At Least A Dozen Republican Senators Unconvinced On Escalation
by Chris Bowers, Thu Jan 11, 2007 at 12:04:10 PM EST
Senator Norm Coleman Opposes President Bush's Escalation Plan. "And to put the lives of Americans soldiers -- more, in the center of that, without first having something that's substantial, something we can point to, other than this sense of trust, other than looking someone in the eye, having a conversation. I'm not prepared, at this time, to support that. It's -- the cost is too great." [Senate Foreign Relations Committee Testimony, 1/11/07]
Senator John Sununu Expressed His Concerns about President Bush's Escalation Plan. "There were some areas where I have a little bit more concern, such as whether or not the use of the troops discussed will really be appropriate in dealing with sectarian violence in Baghdad..." [Senate Foreign Relations Committee Testimony, 1/11/07]
Senator George Voinovich Is Skeptical of the Plan for Escalation. "I think you should know that I am skeptical that a surge of troops will bring an end to the escalation of violence and the insurgency in Iraq. Many of the generals that have served there have said they don't believe additional troops will be helpful in Baghdad particularly. And, Madam Secretary, my faith in Prime Minister Maliki's ability to make the hard choices necessary to bring about political solutions has to be restored. What we need is a political solution between the Sunnis and the Shiite." [Senate Foreign Relations Committee Testimony, 1/11/07]
Senator Lisa Murkowski Not Convinced by the President's Plan. "I would agree with Senator Hagel that, given the American lives that have been lost in Iraq, we want to make sure that we have a policy that is worthy of their sacrifices. And those are his words. And I think they're very well spoken. But I'm not convinced, as I look to the plan that the president presented yesterday, that what we're seeing is that much different than what we have been doing in the past." [Senate Foreign Relations Committee Testimony, 1/11/07]
Senator Vitter Is Concerned the President's Plan is Too Little Too Late. "And so that does lead to a concern of mine that we may commit the same mistake I think we clearly have in the past, which is too little, maybe too late." [Senate Foreign Relations Committee Testimony, 1/11/07]
Senator Susan Collins Says an Increase in Troop Levels Is a Mistake. "Based on the trip I took to Iraq last month, I concluded it would be a mistake to increase the overall level of troops in Iraq." [Chicago Tribune, 1/11/07]
Sen. Gordon Smith Opposes the Escalation. "We are extending an ineffective tactic to further the status quo. Iraqis must be the ones to settle their own peace." [AP, 1/10/07]
Senator Olympia Snowe Is Skeptical That an Escalation Will Address the Problem. "I have deep scepticism about it, about a surge addressing the root causes of the mistrust and hatred that sects have for each other. That's what I expressed. The fact of the matter is that the American people don't support this war and the way it has evolved because they see the Iraqis fighting among themselves instead of for themselves." [Irish Times, 1/10/07]
Sen. Sam Brownback - from Baghdad -- Says Escalation Is Not the Answer. "I do not believe that sending more troops to Iraq is the answer. Iraq requires a political rather than a military solution." [AP, 1/10/07] Amazing how many of the Republicans voicing "concerns" have dicey re-election prospects in 2008: Sununu, Collins, Smith, and Coleman. Expressing concern, and then caving, has long been a game Republicans have played in order try and look independent. However, without the ability to control the agenda, and thus as easily alter legislation, it may no longer be so easy for them to claim that they reached a compromise on a given bill, and thus have decided to change their vote.
In this case, the telling vote may come during McConnell's attempt to block Kennedy's attempt to block the escalation, or at least put severe restrictions upon it. McConnell has vowed a filibuster attempt, and claims to have Lieberman's support. If all twelve of these Republicans were to break, it would not matter what Lieberman did, because Democrats would have the necessary 60 votes to break a filibuster even sans Tim Johnson.
This will be a telling moment in the Senate, and I am glad we are starting to list names and statements on the issue. Hopefully, we will soon be able to take down names on actual votes. I love the smell of Republican defection in the morning.