The Senate GOP’s Round-Heeled Caucus
New Mexico’s Pete Domenici is doubling down on his call for defeat in Iraq, which will almost certainly lead New Mexico Republicans to throw in the towel on his re-election campaign. I don’t think there is a more suicidal political strategy than to tell the GOP base you are shifting to Harry Reid’s side of the debate and refusing to give General Petraeus even the chance to succeed and report on the success before cutting the legs out from under him and the troops he commands.
The NRSC is already reeling as long time donors return their envelopes with “not one more dime” scrawled across the request for support. The immigration bill debate was one giant self-inflicted wound, and now the rush to embrace Harry Reid’s defeat agenda is another. The New York Times’ account of a wavering White House has been disputed by Tony Snow today but needs to be forcefully rejected by the president himself. Bill Kristol’s editorial on Republican round heels sums up the outrage that is swelling within Republican and independent ranks where the stakes in Iraq are understood and the GOP’s defectors the subject of scorn. There’s still lots of time for the wavering senators to check with their constituents and vote to block Reid’s timetable for collapse, but if they decide Senator Reid is their leader instead of Mitch McConnell, I expect the GOP to give up a lot of ground in 2008. Me-too defeatism is not worth fighting for. I suspect every Republican up for re-election who becomes identified with Reid will be turned out of office, and no tears will be shed for them.
Perhaps the best place to start is with a call to Senators Domenici, Alexander, and Warner via the Hill’s switchboard at 202-225-3121, and by sending their offices John Burns account of the tide turning in Ramadi from yesterday’s New York Times.
Two weeks ago D.C. had settled into a wait-until-September stand-off, and suddenly defeatists are trying to stampede the Congress and the White House. This is not how a Great Power acts, and not how serious leaders conduct themselves –ever. It looks like political panic among some GOPers and the worst sort of opportunism on the left, and the damage it will do to the reputations of those responsible for it –even if as seems certain the president refuses to be cowed by the most craven of political opponents– will be as lasting as it is destructive.