by Senate Guru, Sun Jul 08, 2007 at 02:57:30 PM EDT
After a brief respite not achieving any progress on the immigration front, the Senate's attention is turning back toward not achieving any progress on the Iraq front.
A few Republican Senators have lately begun voicing (though not yet voting) their discontent with the way things are going, and have been going for quite some time, in Iraq. What Republicans were dismissing as "cut and run" not so long ago is becoming a more acceptable policy among the GOP, especially to those Republican Senators who are approaching re-election bids in what is shaping up to be another cycle, like 2006, hostile to not only pro-war Republicans but, in many parts of the country, potentially anyone with an R next to their name.
As a renewed push on Iraq is expected, the Senate is expected this week to take up the Iraq Study Group Recommendations Implementation Act, S 1545, or as mcjoan has dubbed it "The Salazar Distraction," as it is questionable whether this measure would do anything to actually further U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. Nevertheless, in a powerful editorial this morning, the New York Times calls for just that, immediate withdrawal:
It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit. ...
It is frighteningly clear that Mr. Bush's plan is to stay the course as long as he is president and dump the mess on his successor. Whatever his cause was, it is lost. ...
Continuing to sacrifice the lives and limbs of American soldiers is wrong. The war is sapping the strength of the nation's alliances and its military forces. It is a dangerous diversion from the life-and-death struggle against terrorists. It is an increasing burden on American taxpayers, and it is a betrayal of a world that needs the wise application of American power and principles.
But is it principle or mere political posturing that has led the few Republican Senators who have recently spoken out on Iraq to do so? While Dick Lugar is considered safe, George Voinovich is up in 2010 in Ohio. While that may seem a long way off, Ohio is where a scandal-plagued state Republican Party is still recuperating and where two-term Senator Mike DeWine got beat by then-Congressman Sherrod Brown 56-44 last year. Voinovich might simply retire in 2010, as might John Warner in 2008, but whether they are looking ahead to impending retirement or the motivation is fear of retribution from voters seeking an end to Bush's Iraq debacle, freedom from the shackles of allegiance to the Bush Administration is being sought. Pete Domenici is perhaps the clearest case of political posturing. Domenici, up for re-election in 2008, has seen his approval rating plummet from 68-25 in November 2006 to 51-42 last month, primarily as a result of his role in the Attorney Purge scandal. He could use a pick-me-up, and with George W. Bush's approval in New Mexico at 31-66, this could be a quick way for Domenici to score some points.
Much more below the fold.