The House and Senate return to action and will be picking up right where they left off: talking about Iraq. Senate Democrats are pursuing a binding resolution to rescind the 2002 resolution granting President Bush war authority, to narrow the scope of the military’s mission and to begin to bring troops home. Some House Democrats are looking into strategies for cutting funds for the war.
The Democrats rededication to the politics of defeatism allows Mitch McConnell to again get his colleagues together and demonstrate that there remain at least 40 Republicans who are committed to victory in the war. Those 40, voting along with Senator Lieberman, guarantee that this latest stunt will fail just as the “nonbinding” resolution did, and the exercise helps brand the Democrats as not only invested in defeat in Iraq but also as without any agenda for their new majorities. At the same time, the GOP benefits from being given another opportunity to practice hanging together. The Republicans who were saved by their colleagues from voting for the Warner resolution also now have an opportunity to get back to the core of the Republican agenda which is support for a stable Iraq and seriousness about the war. The Congressional GOP is much better informed about the belief in victory in the party’s base than it was even six weeks ago, and much less likely to attempt to have it both ways with a Biden-lite resolution. Each time the Democrats attempt a stunt like this is another opportunity for the Republicans to underscore the fecklessness of Reid/Durbin/Biden/Levin.
In this next round the Republicans should study how the various senators made progress in the public debate last time. Senators Cornyn, DeMint and Thune were among those who, with McConnell, pushed back and gained the attention and gratitude of Republicans who want some very defined points made again and again:
–the president is the Commander-in-Chief and the Congress cannot by resolutions limit his ability to control the disposition of the military;
–the Congress can chose not to appropriate money for the military, and if the Democrats want to advance defeat, that is their tool to do so;
–the consequences of defeat in Iraq would be disastrous for the United States and of course for the Iraqis as well.
Each time the Congressional Democrats advance their agenda, the GOP must welcome the opportunity to make these points again and again. Use the contact tools at The Victory Caucus to remind Republican senators that their job is not only to defeat defeatist Democrats, it is to use the opportunity to remind the public of the stakes and of the reality of Iran’s involvment in the attacks on American troops and in stirring the sectarian violence in Iraq.