Rep. Keith Ellison's vote to support the Democratic bill that calls for a troop pullout next year took on added meaning yesterday when the Senate adopted a similar bill. Ellison is in the reliably Democratic 5th Congressional District and there is strong sentiment there among peace advocates for an immediate pullout. Some of his supporters are unhappy with him for supporting a "weak" bill that allows the war to drag on. I was told Sunday, in fact, that it has created a significant rift among twin cities peace advocates.
I think he did the right thing. His vote, along with the other left-wing Representatives who reluctantly supported this bill, sets up the first meaningful confrontation with the President over the course of the war. The President has threatened to veto the bill, which provides ongoing funding for the war. He doesn't want strings attached. And for four long years while Republicans ruled Congress there were no strings. He never had to explain or justify anything. Now, thanks to Keith Ellison, he will. His vote strengthened the hand of Congressional Democrats in their dealings with the President.