The Domenici Effect: The Cut-And-Running Of The GOP’s Old Bulls
[W]ithin hours after Mr. Domenici spoke to reporters in a conference call, Senator Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat and majority leader, called on him to join Democrats and like-minded Republicans to bring the war to a close.
I posted yesterday on Senator Domenici’s turn towards defeatism. The sun hadn’t set before Democrats began to use his round heels to pummel the president and General Petraeus, and you can be sure the enemy was just as eager to exploit the New Mexico Republican’s collapse. The Times is running a graphic with the faces of Senators Warner, Lugar, Voinovich and Domenici under the heading “Senators Advocate Change In Iraq Policy.” What do the four share in common except a loss of confidence in the troops and their ability to win? Senator Voinovich is 70; Senators Domenici and Lugar 75, Senator Warner 80.Though Senator Voinovich only joined the club in 1999, Senator Domenici has been in the Senate for 35 years, Senators Lugar and Warner 29 years. The combination of advanced age and long tenure in government seems to increase a senator’s sense of self-importance even as it decreases their connection to the GOP’s base.
Each of these senators was re-elected after 9/11 and each of them ran on a platform of supporting the president and the war. Their loss of confidence in the troops and in victory will no doubt surprise many of their supporters. If they run for re-election, the surprise will be if they win, not if they lose.
The NRSC can expect zero support for a group of Republican senators who don’t support victory.