You can’t trust CNN, but reports are circulating there and elsewhere that the Republicans in the Senate will agree to cloture on the Biden resolution, trading a vote for the Biden resolution in exchange for a vote on an amendment offered by John Cornyn. The fear is that there are 11 Republicans who will vote for cloture with 49 Democrats (Lieberman voting no and Johnson absent.)
My firm view is that this maneuver will be shocking to the GOP base, and not just the 21,000+ who have signed The Pledge. It will be seen, rightly, as an abandonment of the troops, an encouragement to the enemy, and an indication that the Senate republicans still lack the will to fight for anything except their seats. The Republican senators urging ” a deal” to allow the Democrats to get a vote on Biden without getting the 60 votes for cloture clearly do not believe General Petraeus or Secretary Gates or don’t care about stopping an “encouragement to the enemy.” Instead of demanding that republican senators not vote for cloture, John McCain is joining John Warner in seeking a “compromise” on this issue, Gang of 14 style, that will end up handing the Democrats what they want –a victory on the Biden resolution. If Mitch McConnell agrees to this deal, he will be signaling the GOP base that nothing –nothing– has changed in D.C. when it comes to the Senate Republicans.
What part of “encouragement to the enemy” don’t the Republican senators understand? They can stop the Biden resolution, or at least do the public the service ofilluminating which republicans are willing to join Democrats in providing that encouragement. There is no valid reason —none— to agree to cloture.
Senator McConnell’s D.C. office is closed for the weekend, but you can reach his Louisville office at 502-582-6304. The other contact info is below for Senators McConnell and McCain and the others in the Republican leadership.
Please spend some time this weekend reminding the Republican senators that they are not their to serve themselves.
UPDATE: Read this exchange between an LATimes’ editorial board member and Governor Bill Richardson, candidate for president: They are discussing “worst case sceanriaos” for Iraq.
LAT: So Plan B is, Maliki doesn’t do what you want, he says “I don’t really care what you do”; the Mideast peace conference, everyone says, you know, “America’s sort of a weak giant, on the run, and we actually don’t like each other, we don’t want to sit around and talk about it”; we just leave and the place descends into utter, horrible chaos?
Richardson: No, no, no. You link it to reconciliation talks, but Plan B has to be a diplomatic process that involves other nations sharing the load. I mean, if Saudi Arabia is saying “this is the worst thing in the world for the U.S. to leave,” you know, what are you going to do about it? You gotta finance troops.
But I think eventually the best situation is a linkage. But if the linkage is not there, you know, the phased withdrawl, it has to happen. Because right now, it can’t be any worse. There’s a civil war going on. The Iraqi people want us to leave. So, you cut your losses.
LAT: The can’t-be-any-worse argument was also very popular in 1975 in Vietnam, and Cambodians found out that it could actually get quite a good deal worse. Is that something that worries you? What do you build into that process?
Richardson: Yeah. It worries me, but how worse can it get?
LAT: Two million people killed in a genocide?
Richardson: Well, but you’re assuming that our presence there has prevented that from happening. Our presence there has caused, I think, the civil war to accelerate. […] Is our presence preventing this genocide? I’m not sure.
Any Senate debate on Iraq that goes on and on because the GOP refuses cloture will have a great impact on the war, because Democrat after Democrat will make inane statements like thisone, and their empty rhetoric and their inability to offer an alternative to sending reinforcements and victory will become clear. The country needs the debate, and the GOP senators cannot allow the Biden resolution to come and go without as fierce a fight as possible. The stakes are just too high for Senator McConnell to allow the GOP to fold.