Pete Domenici Breaks from Bush/Cheney

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domenici bush.jpg
Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) really likes President Bush and Vice President Cheney. He has had a strained relationship with John McCain for years — and when Bush beat McCain in the 2000 primaries, Domenici was absolutely “giddy” about it.
When Cheney was running with Bush in 2004 for their second term together, Domenici’s kingpin status at the helm of New Mexico Republican politics allowed him to orchestrate for Cheney “card-carrying Republican party members only” gatherings where independents or even “soft” Republicans were not permitted entry. There was outrage in the state but Domenici performed for Cheney and Bush.
But now Domenici is joining the likes of Senators Chuck Hagel, Susan Collins, George Voinovich, Richard Lugar, Norm Coleman, Gordon Smith and others in advocating a “change in America’s Iraq strategy.” That is code for ‘getting out.’
Domenici’s defection indicates a trend, but in and of itself is still not enough of a tilt to shut the Bush/Cheney war down.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

19 comments on “Pete Domenici Breaks from Bush/Cheney

  1. Kathleen says:

    Thanks for the link, Pauline. I love the whole idea of CREW. Going to send them some support.

    Reply

  2. Sandy says:

    That’s what I was thinking while reading these posts, gq — it is mostly his re-election that prompted this.
    Great post, Kathleen.
    Good info, Pauline.

    Reply

  3. gq says:

    Domenici’s up for reelection in ’08 and is in trouble for his support of the failed “strategy” and his role in getting Iglesias fired. That’s my take.
    The other thing to consider, though, is that Democrats have been trying (though failing) to get us out of Iraq for some time. The left called them cowards and useless after the supplemental battle. Now that the GOP is slowly abandoning Bush, they are going to spin it as a Republican initiated effort to end the war. And the left will help push that narrative in their criticisms of the Dems. Really, you couldn’t ask for a better script than that. I suppose I’d be more amused if it weren’t so friggin’ sad.

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  4. pauline says:

    Pete Domenici has always done things “the right way”, hasn’t he?
    “Today Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) asked the Senate Select Committee on Ethics to investigate whether Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-NM) violated Senate Rules by contacting the U.S. Attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico, David C. Iglesias, and pressuring him about an ongoing corruption probe.
    Sen. Domenici has acknowledged that he contacted Mr. Iglesias to inquire about an ongoing corruption probe of Democrats. Mr. Iglesias previously stated that in mid-October, he was pressured about the pace of the investigation by two New Mexico lawmakers. Initially, when asked about Mr. Iglesias�s allegations, Sen. Domenici stated, “I have no idea what he’s talking about.” Sen. Domenici has now admitted that he called Mr. Iglesias, stating “I asked Mr. Iglesias if he could tell me what was going on in that investigation and give me an idea of what time frame we were looking at.”
    In a discussion of Senate Rule 43, the Senate Ethics Manual states that “[t]he general advice of the Ethics Committee concerning pending court actions is that Senate offices should refrain from intervening in such legal actions . . . until the matter has reached a resolution in the courts.” The manual also indicates that Senators are not to communicate with an agency regarding ongoing enforcement or investigative matters.
    CREW’s complaint alleges that Sen. Domenici violated Rule 43 by pressuring Mr. Iglesias to act quickly on a pending corruption investigation. Moreover, given that Sen. Domenici made the call shortly before the November elections, he appears to have violated the prohibition on contacting agencies based on political considerations. CREW also alleges that by initially denying Mr. Iglesias’s allegation, Sen. Domenici may have violated Senate rules by engaging in “improper conduct which may reflect upon the Senate.”
    Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director, stated, “The Senate Ethics Committee should take advantage of the fact that Mr. Iglesias will be in Washington testifying before Congress to convene its own hearing to learn the details of Sen. Domenici’s telephone call.” Sloan continued, “If, as it appears, Sen. Domenici pressured a sitting U.S. Attorney to push a criminal case to benefit a political party, the Ethics Committee should take swift and harsh action. No member of Congress can be permitted to manipulate our system of justice for political gain.”
    http://www.citizensforethics.org/node/27270

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  5. rich says:

    Steve Benen’s rxn (guesting for Kevin Drum) reminds us which committees Domenici’s on . . .http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/
    Benen:
    “That it? _That’s_ the reason? Domenici has cast his Iraq votes the way the president has told him to for five years; he’s bashed Democratic proposals; and he’s equated withdrawal timelines with “encouraging terrorists,” but after talking with grieving families, then he started questioning the wisdom of the policy?
    Domenici is on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, where he presumably has heard an update or two in recent years about conditions in Iraq. One might even assume that he’s seen some kind of report or heard some kind of briefing about U.S. fatalities and our national security interests as they relate to the war.”
    Pete Domenici’s had all the access to all the information anyone needs to make a rational, responsible decision.
    Just do it. If he means it, do it. At this point, continuing with the ‘all talk, no action’ mentality ill-serves us all.
    Get out of Iraq; impeach; uphold the Constitution. Not up to the job? Shouldn’t be talking at all. Wouldn’t be responsible.

