It was a blank check to the president to attack anyone involved in the Sept. 11 events -- anywhere, in any country, without regard to our nation's long-term foreign policy, economic and national security interests, and without time limit. In granting these overly broad powers, the Congress failed its responsibility to understand the dimensions of its declaration. I could not support such a grant of war-making authority to the president; I believe it would put more innocent lives at risk.[SFGATE]This stand earned Congresswoman Lee a wave of attacks and death threats against herself and her family - she had to get police protection against the jingoists. Read her explanation of her vote not to rush to give nearly-unlimited power to George W. Bush. It looks pretty damn smart right now. At the same time, the famous Ron Paul not only voted for the AUMF but also wanted to give President Bush authority to charter Blackwater mercenaries as unregulated world wide assassination teams. That would have been, no doubt, a treat for all concerned.
Although Congresswoman Lee was a strong supporter of President Obama's election, she has not moderated her criticism of the wars since he took office far from it - she has continued to call for rapid withdrawal, to propose legislation forcing the US out of Afghanistan, to propose significant cuts in the DOD budget, to urge greater US humanitarian aid as a replacement for military efforts, and even opposed the Obama administrations intervention in Libya. Congresswoman Lee has been chair of the Black Congressional Caucus and co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus - she's high profile and an eloquent, powerful speaker. Barbara Lee is the critic from the left that so many in the false left claim to be. So of course, our self-appointed guardians of left-orthodoxy and principle have completely ignored her. Instead they keep whining that Racist Kook Ron Paul is being attacked for standing up for principle.
The self-pitying Freddie de Boer, a favorite blogger of Glenn Greenwald writes "I have to value his [Ron Pauls] voice in the national debate because almost no other national political figures will raise these issues at all." and goes on to mention Kucinich and Sanders, but not the invisible Congresswoman Lee. I wonder why that is. Of course it doesn't help that Congresswoman Lee is a black woman, but if she was willing to hum along with the disappointment choir, she'd be featured in Mr. Greenwald's essays and invited to appear on corporate TV. She's in favor of single payer, against corporate welfare, a strong voice for civil liberties and she's even against the drug war. But, Congresswoman Lee is unacceptable to the false left on principle. Here's what she said about the Iraq withdrawal.
I am extremely pleased with the decision by President Obama to follow through on his commitment to execute a safe, responsible, and complete withdrawal of the troops in Iraq. This move will save tens of billions of dollars, reduce regional instability, and enhance our standing throughout the world.”Note - she's not crediting George Bush with getting the troops out of Iraq. When the GOP tries to block the EPA from doing its job, she said:
“Today, House Republicans passed the TRAIN Act, a bill to undermine the Clean Air Act’s ability to crack down on pollution in our communities and endangers public health. This dangerous proposal threatens the quality of life for our children, our families and our communities.Not a single word indicating that she is making a data free prediction of President Obama "caving"! When the President announced rules limiting deportation:
“It is shameful that Republicans are pushing their anti-environmental agenda under the guise of job creation. This bill blocks EPA's ability to move forward with two long overdue Clean Air Act rules – the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule – which will reduce harmful air pollution that threatens public health, especially the health of vulnerable populations, including children and seniors.
Yes, you saw that "applaud" and not a single word about how this was too little/too late/, about her disappointment, heartburn, bitter tears. Or consider thisWashington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) issued the following statement in response to the Obama Administration's announcement on Thursday that it would suspend deportation proceedings against many undocumented immigrants who pose no threat to national security or public safety:“Yesterday, the Obama Administration took an important step toward fixing our broken immigration system.
"For too long, law abiding immigrants, military families, parents, students and youth have been unfairly targeted for deportation -- barring them from the American Dream.
“We are a nation of immigrants, and comprehensive immigration reform is crucial for the future of our country. I applaud the Administration's decision and look forward to working with the White House and my colleagues in Congress toward comprehensive immigration reform that will honor the contributions that immigrants make to our country."
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) released the following statement in response to the Department of Health and Human Services release of guidelines that expand women’s preventive health services:Note the absence of a nasty remark about the public option or any fabricated claim that the President pinky promised to implement single-payer by January 31 2009.
“I applaud today’s announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services to expand prevention services for women, including a full range of FDA-approved contraceptive methods and family-planning services.
“As part of the many beneficial services included in the Affordable Care Act, these new guidelines will ensure that women-specific preventive-health services are free for Medicare beneficiaries. Additionally, the guidelines would require new health plans issued on or after August 1, 2012 to cover preventive services at no additional cost to patients.
No. Barbara Lee will not do as a progressive icon because she's actually a principled left-liberal Democrat, not a libertarian scold or a self-promoting left pundit-wannabe. And she's unacceptable to many of them because she's not part of the campaign to restore the White House to the Republicans in the name of purity.