One of the Democrats who’s running for Iowa’s first district congressional seat says if he’s elected, he’d consider the option of withholding funding for the troops in Iraq to pressure President Bush to bring America soldiers home.
Bruce Braley , a lawyer from Waterloo, says it wouldn’t be a first option but might be a last resort to get Bush to pull the troops out of Iraq. “I can’t do anything to affect this until next January when I would be sitting in congress so I think that once you get consensus from members of the House and Senate that we have to do something to redeploy, then it’s a matter of negotiating with the White House to make it happen,” Braley says. “That’s where the power of the purse string that congress has under the Constitution is what’s necessary to make that happen.”
Braley says he would hope it wouldn’t be necesary to cut off funds to the military to get the troops out of Iraq, but if that’s what’s necessary to get the troops home he’s favor that over President Bush’s apparent plan. Braley cites Bush’s statements predicting American troops will still be in Iraq when Bush leaves office in January, 2009. “If (U.S. troops) are still there when I enter into congress I will use every means in my ability…to convince the administration it’s time to redeploy those troops,” Braley says. “If it doesn’t happen, then certainly one of the tools available to congress is to start reducing funding which is the only way we pay for the troops there right now.”
Bill Gluba, a real estate agent from Davenport who’s competing against Braley in the first district Democratic primary, says that’s the wrong position to take. “I think, unfortunately, Mr. Braley may have just cost himself the election,” Gluba says. “No American, no Democrat wants to see us not to fund our troops in Iraq. We all want to bring them home but you would never, never cut off money to fighting forces over there.”
Gluba, a former state legislator who has run twice before for this congressional seat, says Braley’s lack of experience is showing. “He’s never run for public office,” Gluba says. “He gets too much advice from hot-shot pollsters out of New York and he ought to be listening to people in the district.”
Rick Dickinson, a Democrat from Sabula who’s also in the first district race, says Braley inexperience makes him unelectable. Dickinson says when Braley introduced a campaign commercial dealing with Iraq, Braley “had three different positions before he had his second cup of coffee that same day.” Dickinson is a former mayor, county supervisor and state legislator who’s now a local economic development official. “I respect differences of opinion on Iraq, but we have to pick one,” Dickinson says. “Any candidate (who) tries to be all things to all people can be nothing to anyone.”
Dickinson says he wouldn’t have voted to go into Iraq, but he disagrees with other Democrats who are calling for a “timeline” to get troops out. A timeline is too dangerous, according to Dickinson, who says the Bush Administration needs to strike alliances that result in getting NATO and U.N. troops in Iraq to police the transition. Gluba’s calling on Bush to go back to the United Nations and get the U. N. to send troops from other Arab countries into Iraq so American troops can withdraw.
Gluba also advocates massive U.S. investment in the rebuilding of Iraq. “If the people are busy rebuilding their county, they’ll be bringing home paychecks and not carrying around weapons,” Gluba says. The three men made their comments after a joint appearance Friday morning on Iowa Public Television.