Dave Obey, 'hard-edged Cheesehead,' on getting out of Iraq

Wisconsin Congressman Dave Obey, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, is in US News & World Report, which calls him -- among other things -- a "hard-edged Cheesehead" and a "prickly pragmatist." {At least they didn't call him an "aged Cheesehead" at 68.)

Obey has served in Congress since 1969, longer than anyone else in the history of Wisconsin. He ranks third in seniority among current House members, which helps explain why he chairs that powerful committee.

He can be tough, with his friends as well as his political enemies, and he doesn't pull any punches -- literally or figuratively.

He's written an autobiography, which is on the fall publication list for the University of Wisconsin Press.

The US News article discusses spending earmarks and Obey's run-in with anti-war activists, explaining his Iraq stand thusly:

Yes, antiwar activists and Obey have clashed this year (an infamous YouTube video this spring showed Obey referring to some of them as "idiot liberals"). Like them, Obey wants out of Iraq immediately—"Who doesn't?" he asks, saying that he voted against the war authorization bill in 2002. But having served in Congress during the Vietnam War, he knows how hard it is to win the votes necessary for restrictions and timetables on withdrawing U.S. troops. "People say, 'Why should you compromise? Stand on principle even if you lose,'" Obey says. "Any idiot can pound his chest and rage at the moon three times, but it doesn't have much effect." That Democrats were able to put legislation on Bush's desk this spring with a timetable for withdrawal was "an absolute miracle" to him, despite the president's veto in the end. Democrats are planning to keep the pressure on—through similar legislation this month and the upcoming defense appropriations bill—"until enough Republicans go down to the White House and say, 'Mr. President, this is over,'" Obey says.

Published

July 9, 2007 - 12:52pm

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