Monday, July 09, 2007

drmagoo and the Washington Senators

So, we're back from the east, and we did get our audience with Senators Durbin and Obama. For other Illinois folk who might be interested, it worked like this:

We called ahead to confirm that the Senate would be in session that week, and they asked us to contact them the day before the gathering to find out what room it would be scheduled in (this one was in the Dirksen Senate building). On the morning of, we were there by 8:10, passed through security, and found the room. There was a very large crowd of over 200 people there, so we went up to the front row. Some guy (we have no idea who he is, but suspect that he's an aide to one of the Senators) came by and chatted with us for a few minutes, and then we got started. They asked representative of groups visiting that day to stand and identify their group, and then Durbin went through a quick discussion of what was on the plate for the Senate (that day was the cloture vote on immigration). After that, they took questions.

Since we were in the front row, I did get a chance to ask my question (they did Q&A for about a half hour) to Senator Durbin about why he voted yes on the most recent supplemental appropriations bill.

The (paraphrased) responses:

Obama was fielding questions, and he went first: This was a very tough decision, but in the end, he couldn't trust Bush to spend the money wisely (i.e. end the war), so he voted no.

Durbin: Told a story about a vet at the Rehab Institute who he has visited a few times and was relearning how to walk after doctors told him he never would. Got rather emotional and talked about ending the war, but said that he always voted yes on funding troops in the field. Said that when the Senate came back after July 4 (today) he would lead new efforts to end the war.

I was disappointed in Durbin's response - I believe that if we cut off funding, it's not like we'd be leaving them there to die, but that we'd have to start bringing them home with the money that's already allocated. On the other hand, he is still one of the few people who voted against the war originally, and has always opposed the administration, so I won't throw him out the door. I am waiting to see what he does now, though.

Afterwards, they took pictures.

1 comment:

schmidlap said...

Nice try, doc.

It's about what Durbin said in the form letter to me, too.

He's bought into the Hannity myth of leaving the troops stranded, starving, and unarmed in the desert. Shameful.