Kuhl's Penfield Meeting

Rochesterturning has video from this afternoon's town hall meeting in Penfield. This clip shows Kuhl's non-response to a constituent's comment about the Iraq war. I assume from the clip that Kuhl is continuing his policy of treating these meetings as "listening opportunities".

Update: Not really. After the break, I've embedded another video from Rochesterturning's reporter that shows Kuhl giving a long answer to a constituent's question about what's next in Iraq. Also, don't miss Rochesterturning's coverage of the Raging Grannies, who serenaded Kuhl on a number of issues.

By the way, though I don't agree that "the support of the troops is being undermined" as Kuhl says, I do think the latter part of Kuhl's response presents a pretty clear-eyed view of the legislative terrain. The Democratic bill (and note his use of the word "Democratic" rather than "Democrat") was a careful compromise that met the needs of a broad swath of party members. The evidence of how difficult it was to make the compromise is shown by the members who didn't vote for the bill. On the left, you have members like John Lewis (GA-5), who say that they won't vote for any more funding for Iraq. On the right, you have members like the one Kuhl mentioned, Dan Boren (OK-2), who won't vote for measures that might limit funding for troops. To get a veto-proof majority, Pelosi has nowhere to move but right. The votes on the left will never be there, and they wouldn't be enough to stop a veto if they were.

The question is whether there is some language that includes limitations that will be acceptable to enough Republicans to get a veto-proof majority, yet is objectionable enough for Bush to veto. I doubt it, but if such a day comes, then we'll know that we've truly arrived at the beginning of the end of the war.


I though it was interesting how he explained 'Pork'. I thought at first he said 'pork' in a negative tone, then quickly explained why it was bad in this bill. Of course it would be ok if it came from him.

Yep - it's hard for him to rail too hard against pork without sounding hypocritical.

The pork in the bill is just another example of how hard it was to put together a coalition of supporters in the House. But, even as the debates over this bill have progressed, I think the climate has been changing. It will be interesting to see what the next bill will bring.

It's going to be tough for Kuhl to keep voting against these bills, politically.

I tended to think that Massa would have a tough time against Kuhl in 08, but Kuhl has been put so far on the defensive about the war that I think he's in real trouble.

I also tend to think -- unlike, it seems, just about anyone else -- that Pelosi is playing this very smart. Keep forcing the Republicans to either vote to end the war or get hammered for supporting the war Eventually, they'll break. It's smart politics and I also think it's the right thing to do.

It's a bit of a mystery to me why the press is so hostile to Pelosi and Reid. It's a strange thing -- every serious political reporter more or less agrees that the Pelosi/Reid plan here is pretty sound. But you'd never know that to read the Op-Ed people or listen to the tv talking heads.

That, to me, is the central issue of our era: the idiocy of opinion makers.

Rich & Rot made an excellent point of how Kuhl has become a major pork hypocrite. Kuhl loves pork when it benefits his campaign (bowling), but calls necessary funding for VA Healthcare, body armor, troop readiness training, and critical domestic spending as 'pork'.

Interesting how Kuhl flips a coin quickly.

Exile: From what I've read, I think Republicans in the House or Senate are extremely eager to get Iraq out of the newspapers before the next election. I am waiting for the fissures between the White House and Republicans in Congress to become observable. I'll be interested to see what comments Kuhl makes -- if any -- next Tuesday after the veto. I was surprised that he repeated the "white flag" talking when the bill was passed. I was expecting a more moderate response, since some kind of moderation on the war is probably inevitable.

As for your point on the media, I expect still more criticism of Pelosi/Reed, fair or not. There is no good answer to what to do in Iraq. Every plan they offer will have unpleasant downsides, and because they're working with fragile majorities, some not-so-pretty backroom deals will need to be cut. I was disappointed that Pelosi couldn't get a few more Republicans to sign on, and that she had to lard up the bill, but she did the best she could with the raw material she had.

Optimus - Yep, pork is always in someone else's back yard.