Thursday, January 11, 2007

And the GOP Backlash Begins...

Now this is going to be fun to watch. Shortly after Bush's "Stay the New Course Forward With More Bodybags" speech, the few remaining moderates in the GOP cant' dissassociate themselves quickly enough from the Bush's "save my ass at all costs" policy.

The sharp fire is coming in from all sides--except, perhaps, from the most important one for Democratic chances in '08.

We'll start with the New York Times.

Here's Chuck Hagel:

Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska told Rice the president's plan was "the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam, if it's carried out."

Here's Voinovich:

''You're going to have to do a much better job'' explaining the rationale for the war, ''and so is the president,'' Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, told her. He said Bush could no longer count on his support.

''I've gone along with the president on this and I've bought into his dream and at this stage of the game I just don't think its going to happen,'' Voinovich said.

And Rep. Rick Keller:

In speech in the House of Representatives, meanwhile, Rep. Ric Keller, R-Fla. noted that he was breaking ranks with Bush after long supporting the president's war policy.

''At this late stage, interjecting more young American troops into the crossfire of an Iraqi civil war is simply not the right approach,'' solution,'' Keller said.

And we all know that Conservative Christianist stalwart and likely presidential candidate Sam Brownback opposes the escalation:

.S. Senator Sam Brownback today commented on President Bush’s proposal to increase the number of troops deployed to Iraq.

"I do not believe that sending more troops to Iraq is the answer,” said Brownback. “Iraq requires a political rather than a military solution. In the last two days, I have met with Prime Minister Maliki, with two deputy presidents and the president of the Kurdish region. I came away from these meetings convinced that the United States should not increase its involvement until Sunnis and Shi'a are more willing to cooperate with each other instead of shooting at each other."

And from the LA Times we get more.

Ray LaHood of Illinois:

There is a lot of anxiety and heartburn here," Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) said outside the House chamber, noting the conflicted feelings of many GOP lawmakers toward Bush. "He's our guy. No one wants to go against our guy. And he's the commander in chief and the guy who campaigned for all of us. But he is Iraq."

And I'll let the next series of paragraphs speak for itself:

Other GOP dissenters include Sens. Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Gordon H. Smith of Oregon and Sam Brownback of Kansas, a presidential candidate who once staunchly supported Bush's foreign policy.

Continuing their strident criticism of the Bush administration's war strategy, Smith called the plan a "hail Mary pass" and Hagel said it was "dangerously wrongheaded."

Also withholding support was Georgia Republican Rep. Jack Kingston, whose district is the home of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, which has served two tours in Iraq.

Of course, the "plan" faces strong domestic opposition from the American people. But we knew that already.

And who, meanwhile, still supports Bush's plan? Who would be that crazy and politically naive? Only ALL THREE REPUBLICAN FRONTRUNNERS FOR THE PRESIDENCY.

Rudy Giuliani:
I think the president did the right thing tonight. And I think the important thing here -- the increase in troops -- critical and important, but the most important thing is the change in strategy. And the change in strategy is a change where what we're going to try to do is to police these areas much more effectively and to hold them much more effectively. In the past, what we were doing was, we would clean out these areas, then we would leave, and then the bad guys would come back.

And Mitt Romney:

"I agree with the President: Our strategy in Iraq must change. Our military mission, for the first time, must include securing the civilian population from violence and terror. It is impossible to defeat the insurgency without first providing security for the Iraqi people. Civilian security is the precondition for any political and economic reconstruction.

"In consultation with Generals, military experts and troops who have served on the ground in Iraq, I believe securing Iraqi civilians requires additional troops. I support adding five brigades in Baghdad and two regiments in Al-Anbar province. Success will require rapid deployment.

"This effort should be combined with clear objectives and milestones for U.S. and Iraqi leaders.

"The road ahead will be difficult but success is still possible in Iraq. I believe it is in America's national security interest to achieve it."

And, of course, John McCain, whose idea some are saying the whole "troop surge" to be in the first place:

Call it a troop surge. Call it an escalation.

But regardless of the term or the specifics, Arizona senator and potential 2008 presidential candidate John McCain has been the most prominent champion of a troop increase in Iraq since a few months after the start of the war in 2003.

But he cautions that more troops now, with the situation in Iraq tenuous, may not be the answer it would have been...

"If it doesn't succeed, then we have to explore any other options. And I'd like to tell you what a good one is - and I can't," McCain said in a televised interview Wednesday before the president's speech.

All of this, of course, looks fantastic for the Democrats--if not so much for Iraq or for our Armed Forces, which will bear the brunt of Bush's folly with their bodies and their lives.

The GOP Congress is smart enough to run away from him, in large part. The American people are smart enough to run away from him. But the GOP presidential hopefuls (outside of Brownback) are plowing straight ahead to what, in all likelihood, means electoral doom.

This should be fertile ground for Democrats to exploit; every senator and representative must be made to vote on the record whether they support this idiotic escalation or not. But unless something drastic changes, 2008 is looking better and better for Dems as the GOP fractures, and their principal candidates choose the wrong side of the divide.

Would that things looked as good for Iraq or for our troops as they do for the Democratic Party.


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