At Least A Dozen Republican Senators Unconvinced On Escalation

Twelve Republican Senators have now expressed a varying degree of "concern" over Bush's escalation plan. In addition to Trent Lott and Richard Lugar, we have the following quotes (I received this via an email):Senator Chuck Hagel Calls the President's Speech the Most Dangerous Foreign Policy Blunder since Vietnam. "I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam -- if it's carried out. I will resist it." [Senate Foreign Relations Committee Testimony, 1/11/07]

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.

Tags: Iraq, Republicans, Senate 2008 (all tags)

Comments

16 Comments

Re: At Least A Dozen Republican Senators

Good God I hope Sharpton isn't running. How many elections will it take to get it into his head he isn't going to make it? It's not because you're black, Mr. Sharpton, it's because people see you as borderline batshit insane.

Anywho. I really hope Obama gets it, even though many in the left-iest of the left wing don't like him. I like his economic positions, which almost parallel that of Bill Clinton.

Speaking of Clinton, I'm fleeing to Mexico if Hillary gets the nomination. Lord help us all.

by Brad ODonnell 2007-01-11 12:15PM | 0 recs
Re: At Least A Dozen Republican Senators
Whoops, wrong thread.
Meh, sorry guys.
by Brad ODonnell 2007-01-11 12:16PM | 0 recs
McConnell is talking about the *non-binding* res!

That's how it's clearly stated in the AP piece linked by the Raw Story piece (emphasis mine):

President Bush's decision to deploy more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq drew fierce opposition Thursday from congressional Democrats, but the Senate's top Republican threatened a filibuster to block any legislation expressing disapproval of the plan.

"Obviously, it will ... require 60 votes," said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as senior administration officials made the case for Bush's new policy in Congress, at news briefings and the morning television programs.


If McConnell was referring to the Kennedy bill, he'd have talked about witholding funds or something of the sort.

The non-binding res will absolutely express disapproval of the plan!

And the final graf of the AP piece makes clear that the journo thought McConnell was talking about that res:

Reid has said he will schedule a vote on a nonbinding bill expressing disapproval of Bush's new policy, but McConnell's filibuster threat indicated that he would not be rushed into the vote. Under the Senate's rules, 60 votes are required to cut off debate on an issue, and even the threat of a filibuster can force concessions by the majority.

I assume (sincerely hope, at least) that Reid is only going ahead with the res because he has a fairly firm count some way north of 59 on cloture - ie with some or all of these GOP senators quoted and perhaps others.

And we currently have no idea how Kennedy's bill will get to the floor: whether Reid ushers it on, or Kennedy has to slip it in as a nongermane amendment.

by skeptic06 2007-01-11 12:26PM | 0 recs
Re: McConnell is talking about the *non-binding*

I hope to hell they filibuster.

First, the resolution is NON-BINDING.  So it makes no difference in the real world if it gets 59 votes, or 61 votes, or 100 votes.  Nothing will happen either way.

But a filibuster is different from a vote on the merits.  Voting against cloture means THEY DON'T WANT TO HAVE TO GO ON RECORD.  It means they're afraid to tell the American people where they stand on the escalation, so they insist on talking forever.

It may not win us any elections on its own, but there's some value in pointing out that escalation is so unpopular that even the Republicans who claim to support it are afraid to put their support on record.

by Steve M 2007-01-11 01:42PM | 0 recs
Re: McConnell is talking about the *non-binding*


  But WAIT a minute. I thought that the filibuster was evil and should never, ever be used. Isn't that what the Republicans were saying a year ago?

 

by Master Jack 2007-01-11 01:51PM | 0 recs
Re: McConnell is talking about the *non-binding*

the "nuclear option"

by heyAnita 2007-01-11 02:52PM | 0 recs
Re: At Least A Dozen Republican Senators Unconvinc

Besides Lieberman, do there exist any Democratic Senators who will or might break for Bush on this one?

by Silent sound 2007-01-11 12:37PM | 0 recs
The usual suspects.
  Has anyone heard anything from the Nelsons, particularly Ben Nelson?  Ben Nelson seems to abandon us on the most important votes, so it wouldn't surprise me.
   I was listening to a NPR segment on Tester, and he vehemently opposed escalation.  He was undecided about cutting funds, but it sounded like he would be supportive of such legislation if Reid took the lead on this.
by cilerder86 2007-01-11 12:47PM | 0 recs
Re: The usual suspects.

Nelson came out with a cautious statement that seemed to lean against escalation. I expect he'd vote against Bush's plan on a non-binding resolution.

As a frequent critic of Nelson on many things - most not related to his voting record - I do have to pipe up in his defense. He was a key vote in protecting social security. He was also a key vote in protecting ANWR. He's been largely silent one way or the other on Iraq. So I wouldn't say he's "abandoned" us on the most important votes, particularly when it relates to Iraq, when the caucus hasn't been united on Iraq policy until very recently.

by Dave Sund 2007-01-11 02:49PM | 0 recs
Re: At Least A Dozen Republican...

There is some variation in the logic of these defections.

I put up a brief discussion of a fiew this afternoon:

Frameshop: How Republican's Have Rejected Escalation

The most interesting is Brownbeck's idea that more troops equals more targets.  It may seem like common sense, but it's not an argument that I have heard circulating.

by Jeffrey Feldman 2007-01-11 12:45PM | 0 recs
Lieberman's support?

Didn't Lieberman claim that the reason he wouldn't join the filibuster against Alito was because he fundamentally doesn't believe in them? Seems to me I remember his ass-monkeys like Lanny Davis and Ken Salazar sanctimoniously parroting that nonsense.

by BlueinColorado 2007-01-11 12:58PM | 0 recs
Yes

  He absolutely needs to be hammered on this if he goes through with a filibuster.
by Master Jack 2007-01-11 01:52PM | 0 recs
TLTL

Senator Vitter Is Concerned the President's Plan is Too Little Too Late.

Can we all get behind calling this the "Too Little Too Late Plan"?

Also, make sure to point out the "Sitting Duck Step" of the TLTL Plan, where GWB's wants to barrack US troops in the most dangerous areas of Baghdad.

by Disputo 2007-01-11 02:29PM | 0 recs
You smell defection?

You have nothing better to do that sniff someone's act of defection, that they left for you in the morning?

Gross.

by heyAnita 2007-01-11 02:51PM | 0 recs
Re: At Least A Dozen On Escalation

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by MarkMyParadigm 2007-01-11 05:56PM | 0 recs
Vitter

Vitter's comment suggests that he seems to have wanted more troops earlier and would want more now, so unless someone has further evidence I don't think one should count on that vote. Also there is the question of walking the walk in addition to talking the talk. It will be hard to get the votes to end a fillibuster. But these numbers suggest we have a chance at it.

by herodotus 2007-01-12 12:35PM | 0 recs

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