WELL, NOW WE KNOW: GITMO WILL NEVER BE CLOSED
I wonder if there's still time to buy the president one of these for Christmas:
You want to do something controversial as president? For crissake, get through the necessary steps to make sure it's irreversible well before the fall of your first midterm elections. That shouldn't exactly be rocket science, but for Team Obama, apparently, it is:
Rebuffed this month by skeptical lawmakers when it sought finances to buy a prison in rural Illinois, the Obama administration is struggling to come up with the money to replace the Guantanamo Bay prison.
As a result, officials now believe that they are unlikely to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transfer its population of terrorism suspects until 2011 at the earliest.
... The administration will probably not have another opportunity until Congress takes up a supplemental appropriations bill for the Afghanistan war. Lawmakers are not likely to finish that bill until late March or April.
Moreover, the administration now says that the current focus for Thomson financing is the appropriations legislation for the 2011 fiscal year. Congress will not take that measure up until late 2010....
You guys are joking, right? You think you're going to get this appropriated in the midst of an election campaign? And you think it's not going to get un-appropriated as son as the next, vastly more Republican-plus-Blue-Dog Congress convenes?
No, it won't matter that the locals want the Gitmo prisoners -- nobody cared, after 9/11, that the locals (in New York City, D.C., and even Pennsylvania) didn't support every bit of the Bush/Cheney foreign policy and thus didn't vote Republican, because the demagoguing of the issue wasn't aimed at the locals, it was aimed at pants-wetters who were hundreds or thousands of miles from Lower Manhattan, the Pentagon, and Shanksville and who nevertheless felt they were the experts on what needed to be done to calm their fears. The same thing's going to happen on this issue -- members of Congress who represent citizens a thousand miles away from Thomson will tell us how their people are quaking in fear. They'll run against it. They're going to nationalize this.
And this infuriates me:
Frustrated by the difficulties in obtaining financing from Congress, administration officials had discussed invoking a little-known statute that would allow the president to declare a national emergency and then use military funds allocated for other construction projects to buy and retrofit the Illinois prison.
That statute, however, has never been used for a project quite like this one. Fearing that lawmakers would be angered by such a move and could respond by erasing the statute, the administration decided not to invoke it.
Gah. Do you think that would have stopped George W. Bush? Folks, you're not going to reason the stonewallers into this, so either do it or drop it.
Well, no matter. It's going to be dropped for you.