It Only Takes 51 Senators, and Two Should Be From Oregon

This article on Common Dreams points out that a simple majority in the Senate could help us get on track for withdrawal from Iraq: by attaching withdrawal language to a funding bill, which they have complete dominion over. Bush can veto it, but it means a veto for funding the occupation of Iraq.
And if they are willing to take this strategy to heart, he identifies at least one senator who might break from the Republicans and vote to reflect the will of his state: Oregon’s own Gordon Smith (R). I wish that this was because Senator Smith was starting to realize the horror and shame of Iraq, but it seems much more likely it’s because he’s up for re-election in 2008.

Senator Smith has belatedly realized that he has to vote in the Senate to represent the people of Oregon, not his party leadership, from time to time. Re-election can cause all sorts of changes: when I have called his office in the past to express my views, (on any number of issues, including peace) the staff used to be downright snide and disrespectful. They would clearly act as if I had no business calling him, so I would spell out, “I hope the Senator takes my views into account, since I live in Oregon.” Their silence or curt hang-ups made clear that constituents calling to express progressive views was an annoying bother.

But when I called Monday to ask him to oppose more funding for border fences and immigration lockups, the staffer was actually courteous and even said goodbye. So maybe now, as Senator Smith seeks re-election, we can have a senator who votes based on what Oregon clearly wants. Because yes, 51 senators can end our bloody occupation of Iraq, and both of Oregon’s senators should be on that list.

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