though we voted no on the Levin Amendment, which would have required the president to go back to the U.N. for permission to invade. Now, they're trying to make it seem like we were gung-ho for war from the beginning. You just cannot have it both ways. We were in favor of getting weapons inspectors back into Iraq. We wanted them back there because it was in our nation's best interests to get have them in there. And that's what that vote was all about.
TRESSUR: So you don't regret the vote?
SEN. REMUHCS: OK. That's a good question and the answer is no. I am extremely disappointed with the way the president kicked out the inspectors and took us to war with absolutely no plan for the future. But why would I regret my vote? Like I said, it was not a vote for war.
TRESSUR: Do you...
SEN. REMUHCS: Mit, do you remember when John Kerry was asked if he would still vote yes, knowing what he later knew... that there were no WMD in Iraq?
TRESSUR: I remember it well. In front of the Grand Canyon.
SEN. REMUHCS: Well, you may also remember the collective groan from Democrats. You may remember Helen Thomas' op-ed about what a mistake that answer was.
TRESSUR: I do.
SEN. REMUHCS: Well, Mit, the truth is, Kerry was correct. Let's look at the whole picture. Why would we go to war with Iraq? I can think of three reasons: One, if Saddam had something to do with 9/11. Two, if Saddam did not let the inspectors into Iraq. Three, if we found definitive proof that he had WMD... Well, we know he had nothing to do with 9/11, even though the administration was implying that there was a link. So that leaves two reasons, OK?
TRESSUR: And we now know Saddam had no WMD...
SEN. REMUHCS: Right, so that leaves just one reason...
TRESSUR: If Saddam didn't allow the inspectors in.
SEN. REMUHCS: Exactly. Which is why we voted for authorization in the first place. And the president was the one who kicked them out, not Saddam. Look, it was important to have inspectors in Iraq. Just because he didn't have WMD now, doesn't mean he wouldn't try to get them in the future. That's why I had to take the threat of Saddam Hussein seriously. But I felt inspectors in Iraq and remaining in Iraq were the way to go. So did the rest of the world. And the only way to get them back in there was to give the president the authority we gave him. What he did with that authority is a whole different story entirely. And I won't accept the blame for that. This is George Bush's war. It's Dick Cheney's war and it's Donald Rumsfeld's war.
Don't you wish we all lived in DB's universe. Where facts are important, the press asks unloaded questions and the Democrats were capable of putting together good, truthful defenses against this administration's nonsensical accusations?