February 16, 2007
States Taking Action Against Iraq EscalationSo the New York Times is covering the story that resolutions denouncing Bush's Iraq Escalation have been introduced in over twenty states and have begun being passed this last week: Frustrated by the inability of Democrats in Cong
ress to pass a resolution opposing President Bush's policies in Iraq, state legislators across the country, led by Democrats and under pressure from liberal advocacy groups, are pushing forward with their own resolutions.Vermont, California and the caucus state of Iowa have each had a chamber approve a resolution attacking Bush's escalation:
Senate President Jack Kibbie, an Emmetsburg Democrat, said the war needs to be brought to an end. "Most people believe there were no weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein is history, and so it's my opinion the people of Iowa are asking their political leaders to express their opinion and send this message," he said.
As the New York Times highlights, the campaign really got off the ground a few weeks ago when Progressive States Network distributed sample resolutions to state leaders around the country and held a conference call with allies like MoveOn and U.S. Senator Kennedy, who urged state leaders to support his efforts to require Congressional authorization for any troop increases. Progressive States and its allies sent out emails to grassroots members to urge them to write and call their legislators, which helped spur these votes in states around the country. (You can email your state legislator by using this online tool provided by Progressive States Network).
One thing this campaign emphasizes is that the states are an untapped resource for moving the media debate on major issues, even foreign policy which is usually seen as outside the jurisdiction of state legislatures. ABC.com's The Note gave progressives credit for using the issue to "to become positively Grover Norquistian in their capacity to ram wedge issues through state legislatures in order to pressure Washington"
In this case, since so many of the troops being deployed for the "surge" were coming from National Guard troops, it was easy for state legislators to see the local connection, but on a myriad of issues, state political work can create a bumpercrop of local media stories. More examples from the Iraq campaign:
- Greenwich Time - Lamont laments potential troop buildup in Iraq "...Lamont urged his followers to write lawmakers in their states to get legislatures to approve resolutions opposing a troop escalation.
- "San Jose Mercury News - Voters growing impatient with Congress "At least 22 state legislatures are considering resolutions urging Congress to stop the deployment of more U.S. troops to Iraq, said David Sirota, the Montana-based co-chairman of the Progressive States Network
- "Baltimore Sun - Legislators ask others to oppose troop plan "...[Progressive States Network] has been organizing support for state and local resolutions against the increase..."
- Christian Science Monitor - Antiwar protesters target Congress"[S]tate legislators in half a dozen states are expected to introduce resolutions opposing what critics say is an "escalation" of US forces in Iraq."
- Denver Post - Under the Dome, 2/9: Senators eye anti-war decree "...part of a nationwide effort by state legislatures to pressure Congress and President Bush to change the direction of the war."
- Houston Chronicle - War Resolution "...a message of opposition..."
- Portland Oregonian - Democrats in Ore. Legislature tout anti-Iraq war resolution "...urges Congress to resist Bush's troop buildup in Iraq."
- Topeka Capital-Journal - Lawmaker takes stand on Iraq plan "...calls for the president to seek congressional support before any surge in troop levels.."
Posted by Nathan at February 16, 2007 12:15 PM