Iraq: the Dionne fallacy

Matt links Yglesias who links Dionne.

Their argument: the fact that GOP senators are wetting themselves over it is a sure sign that the nonbinding Iraq res is important.

This, I think, is a counter to the Feingoldists who say, A nonbinding res is nothing, only defunding is worth a red cent.

Which is much the same as Cheney and Cornyn's argument (as quoted by Dionne).

My view (piece earlier today has background, but doesn't address the issue directly - hence this) is that of course the nonbinding res is important politically: because the headlines would be Congress Comes Out Against Bush on Iraq - and Sixpack wouldn't get to the small print.

But - the bull point which cannot be too often repeated is this: there aren't 60 votes for the nonbinding res. Not Warner-Levin, at least, or any other res which opposes the surge.

The only text for which there are 60 votes is Gregg - which comes out against defunding.

As I've mentioned once or twice before, there are some votes lose because of parliamentary shenanigans. And other votes that lose because their aren't enough votes.

Warner-Levin is one of those.

Needless to say - Fiery Feingold's conference call bellyaching notwithstanding - there are fewer votes still for defunding the surge, even fewer for complete withdrawal.

Zeleny in a Times blog fingers GOP scaredy-cat Class II senators (up for re-election in 08).

Fact is, brown pants have a phenomenon observed on both sides of the aisle on Iraq: the fact that, after days of vivisection, we still don't have a res supported by most Dems which can secure 60 votes cannot, I think, be laid entirely at the doors of their opponents.

(Bear in mind the cosponsor lists for Biden and Warner's S Con Res 2 and 4 respectively: while actual whip counts are lacking, I can't believe that, if Reid was able to vote his entire delegation, that, plus the GOP cosponsors, plus the three or four GOP needed, couldn't have been found.

But we know that Feingold and Dodd skipped the reservation to one side, Lieberman to the other. Who else?)

Tags: Defunding the Iraq War, EJ Dionne, Gregg Resolution, Iraq Surge, S 470, S Con Res 7, Vote Counting, Warner-Levin Resolution (all tags)



Re: Iraq: the Dionne fallacy

I emailed it to Specter, and am asking again here:  The actual vote notwithstanding, why are the GOP so afraid of simple debate?  (Okay, they don't want to go on record -- I know, I know; this is rhetorical.)  But it certainly isn't that difficult to spin differently:  The GOP is a bunch of bed-wetters too frightened to even TALK about the issue.  They are afraid of mere words, of conversation, of having an actual debate on how the country moves forward on Iraq.  Yes, the war must be stopped; but the filibuster was more about GOP cowardice to go on record as having any sort of opinion.  Let's not forget that.

(Sorry about the above incomplete comment; accidentally hit the wrong key.)

by Youffraita 2007-02-06 02:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Iraq: the Dionne fallacy

My parsing of the GOP side of things is this:

The leadership, seeking brownie points with the WH, is intent on stopping any measure of any kind passing Congress that criticises the Iraq war.

But - a tranche of their people, for personal or electoral reasons, want to be seen to oppose the surge. There's some pressure the leadership could exert, but probably insufficient to stop those senators eventually voting for an anti-surge measure of some kind.

Plus - the leadership will also reluctantly recognize that, in a tough year for the GOP (in the 08 elections), it's in the interests of the Senate GOP as a whole that vulnerable senators who want it should have the cover that voting for the Warner-Levin res (or something like it) would give them.

However - that's the end game; looking at the current state of the game, the GOP leadership's play is a no-brainer: they know that there are not 60 votes for Warner-Levin right now, so the question of the unfortunate fait accompli which Warner-Levin passing the Senate would represent is moot.

It's no skin off the noses of GOP supporters of Warner-Levin to come to the aid of the party in yesterday's cloture vote because their res is in suspended animation.

If Warner and Co manage to whisk up the 60 votes needed for cloture, then things get interesting: if what's agreed is a straight shootout with Gregg, highest vote the winner, the possibility remains that Gregg may get more votes than Warner-Levin - something that Reid simply cannot risk.

(In fact, McConnell apparently offered Reid precisely that head-to-head today (ie dropping McCain-Lieberman), but Reid declined.)

I'm not sure who's idea Gregg was - but its capacity to hold the Dem leadership in check, even if it could latch onto an anti-res with 60+ votes, shows some pretty smart thinking, I'd say!

I don't think, by the way, that, of itself, a Senate debate is likely to move public opinion much either way: it's the headlines that an anti-surge res passing Congress would generate which are exercising the WH, I'm fairly sure.

by skeptic06 2007-02-06 03:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Iraq: the Dionne fallacy

Gee, I like your posts.  Thanks.  I am actually beginning to understand what is going on and it makes sense, if disappointing.  

by Shaun Appleby 2007-02-06 04:16PM | 0 recs


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