Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Reality check

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The Senate is locked in stalemate, a great deliberative body ground down by procedural minutiae, but, beyond the immediate politics of resolutions, debates on resolutions, and debates on debates on resolutions, where do the one hundred members of that august body stand on Iraq?

As MyDD's Chris Bowers is reporting, The Politico has conducted a survey of all senators, asking each one a series of four questions on Iraq:

  • Did you vote to authorize the use of force against Iraq in 2002?
  • If you voted yes, do you regret your vote?
  • Do you support the "surge"?
  • Do you support a timetable / fixed date for withdrawal?
Make sure to check out Chris's post for the results, as well as for a link to the survey, but here's the summary:

This is quite a survey. It means, among other things, that there are still at least forty-seven votes to authorize the war in Iraq, even now (the thirty-eight who don't regret their vote plus the nine Republicans new to Congress). It also means we are still nowhere near a majority for a timetable, with sixty-seven members opposing the idea (and, as I noted, many of the Democrats who oppose a timetable are from the progressive end of the spectrum).

Which is to say, don't get your hopes up. If the Democrats have their way, the Senate may narrowly vote to oppose the surge, but, unless there is a dramatic defection of Republicans to the (mostly) Democratic side, and not just Hagel, Warner, and the other obvious dissenters, it isn't yet in a position, given the numbers, to curtail Bush's ongoing (and reckless) war effort.

(And how specifically did Hillary Clinton respond, you ask? What is her position on the war? Well, she "stated, flat-out, that she does not regret her war vote. At the same time, she is still trying to campaign as though she is against the war, claiming that she wouldn't have started it, and that she would end it." In other words, she responded as you might expect her to respond. And that's not a compliment. -- And yet Republicans seem to think she's unbeatable. Go figure.)

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