CNN is reporting that GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is supporting John McCain’s resolution, even after Secretary of Defense Gates announced this afternoon that he agrees with General Petraeus that these resolutions “embolden” the enemy.
The GOP Senate leadership is dangerously close to destroying its credibility with a large portion of the base in the first month of the new Congress. The 20,000 signatures and the accompanying blogroll on The Pledge are just a small indication of the deep antipathy within the party to undercutting the troops and the mission while encouraging the enemy, but it is loud enough and broad enough to understand its rejection to be a declaration by the GOP caucus of indifference to their supporters.
That Senator McCain is directing the collapse rather than declaring a refusal to abet any such resolution and demanding a filibuster of both the Biden and Warner resolutions confirms again that Senator McCain will does not want to lead the republican Party, he wants to command it. That will not happen, and his repeat of the Gang of 14 fiasco may be the only good thing to come out of this episode.
Or perhaps Senator McConnell has not thrown in the towel. Please call his office and those of the other GOP leaders and demand opposition to any resolution undermining the mission and the troops, and emboldening/encouraging the enemy:
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s phone is (202) 224-2541. His e-mail is here.
Minority Whip Trent Lott’s phone is (202) 224-6253. His e-mail is here.
Senator Jon Kyl’s phone is (202) 224-4521. His e-mail is here.
Senator John Ensign’s phone is (202) 224-6244. His e-mail is here.
You can contact John McCain’s presidential campaign and assure them of non-support if his resolution is put forward by calling (703) 418-2008 or by e-mailing here.
UPDATE: The exchange at the Pentagon today:
Reporter: Mr. Secretary, Senator Lieberman says the Senate resolution opposing the 21,000 increase in troops would offer some encouragenment to the enemy. Would you agree with that?
Secretary Gates: Well, I think, I think its pretty clear that a resolution that in effect says that the general going out to take command of the arena shouldn’t have the resources he thinks he needs to be successful certainly emboldens the enemy and our adversaries. I think it is hard to measure that with any precision but it seems pretty straightforward that any indication of flagging will in the United States gives encouragement to those folks and I am sure that is not the intent behind the resolutions but I think it may be the effect. (emphasis added.)
I do not expect the Senate Democrats to care about what General Petraeus testified to on Tuesday, or what Secretary Gates asserted today. Both have been confirmed by wide margins by the Senate, however, and GOP senators who voted for both need to stop the providing “indications of flagging will,” in an attempt to make nice with their Democratic friends, gain some political cover, or save John Warner from embarassment. Whatever their paper thin reasoning, the GOP sneators have to say no to such reoslutions, and John McCain’s “benchmarks” –which convey to the enemy the promise of support withdrawn from the government upon the failure to meet any of them– plays right into the same messgae conveyed by the Biden and Warner resolutions.
Back to Reagan‘s strategy for the Cold War and the resolution the GOP Senators should offer: “We win. They lose.”