Rangel Votes Down Draft

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The key sponsor of the draft bill in the House, Charles Rangel of NYC, voted against it. I think that shows that Democrats are equally good at pushing bills in Congress for political gain. I've gone on record a number of times acknowledging that the only purpose of the FMA was political, to get Democrats on record on the issue for ammunition in the election. This one wasn't as widely supported among Democrats as the FMA was among Republicans, but for that reason it seems to me to be even more devious, because its mere existence has somehow gotten people to think Bush wants to reinstate the draft (and Kerry's feeding into that by insisting that he doesn't know what Bush wants to do, which means he's calling him a liar when he says he will under no circumstances reinstate the draft). Only Democrats sponsored the bill, and the only two who voted for it were Democrats. The thing that really bothers me about this bill is that the guy who initiated it to begin with voted against it. Dan Rather even aided Rangel in this deception, but the one thing Rather's piece showed is that the ploy worked. People really believe Bush is trying to institute a draft.

It's because of things like this that make me not so upset at some of the things Karl Rove has done in the past. It's not as if he's alone or the worst of the bunch. He pales in comparison to people like Rangel. I'm not saying Rove's tricks are morally righteous, but this is politics, and dirty hands are the norm. Those who express outrage at Rove but don't care about Rangel don't seem to me to have much moral weight behind their claims.

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He [Rove] pales in comparison to people like Rangel.

I do disagree strongly about the comparison, but this may be due to differences of opinion between us on just what Rove has & has not done. I, for instance, think Rove approved the use of this gem of a push-poll against John McCain in South Carolina in 2000:

�Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?�

And I think that (& think there's good reason to believe that) Rove was behind lots of other really disturbing things in SC-2000, and in other races he ran. If you think that Rove was an innocent bystander these events that I think he was deeply involved in, then that by itself may explain our difference about the comparison. But on Rangel...

I'm not very disturbed by this tactic of his. (And because I think it can be a legitimate move in a democracy to push a bill one knows won't win in order to get opposition on record against it, I don't complain about the Republicans doing this with the marriage ammendment. I complain about the proposed ammendment because I think its content is bad, but the maneuver of moving it to a vote to get the dems on record seems a legitimate move to make in a democracy.) To vote against one's own proposed bill adds a new dimension, but this can be mitigated in this case by the fact that Rangel introduced the bill, I believe, over a year and a half ago (Jan '03, I think), and it's being pushed to a vote now by his Republican opponents (in order to score political points); to say lots of relevant stuff has changed in the intervening time is certainly an understatement: that was before the war began! But I haven't yet heard Rangel's explanation for voting against his own proposal.

But perhaps we evaluate Rangel differently because we have different opinions about what his motives were. Do you think Rangel introduced the bill in order to promote the illusion among many voters that Bush wants to or may institute a draft? (I think you indicate this, but I'm not sure I'm reading you right.) If I thought that, then I'd be much more disturbed about Rangel than I am. But I don't think that was his motive.

Why not accept the reason Rangel himself offered for introducing the bill back in Jan. 2003? Rangel said he was bothered by the fact that the voluntary force that would have to fight the war was drawn disproportionately from the working class, allowing Bush to avoid the political costs of sending the sons of the wealthy to battle. I don't think he ever had any illusions that his bill would pass --and maybe he never would have wanted it to pass -- but he proposed a draft that would not allow the exclusions taken by sons of privilege in the Viet Nam era to make the point that, as he believed, we as a nation were being too hawkish & that we wouldn't be so hawkish if it were all of our sons & daughters (including the sons & daughters of the wealthy & the powerful) who would be jeopardized.

[It's actually an interesting question, whether we as a nation would have been so quick to go to war if the risks were distributed among 18-26 year olds of all levels of society. My own speculation is that there's no way we'd have gone to war with Iraq as quickly as we did if that were the case.]

One may not like this "stunt" (to use the word those opposed to the maneuver would be likely to use). But I don't believe Rangel introduced this bill back in 2003 for the purpose of creating or promoting the illusion that Bush wanted a draft.

If I recall correctly, Rangel did around that same time predict that a draft would be needed under certain conditions, but he based that on manpower analysis. I don't think the bill was introduced to create a false impression of Bush's intentions.

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