Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hagel joins anti-surge movement in Senate

By Michael J.W. Stickings

From the Times (via The Left Coaster):

Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, an outspoken Republican critic of the administration's Iraq policy, will join two leading Democrats in introducing a resolution opposing President Bush's buildup of troops in Iraq, putting a bipartisan stamp on the looming Congressional showdown over the war.

This is big. Though a renegade who has already abandoned Bush and most of his party on Iraq, Hagel was careful to stress that the resolution is not meant to "bash the president," but other Republican senators could follow Hagel's lead -- if not to support Democratic efforts, at least to seek "alternatives" to the surge, as John Kyl put it.

The spin has been predictable: "White House officials have dismissed Mr. Hagel as an established critic of the war who is now seeking to stake out antiwar ground in the nascent Republican primary fight for president." But the White House, surprised by the extent of opposition to "the new way forward" (if still intent on pursuing the new strategy regardless of the lack of popular and political support), is clearly worried that "any substantial Republican support for the resolution would be a symbolic blow".

And Hagel isn't alone: "Members of both parties in the Senate have said as many as a dozen Republicans may ultimately support a resolution against the president’s policy." Assuming that Joe Lieberman is the only Democrat who would side against the resolution, that would be a vote in opposition to Bush's "new way forward" of 62 to 38. A decisive vote. The Democrats should go ahead with the resolution regardless of the extent of Republican support, but no matter how this turns out it is clear that there is widespread bipartisan opposition to Bush's conduct of the war.

And that says something. Even if Bush goes ahead with the planned surge, a message has been sent.

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  • Isn't that typical? The critic must be wrong because after all, he's a critic.

    And then there's those ultra-liberal, pinko socialist pundits Oliver North, William Buckley and George Will. . .

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 9:40 AM  

  • It is quite amazing to watch this opposition unfold, isn't it? What strikes me is that Senators can get on their feet if they just get a bit of support. Hagel will not be alone by a long shot. Thanks for the good post.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:47 PM  

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