If consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, then we have some extremely big minds in the Democratic party, all residing in the heads of the “Blue Dog Democrats”, who make a habit of stabbing their party in the back.
Senator Jim Webb has been trying to pass a bill guaranteeing reasonable benefits, including updated GI-Bill type benefits, to allow vets returning from the Iraq War to go to college. But the Blue Dogs have a problem, one that Senator Byron Dorgan:
Webb has steadily picked up support for his proposal and this week moved within two votes of the 60 needed to overcome procedural obstacles in the Senate. But the high costs — $52 billion over 10 years — remain an obstacle not only with the Blue Dogs but also with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.).
“I believe it should be paid for,” Conrad said. “I’ve said that to Sen. Webb. I’ve said that to the leadership. I completely agree with the Blue Dogs; I think it should be paid for.”
That works out to 5.2 billion dollars a year. Chump change so far as the overall budget is concerned. The highly principled Blue Dogs don’t believe in new government spending unless it is paid for by increased taxes or decreased spending elsewhere. How laudable. Of course, there are exceptions required. For instance, none of the Blue Dogs would consider requiring Bush to pay for his war the same way, nor would they consider ever casting a vote against using borrowed money to fund that war. Cost: $9 Billion a Month.
If my math is right that means Webb’s bill is equal to about 6 months of endless war funding. For that money we will get a more educated work force and the right to say we have treated our soldiers right. We will actually get a return on our investment, instead of just flushing great gobs of money down the toilet.
There is an additional back story here, by the way. John McCain is desperate to work a deal with Webb, because he’s put himself on the wrong side of this issue (along with the Blue Dogs, but not for the same reasons). He’s afraid we Yellow Dogs will hang his disregard for the people fighting his war around his neck, and he’s looking for an exit strategy.