Duplicitous Republican Senators Face 2008 Battle

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Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic point man for steering the successful Democratic Senatorial election efforts in 2006 and the upcoming election in 2008, believes that they can make the Republicans who talk against the war but vote for it pay with their jobs in the 2008 election.

Schumer says he plans to target vulnerable Republicans "in Minnesota, Kentucky, New Hampshire and New Mexico." Those would be: Norm Coleman, Mitch McConnell, John Sununu, and Pete Domenici.

Coleman's talk: "I refuse to put more American lives on the line in Baghdad without being assured that the Iraqis themselves are willing to do what they need to do to end the violence of Iraqi against Iraqi."

Coleman's cloture vote: Nay

McConnell's Talk: "The majority of the public has decided the Iraq effort is not worth it. That puts a lot of pressure on Congress to act because public opinion in a democracy is not irrelevant."

McConnell's cloture vote: Nay

Most of McConnell's speaking about Iraq is really "wait and see" in lockstep with president Bush, but that runs contrary to his acknowledgement that the Republicans are working against the will of the people at this point. As Senate minority leader, he's as close as Democrats can get to running someone against Bush in '08.

It is hard to find actual words from Sununu against the president's war efforts, but actions are easy enough. Sununu is a cosponsor of a bill to implement the proposals of the Iraq Study Group contrary to Bush's wishes. He favors bringing troops home in 2008, just doesn't want to give a deadline: "The study group clearly speaks of the goal of withdrawing combat troops in 2008. That is different than legislating and announcing the day you're going to begin withdrawing troops and the end (date) you're withdrawing troops and communicating that information to your enemies."

He's clearly trying to have it both ways, but at the end of the day, his cloture vote: Nay

Domenici's talk: "I am unwilling to continue our current strategy. I have carefully studied the Iraq situation and believe we cannot continue asking our troops to sacrifice indefinitely while the Iraqi government is not making measurable progress to move its country forward."

Domenici's cloture vote: Nay

It is important that people understand that these people are talking out both sides of their mouths. The two most consistent of the four, McConnell and Sununu, would have nothing to lose in voting for cloture and everything to gain. Had the democrats gotten cloture and actually passed their amendment, there is no way it would overcome a presidential veto.

These men are at no political risk from the right. Hell, I cannot even imagine a Democrat trying to run against them from the right. They can safely move to the center to try to save their seats, but they're not doing so. To me, that says they are true believers regardless of what comes out of their mouths. Their talk about their displeasure at the course of the war could easily be backed by meaningless action making them much harder to ridicule, but they don't do it. For all their talk, they're with the president. Don't be fooled.

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