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  6. rich says:

    Steve,
    Hope you don’t mind if I borrow your phrase:
    ” ‘something’ is still quite inchoate”
    Indeed. Something is.
    So Pete Domenici–who has close ties to energy interests–has come to his senses?
    The old coot must’ve gotten bored by arm-twisting US Attorneys.
    Could that be one of the reasons “New Mexico is not ready for prime-time” on the national stage? Or does that claim apply only to Bill Richardson and not to Pete’s energy interests and attempt to pressure David Iglesias?
    Like Richard Lugar, Domineci’s NEWFOUND subtley may “send signals,” but where’s the beef? Weak talk is weak tea. This does not rise to the level of “taking a stand.”
    Lugar’s chief-of-staff basically admitted outright “he didn’t mean it,” in the words of one pundit.
    These Senators are all guys who know how to take action. That’s not what’s happening. Long after it’s become crystal-clear America’s making the SAME mistakes in Iraq that it made in Vietnam*–these guys are still dragging their feet–just like the military and DC politicians did during Vietnam. Color me surprised.
    * Don’t know the language? A little aerial bombardment should clear up any miscommunication. Forget to seal the borders? Time to blame the next nation over for the occupied country’s insistence on national sovereignty.

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  7. JohnH says:

    Republican “opponents” of Bush are not against the war. Like Gordon Smith, Domenici is only “advocating a change in strategy.” After Smith’s speech last November, saying that things have to change, Bush responded by bringing on the surge, which was billed as a change in strategy. Now Bush will reintroduce another failed strategy, give it a new name, and announce it as the answer to America’s woes.
    An old mafia expression comes to mind. Faced with a serious threat, they say, “now we have to change everything,” (so we can keep doing the same thing.) Or, as the French observe, “plus ca change…”

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  8. Kathleen says:

    First, Domenici’s recent remarks are NOT a break with Bush on Iraq.
    When the funding bill was making it’s way through the Congress, Mitch McConnell and Bush himself, both said that if the Iraqi gov’t asked them to leave, they would. This was just after Hagel called for greater involvement of the UN in Iraq.
    Since the UN Security Council’s authorization for Coalition Forces to remain in Iraq is due to expire in December and was just under review in June, AND the Iraqi Parliament just adopted a binding resolution to petition the UN Security Council NOT to renew authorization without putting the question to a vote by Parliament, it seems to me that Domenici is just helping to pave the way for the inevitable. And, if it gets a few Dems off his tail on his little ethics problem over Iglesias’ firing, well so much the better.
    They have to change course because the UN Security Council CANNOT renew authorization, WITHOUT an express INVITATION from the Iraqi gov’t. In the past, the invitation came only from Maliki. This is why we see a coalition of the fleeing.
    Of course Bush has the military might to remain without UN Security Council authorization, but that would make it crystal clear that we are Pirates, if any doubts existed.
    This of course does not mean that Dems won’t be fooled by Domenici’s recent statements. They are astoundingly uninformed. After 30 years of work on Native American issues, I have first hand experience of how oblivious to the facts Senators and Congressmen, including Domenici and McCain, can be, while making life and death decisions. It is appalling, Democrats included.
    I think that We, the People, should give Dopey and Darth a taste of their own medicine and just do an end run around them and that ineffectual Congreess, by petitioning the UN Security Council directly, in support of the Iraqi Parliament’s request for a vote on the question.
    I think we owe it to all those who lost their life in Iraq to help the Iraqis be heard.

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  9. Arun says:

    Stephen Colbert on Profiles in Timing:
    http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/07/02/the-colbert-report-does-sen-dick-lugar-profiles-in-timing/
    Colbert is scathing about Lugar’s “courageous” stand, and pontificates about the perfect timing of Lugar’s speech: though Lugar had come to the conclusion that the war was a disaster back in April and had spent two months writing his speech, he nevertheless voted to fund the war through September, never expressed any doubts about the war during the debate before that vote, and “courageously” waited to deliver his speech until it would have no impact.
    Colbert asks the obvious question — why did Lugar wait so long to make his speech (that was delivered to an empty Senate chamber) — and goes on to describe Lugar’s behavior as another example of “courageous waiting,” or waiting until nothing can be done before expressing an opinion (similar to George Tenant waiting a couple of years to find the courage to express his doubts about the existence of WMDs in Iraq, way too late to change to change anything.) In Colbert’s view: Lesson learned — “it’s never too late to take a stand after it’s too late.“

