Beast Banner April 2007
ISSUE #115
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Features

ArrowPresident Rubber vs. Speaker Glue
Pelosiís scarf and GOP barf

Allan Uthman

ArrowIn Defense of Ann Coulter?
Conservatives have a right to be assholes, just like real people

Paul Fallon

ArrowWithdrawal Symptoms
Iraq timetable’s a political fix

Matt Taibbi

ArrowJesus Christ!
People will believe anything

Ian Murphy

ArrowWhat, Me Worry?
Iranians aren’t scared of a U.S. attack

Russ Wellen

ArrowLandslide of Failure
The battle for election integrity is led by... the Governor of Florida?

Brad Friedman

ArrowDeregulation Killed my Cat
Food contamination: the Bush legacy

Allan Uthman

ArrowThe Whining Minority
Republican congressman turns from bully to baby

Matt Taibbi

ArrowIt's tax time again and I want to maul you
A.Rabid Dog

ArrowContradictum
Self-refuting quotations from the world of politics

ArrowBonobos vs. Chimps
A Debate for Lemur Philosophers

A. Monkey

Departments

ArrowThe Beast Page 3
Censored Chocolate Jesus

ArrowKino Korner: Movies
Are We Done Yet?, Grindhouse, Blades of Glory, Pride, Reign Over Me, The Lookout, The Reaping, Perfect Stranger, Vacancy, Fracture

ArrowBEAST-O-Scopes
As divined by your ethereal guide

Arrow[sic] - Letters
A Very Thin Hope, Classy, Mile High Club, Equal Rights Harassment, Kiwi Fruit and more

  Withdrawal Symptoms
Iraq timetable’s a political fix
Matt Taibbi

Junkie SamIn medicine they call it "drug-seeking behavior." A guy shows up at three different regional hospital emergency rooms in the space of a month, each time complaining of severe but non-specific lower back pain. Suspiciously, he is well-versed in the various milligram dosages of commercial hydrocodone. Ask him to wait an extra hour in the exam room, he starts bouncing his knees, and his forehead starts to pour sweat ...

Does this man's back really hurt? Maybe it does. You have to give him the benefit of the doubt, at least the first time. But the moment that orgasmic smile flashes across his face as soon as you hand him his Oxy scrip, you have to wonder. Just like I'm wondering right now, after watching what looked very suspiciously like a carefully-orchestrated congressional vote-seeking charade, i.e. the recent "controversial" scheduled-withdrawal/Iraq-timetable vote in the Senate.

As of this writing, it's been less than a few hours since the Chris Matthewses of the world received the "breaking news" that Mississippi Republican Thad Cochran has fallen short in his valiant attempt to block the Democrat-sponsored vote, a measure calling for a withdrawal of all troops from Iraq by next March. Cochran's gambit failed when Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel decided to publicly sell out the President, noting about four years too late that Iraq was basically "Bush's war" (of course, it was also very much the Senate's war back when the polls happened to support it) and that the president's strategy was borne of "arrogant self-delusion reminiscent of Vietnam." Taking a direct swipe at Dick Cheney, who as recently as last week emerged from his haze of coronary disorders to decry war detractors as traitors and terrorist enablers, Hagel also said that "this idea that somehow you don't support the troops if you don't continue in a lemming-like way to accept whatever this administration's policy is, that's what's wrong, and that is dangerous."

Of course it would have been nice if Hagel had taken on the administration's shameless witch-hunting and red-baiting of war opponents at a time when such a stance would have required actual political courage, and not when the poll numbers on a firm Iraq withdrawal are running about 60-38 in favor. But that's where we are right now. Hell, Hagel's main ally in the House these days is none other than North Carolina Republican Walter Jones; the two men are the leading anti-war conservatives in their respective houses. Back in February, the two men spent an enormous amount of time blowing kisses at each other in the pages of papers like The Washington Post, with Jones calling Hagel "one of my heroes" and Hagel lauding Jones's brave efforts to rally conservatives to vote against the Bush "surge." But Jones, careful observers might recall, is the same spineless dingbat who came up with the "Freedom Fries" Franco-bashing campaign when the French bailed on the Iraq invasion in early 2003.

So that's where we are: the very people who were leading the Crucible-like campaign against war dissent are now chanting "Not in our name!" and refusing to be "lemmings" for Dick Cheney. We all know what's going on here. Hagel is positioning himself as the antiwar Republican in the '08 presidential race, while the conservatives from "safe" 60-40-type states, people like Cochran and male impersonator Mitch McConnell, are still beating the victory drum. John McCain gets to use the vote as a forum to bash both Democrats and Republican war traitors like Hagel ("Setting a date for withdrawal is like sending a memo to our enemies that tells them to rest, refit and re-plan until the day we leave," he said) while Democratic caucus members Joe Lieberman and Mark Pryor (who may face a serious primary challenge from Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter in '08) came out looking electably hawkish when they broke ranks with the leadership to cast nay votes.

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