Skip to comments.Democrats' antiwar strategy suddenly falls flat in Senate
Posted on 09/22/2007 8:42:37 AM PDT by Dems_R_Losers
WASHINGTON - Democrats' momentum on their antiwar effort has stalled abruptly, ending weeks of hand-wringing by the White House.
The reasons? A convincing four-star general, an activist group that overplayed its hand, and a plainspoken defense secretary who does not bother to defend the 2003 Iraq invasion.
"I think it's better today," Sen. Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.) said of the war. "I think we're on a better path than we were."
While a longtime skeptic of President Bush's troop buildup in Iraq, Alexander joined his GOP colleagues in blocking each of the Democrats' three antiwar bills this week. The third piece of legislation - an amendment that would have ordered most U.S. troops home in nine months - failed yesterday, 47-47.
Alexander's vote and those of his colleagues dealt another blow to Democrats, who had hoped that by September more Republicans would have broken party ranks.
Above all, GOP members say they were deeply impressed by the testimony last week of Gen. David H. Petraeus.
"Gen. Petraeus' report was the most critical and decisive," said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.). "It was what he was able to tell us factually that . . . we have a realistic chance of success."
Another factor in GOP unity, party officials say, was the advertisement in the New York Times, paid for by the liberal activist group MoveOn.org. The full-page ad - which questioned whether Petraeus was "General Betray Us" and accused him of distorting the facts of the war - served as a rallying point for Republicans.
"Let's take sides," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said at one point during the week's debate. "Gen. Petraeus or MoveOn.org. Which one are we going to believe?"
Also a major factor in the White House's ability to shore up support for the war was Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. He has launched an aggressive outreach campaign in recent days and found favor among Republican moderates who chafed under the sharp style of his predecessor, Donald H. Rumsfeld.
"Gates has an even-tempered demeanor, and he tends to give us the facts without a lot of adjectives," said Rep. Ric Keller of Florida, after leaving a meeting Wednesday between Gates and 23 House Republicans, mostly moderates.
Arguably, Gates' most endearing trait to many in Congress is his refusal to debate the merits of the Iraq invasion.
"He steps up to the plate, and says, 'Let's put that aside right now, because we're here now,' " said Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R., Va.).
In the Senate, where just a few Republican votes could tip the outcome, Gates allied himself with Sen. John W. Warner (R., Va.) to make his case against a measure by Sen. James Webb (D., Va.) that would have guaranteed troops more time at home.
Widely seen as the Democrats' best shot, the bill fell four votes short of the 60 needed to pass.
Two days before the vote, Gates traveled to Williamsburg in Warner's home state to speak with the senator at a democracy forum. Warner returned to Washington to announce he could no longer support the proposal, despite having voted for it in July.
Democrats say the fight is far from over. Public opinion remains firmly in their corner, and they believe Republicans will be in a tighter spot as the 2008 elections inch closer.
But for now, the White House seems to have bought itself some time.
"Am I satisfied with where we are? No," said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska). But "are we all moving in the same direction? Probably."
Gee, no bias there, eh?
If that is truly the case, why don't the 'Rats have the votes, Ms. Flaherty?
Too bad it's not an end to the months of bed-wetting by Pelosi and her ilk.
So this means all the haggling is over.....right? RIGHT? I doubt it. The Iraq war is all the Democrats have. They surely can’t handle anything to do with our country. They make fools of themselves every time they open their mouths when it comes to domestic problems. All they want is socialism. Just look at who they are backing for President. Hillary is the biggest socialist we have had running for President for a long time. She is a follower of Karl Marx and the Democrats in Congress love it.
Gee - why didnt the MSM scream this from the rooftops like they did in July? If he was the most influential Republican in Washington (in July anyway) shouldnt this decision merit the same decibel of coverage, thus communicating to the unwashed that the surge is working?
Cant have that now, can we?
Anne Flaherty..... are you contributing now or have you ever made contributions to the terrorist IRA?
Democrats need to listen to the words of this song....when Americans backed their country: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7-LrX-D5T4&mode=related&search=
...ending weeks of hand-wringing by the White House.No, it's the anti-American left, including Jihad-sucking mediaettes like Anne Flaherty, who have been wringing their hands.
Bush has been plainly repeating over and over what he's said all along: Iraq is a major front in the War on Terror.
It's the hand-wringers, crybabies, traitors and other useful idiots who have been moaning and wailing and shrieking and hyperventilating that "this war is wrong".
According to whom?
Anne's been smokin' the good stuff.
You are so right - it aggravates the bejeebies out of me.
Translation: "Republican moderates" need stroked egos, and cajoling to do what is right.
John-boy Edwards wasn't the only silky pony in the Senate.
The Bush administration was, back in January, almost alone on this issue. the Wimp-moderates were bailing, and the Democrats were chomping at the bit to shut our efforts down.
The Surge has worked, both in turning around Iraq and in turning around Washington, DC.
Exactly right. While I wish President Bush would see the light on the securing the border he and Cheney have more balls than three fourths of Congress.
I REMIND EVERYONE.
The Democrats do not need 60 votes to stop the war. They need only 40 votes. Any funding bill for the military that does not contain the surrender language they can simply refuse to pass.
We can all talk about the pressure on them if they do, and the stories of them cutting off the military, but if they decide their funding sources will dry up completely to zero otherwise, It Could Happen.
Add to this a growing realization within them that . . . if they approve funding and victory continues to unfold, they are cutting their own throats. Do not lose sight of the reality that victory destroys them. They are faced with, therefore, a situation where they are destroyed if they pass a funding bill, and they lose support from their source of political money if they pass a funding bill. The GOP has to keep pressure on them and keep repeating that if they fail to fund the military, they are killing American soldiers and hope that they believe that political risk is worse than their others.
The self-importance of some of “the honorables” seems to come before the importance of what is best for the country. The implication that Rummy’s “sharp style” would prevent them from doing what is right for the country,and prompt them to go along with the opposition in order to show their displeasure with him is sickening, to say the least. Sad thing is that many people wouldn’t put it past them.
Bump for that!
I only hope Fox News jumps on this too.
They don’t even need 40 votes; if a bill comes to a 59-1 vote, the 59 lose. We recently lost several important measures like the Bolton confirmation when the victors failed to muster even 40 votes. I think their margin of victory over Bolton was negative-twenty-three. We need 61 affirmative votes to pass any legislation. That said, the Pentagon must strategize to continue the war indefinitely without appropriation, shifting the fiscal burden of warfare from the taxpayers to the troops personally.
On the other hand, if he can muster one-third of the House to sustain him, then the President can and indeed should veto any and all appropriations until and unless he first receives an altogether acceptable military appropriation. He may need to assent to certain minimal measures to maintain the most critical non-defense federal spending—Congressional paychecks. Such measures would not impair any mandatory spending, including interest on the federal debt, but it would force all federal employees to contribute to the operation of their agencies without receiving any compensation.
The Congress, however, holds the ultimate trump card: impeachment. If the President cannot command the allegiance of a full third of the Senate or (more likely) of half the House, he will succumb. This acrimonious political combat hopefully will not come to impeachment.
And then there’s the election. If the American people somehow elect a Congress willing to fund the war, the troops can get taxpayer funds beginning on 3 January 2009. But we get a new President on 20 January 2009, and she probably won’t resist surrendering to the enemy of the United States.