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  10. Arun says:

    Stephen Colbert in “Profiles in Timing” said it all.
    http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/07/02/the-colbert-report-does-sen-dick-lugar-profiles-in-timing/
    “Colbert is scathing about Lugar’s “courageous” stand, and pontificates about the perfect timing of Lugar’s speech: though Lugar had come to the conclusion that the war was a disaster back in April and had spent two months writing his speech, he nevertheless voted to fund the war through September, never expressed any doubts about the war during the debate before that vote, and “courageously” waited to deliver his speech until it would have no impact.
    Colbert asks the obvious question — why did Lugar wait so long to make his speech (that was delivered to an empty Senate chamber) — and goes on to describe Lugar’s behavior as another example of “courageous waiting,” or waiting until nothing can be done before expressing an opinion (similar to George Tenant waiting a couple of years to find the courage to express his doubts about the existence of WMDs in Iraq, way too late to change to change anything.) In Colbert’s view: Lesson learned — “it’s never too late to take a stand after it’s too late.“

    Reply

  11. Steve Clemons says:

    POA — You are right that I should mention Ron Paul more than I do. I tend to focus on the Senate more than I should and have a bias there as I know the institution better and think that it’s key to get the votes in the Senate to change anything — while the House is more “doable.” But you are absolutely correct that Ron Paul has been doing great work — and raising the right issues.
    More later,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  12. bob h says:

    Senator Domenici, are you then in favor of an Iraq “dominated by Iran and Al Qaeda”, as your fellow Republican Joe Lieberman warns? If Lieberman is speaking demagogic b.s., why not say so?

    Reply

  13. PeterE says:

    Judging from the Thursday editorial on Lebanon in the Washington Post, the White House is testing to see if an Israeli attack on Syria is feasible– and, presumably, a simultaneous air attack on Iran (or something even more thrilling). It must be upsetting to have Lugar and now Domenici go wobbly.

    Reply

  14. FurGaia says:

    I’ve read the Washington Post article linked to above. It all sounds quite weird and hypocritical for all those politicians to clamour for a change in strategy in light of what appears to be the construction of permanent bases in Iraq.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQHeo-CMQyc
    Is it at all possible that those politicians are unaware of what is going on in Iraq?
    Then again, perhaps one should read between the lines when Domenici says this: “I do not support an immediate withdrawal from Iraq or a reduction in funding for our troops. But I do support a new strategy that will move our troops out of combat operations and on the path to coming home.” That is indeed not inconsistent with the fact that the US is not leaving Iraq, in which case the Senator is truly misleading his constituents.

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  15. Carroll says:

    Meaningless.
    More nothing but cya.
    Meanwhile Dennis Ross is running around telling everyone we have to make every country in the world choke off Iran or Israel will attack them in the next 18 months because Israel just “can’t have” a nuclear Iran.
    We won’t get out of Iraq while Bush-Cheney is in office. And Israel will figure a way to get the US into a war with Iran….unless…unless what?

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  16. TB says:

    Well that’s very nice of Pete to say that, but his butt is still in a sling over those DOJ firings as far as I’m concerned.

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  17. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I have been listening to right wing talk radio for a while now, as I am doing a home that requires a long commute. As much as I dislike Hannity, I listened to him tear Voinovich a new asshole on the immigration issue. Voinovich was voting for the bill, but hadn’t even read the damned thing. He had voted yea on an amendment that he claimed passed, and Hannity had to point out to him that in fact it hadn’t passed. He also stated that he would not be “intimidated” by the huge volumes of calls from his constituents opposing the bill. In short, Hannity made an ass out of him. Voinovich came across as an uninformed arrogant elitist prick. Hannity knew more about the bill than Voinovich did.
    Point being, the Republicans, even in defection, leave a lot to be desired. Its gonna take far more than merely jumping ship to prove their mettle. And the fact that they are jumping ship at this late stage of the game doesn’t say anything positive about their integrity. If they had any, they woulda bailed a long time aqo. It tells us alot about their will to survive politically, however.
    And once again, I find it interesting that Steve avoids mention of Ron Paul when he lists the Republicans that do not support Bush’s illegal and ill fated fiasco.

    Reply

  18. Steve Clemons says:

    Good point Marky — I do agree that despite Domenici joining the Lugar move calling for something different, that “something” is still quite inchoate. I don’t think that this is really a ‘profiles in courage’ moment for Domenici, Lugar, or a number of the others — but I am glad nonetheless that they are not lockstep behind Cheney’s gameplan any more.
    best to you,
    Steve

    Reply

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