Senator Mitch McConnell’s appearance on Face the Nation signaled clear victory for the victory Republicans. No resolution –not Biden’s, Warner’s or McCain’s– will advance without 60 votes for cloture. The Minority Leader also reminded the audience that General Petraeus made it clear he’d prefer no resolution. And after some nice words about Senator Warner. McConnell also announced he’d be voting against Warner’s resolution.
The Pledge is nearing 30,000 signatures, and poll questions have been added on whether Senator Warner should step aside in ’08 and on presidential preference among Pledge takers. The key for victory Repubicans is to communicate with the Senate that they expect Republicans to support the troops, General Petraeus and victory, and that such support cannot be demonstrated by posturing through hair-splitting resolutions.
The key nine senators to contact to urge that the 60 vote minimum be retained and that they vote no on Biden/Warner/McCain:
Senator McConnell: Phone: (202) 224-2541 Fax: (202) 224-2499E-mail here.
Senator Lott: Phone: 202-224-6253 Fax: (202)-224-2262 E-mail here.
Senator Kyl: Phone: (202) 224-4521 Fax: (202) 224-2207 E-mail here.
Senator Ensign: (202)-224-6244 Fax: 202-228-2193. E-mail here.
Senator McCain: Phone: (202)-224-2235 Fax (202)-228-2862. E-mail here.
Senator Warner: Phone: (202) 224-2023 Fax: (202) 224-6295. E-mail here.
Senator Cornyn: Phone:202-224-2934 Fax: 202-228-2856. E-mail here.
Senator Smith: Phone: 202-224-3752 Fax: 202-228-3997. E-mail here.
Senator Coleman: Phone: 202-224-5641 Fax: 202-224-1152.E-mail here.
Here is the transcript from Face The Nation. I have bolded the important sections:
Sen. McCONNELL: Well, General Petraeus said the other day, obviously in a perfect world, he’d prefer no resolution at all. But if we had a resolution that made it clear that the Iraqis were expected to do certain things, it might be helpful to him. It’d give him something to–to–to point to in dealing with the Iraqis. You’ve got to do this, this and this in order to make this work. So…
SCHIEFFER: But will you put dates into this? They have to do this by…
Sen. McCONNELL: I doubt if we’ll have a…
SCHIEFFER: …April 15th or something?
Sen. McCONNELL: …date in there, but I think they got the message. If someone like me, who’s been the strongest supporter of the president you could find in the Senate on this effort, is saying this is the last chance for the Iraqis, I think that ought to help them get the message. This is the last chance.
SCHIEFFER: Well, what happens if it fails then?
Sen. McCONNELL: We’re not going to talk about failure, we’re going to talk about success. You know, one thing that a lot of people have forgotten is going on offense after 9/11 has been a huge success.
Sen. McCONNELL: The principal reason we went on offense was to protect us here at home. Who would have thought that after five years we’d not been attacked again here at home? That part has been a 100 percent success. It has been, however, much more difficult to establish the kind of government in Iraq that we had hoped. It’s been challenging of late in Afghanistan. But we don’t want to allow these places, Bob, to become once again where these elements, like al-Qaeda, can operate with impunity, and then be prepared to launch attacks on us again here in America.
SCHIEFFER: I understand what you’re saying, but if you’re going to tell him `This is it, buddy,’ doesn’t he have to know what he faces if he doesn’t get the job done?
Sen. McCONNELL: Oh, I think they’ve got a pretty good understanding of what happens.
SCHIEFFER: Well, Senator Specter’s talking about perhaps there will be tougher measures down the line, the Senate may have to consider cutting off funding.
Sen. McCONNELL: Well, I think what’ll happen, when we have the supplemental appropriation–that’s the money, that’s the real thing…
Sen. McCONNELL: …I expect that there will be debates about cutting off funds at that time, and that’s a few months down the road. And so the Iraqis can expect–can expect that that debate is going to occur in the House and Senate in the–in the very near future. They got a big stake.
SCHIEFFER: In other words, you would consider putting conditions on how some of those funds would be spent?
Sen. McCONNELL: Well, I think many senators will, yes. I think many senators will. I think we’ll be voting on those kinds of measures.
SCHIEFFER: Well, do you think they will actually do that?
Sen. McCONNELL: I’m not going to…
SCHIEFFER: Would you say right now that there’s…
Sen. McCONNELL: I’m not going to speculate about what…
SCHIEFFER: …there are votes in the Senate to do that?
Sen. McCONNELL: …the conditions are going to be like three or four months from now or six months from now. What I’m hoping is, we’re going to have a success here that what–that people will begin to understand.
SCHIEFFER: There was some talk in the beginning about perhaps filibustering one of these resolutions. You have now decided not to do that, have you not?
Sen. McCONNELL: Well, if you man by filibuster, preventing a vote, that was never in the cards. But 41 senators–and we have 49 Republicans–more than 41 senators on our side will insist on a fair process that will ensure that we have several votes, all of which will be subject to a 60-vote threshold like they always are in the Senate. I mean that’s–that’s routine business in the Senate.
SCHIEFFER: So, for those out there who are not schooled in all of the intricacies of how the Senate works, what you’re saying is, all you want is a chance to vote on several resolutions, not just one resolution?
Sen. McCONNELL: That’s correct. Right. I mean, it’s never been in the cards that we would not vote on something this important. It’s the most important issue in the country. What we will insist on, however, which you can do under Senate procedures, is there be several options so senators will have a choice.
SCHIEFFER: I see. Now, your Republican colleague, Senator Warner, one of the wisest voices and most influential in the Senate, is going to present a resolution that says the Senate does not agree with the president’s plan to expand the force in Iraq.
Sen. McCONNELL: Mm-hmm.
SCHIEFFER: Do you think that that resolution will pass? And how many Republicans do you think will vote for that resolution, keeping in mind tha you’re also going to have another resolution?
Sen. McCONNELL: Well, Senator Warner’s obviously one of our great authorities on military matters, very respected member of the Senate. I happen not to share his view that this resolution at this particular time is helpful, and I hope not many Republicans will vote for that particular resolution.
SCHIEFFER: It–in your mind, though, it probably will pass, will it not?
Sen. McCONNELL: Well, I don’t–I am not certain that any of these will get 60 votes. We’ll find out in the coming week or two.