January 24, 2007
In the first (easy) test today, some of the Republican cowards found just enough courage to reject the worse, Democratic version of the defeatism resolution today, Joe Biden's (D-DE, 100%) "surrender swift":
The Democratic-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee dismissed President Bush's plans to increase troops strength in Iraq on Wednesday as "not in the national interest," an unusual wartime repudiation of the commander in chief.
The vote on the nonbinding measure was 12-9 and largely along party lines.
"We better be damn sure we know what we're doing, all of us, before we put 22,000 more Americans into that grinder," said Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, the sole Republican to join 11 Democrats in support of the measure.
There are two other weak-kneed Republicans on the Foreign Relations Committee: Norm Coleman (R-MN, 64%) and George Voinovich (R-OH, 68%); when an attempt by Coleman to amend the bill to make it more like Sen. John Warner's (R-VA, 88%) slightly less repulsive and dishonorable defeatism resolution ("surrender slow") was defeated in a bipartisan rejection, 17-4, both Coleman and Voinovich refused to sign aboard the Biden version.
In a defeat for Democrats that heartens me a bit, an amendment by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT, 100%) went down 15-6; it would have capped the number of American forces in Iraq, saying they "may not exceed the levels" we had before President Bush gave his speech announcing the strategic change of course. As there are only ten Republicans on the Foreign Relations Committee, that means that at least five Democrats voted against capping the troops. (AP did not deign to tell us whether Sen. Chuck Hagel voted for or against the Dodd amendment, but I suspect he voted against it.)
Speaking of not telling, here is the entirety of what Reuters said about the actual vote on the resolution in committee:
On a bipartisan vote of 12-9, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution expressing clear disapproval of Bush's Iraq policy, a day after he asked Congress to give it more time to work. The vote is nonbinding, but supporters hope it will convince the president to reconsider.
Note how "largely along party lines" (AP) becomes "a bipartisan vote" (Reuters). Reuters does not see fit to mention that by "bipartisan vote," they meant 11 Democrats and one Republican.
A later Reuters story corrected that bizarre mischaracterization (the first story was kneejerk; the second was perhaps written after consulting their "public editor," if they have one):
The 12-9 vote by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee drew less Republican support than expected, given growing doubts in Congress about the wisdom of Bush's decision to add 21,500 troops in Baghdad and Anbar province. [By "growing doubts," they mean that liberals of both parties are increasingly against the war; only three non-liberal Republicans support any of these measures.]
Only one Republican, resolution co-author Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, voted for it, after accusing the Bush administration of playing "ping-pong" with American lives.
I'm cautiously optimistic... but the real test comes later, when the Senate is ready to vote on the Warner "surrender slow" resolution: where will Coleman and Voinovich stand then? Will they come to their senses enough to realize that, if they're worried about their constituents' dislike of the war, they can always vote against the resolutions (saying they undercut the president) -- but still badmouth the war back home?
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 24, 2007, at the time of 1:44 PM
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The following hissed in response by: Terrye
I saw a reference to poll done by CNN which stated that Bush's speech was a hit and that 51% think his plan will work.
I have to admit that I am growing more and more suspicious about polls. Especially when they have results that are not even close to each other. According to CBS we are all ready to follow the example of the Jim Jones people and commit mass suicide we are soooooo depressed.
The above hissed in response by: Terrye at January 24, 2007 3:31 PM
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