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March 27, 2007

Republican Party Ready To Abandon The Troops

In the Wall Street Journal, Brendan Miniter wonders whether the GOP will ever be a national party again:

Remember Christie Todd Whitman?

As recently as four years ago she was held up as a symbol that the Republican Party was moving away from its conservative roots and would maintain national dominance by appealing to moderate, suburban women. Ms. Whitman herself won two terms as governor of New Jersey and was tapped to run the Environmental Protection Agency by George W. Bush. She left government in 2003, published a book called "It's My Party Too" and created a political action committee aimed at establishing her as a moderate anchor for the GOP.

She then precipitously sank into political oblivion as her party sailed on without her. It's not likely she'll make more than a cameo appearance at next year's Republican National Convention or, for that matter, at any other high-profile Republican event. She won't, we can be confident, persuade many voters to follow her lead with whomever she endorses for president. In a few more years, no one will remember who she is or why she was once an important political figure.

Now another former governor of a Mid-Atlantic state, Maryland Republican Robert Ehrlich, is writing a book aimed at influencing the future of his party. His working title is "Not Your Father's Republican Party," and his aim, unlike Ms. Whitman's, isn't to push the GOP into the mushy middle. In a visit to The Wall Street Journal's offices recently, Mr. Ehrlich said he'll offer this advice to his fellow Republicans: Elect a strong leader. Don't shy away from taking on controversial issues, even those involving race. Return to economic and fiscally conservative principles. And "never apologize when you're right."

Will he be more successful than Ms. Whitman? Last year Rudy Giuliani campaigned for him and before Election Day was telling Republicans in other states to emulate Mr. Ehrlich's strategy of winning votes in a heavily Democratic state by forcefully sticking up for conservative principles.

Standing up for what you believe in?

That would require a backbone: something that, by all the available evidence, the Republican party long ago lost any claim to:

Unwilling to do the White House's heavy lifting on Iraq, Senate Republicans are prepared to step aside to allow language requiring troop withdrawals to reach President Bush, forcing him to face down Democratic adversaries with his veto pen.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) announced the shift in strategy yesterday, as the chamber took up a $122 billion war spending package that includes a target date of March 31, 2008, for ending most U.S. combat operations in Iraq. The provision, along with a similar House effort, represents the Democrats' boldest challenge on the war, setting the stage for a dramatic showdown with Bush over an otherwise popular bill to keep vital military funds flowing.

Republicans will still attempt to remove the deadline in a Senate vote expected as soon as today, and GOP leaders were reasonably confident they would muster a majority. But the margin is expected to be thin, requiring the presence of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who had skipped several previous Iraq votes to attend presidential campaign events. McCain canceled a series of fundraisers and meetings in Florida to return to Washington, telling a conservative radio program that he wanted to "beat back this recipe for defeat that the Democrats are trying to foist off on the American people."

No matter the outcome of the Senate vote, McConnell is looking ahead, assuming House Democrats will insist that withdrawal conditions be included when a final bill is sent to Bush. If so, McConnell said, Republicans would forgo the parliamentary tactics they used to block antiwar legislation that had forced Democrats to amass an insurmountable 60 votes to prevail.

"We need to get the bill on down to the president and get the veto out of the way," McConnell said.

Get this straight, Senator McConnell. This is not the President's war, and it's not his heavy lifting. You were elected to represent us, and I will not forget this.


You and your colleagues just lost my respect and if you don't have the stomach to stand up to your fellow Senators on a matter of principle during wartime, you don't deserve your paycheck.

Or my vote. You are just as contemptible as the Democrats who sold their war votes for a load of pork and earmarks. Our troops deserved better from both parties and Congress has failed them.

You have failed them. You have failed men like this:

Before heading to war last month, Cpl. Jon Dorsey hid 20 books in equipment that he was charged with shipping to Iraq.

Along with titles on quantum physics, he sent General Patton's memoirs, Plato's "The Republic," and Kerouac's "On the Road."

The young soldier from Strong's Prairie, Wis., calls himself a student of history and takes a broad view of his mission as the war enters its fifth year. For him, and a handful of others in this battalion called the Black Lions, it's about shaping the future and spreading US ideals.

But as his unit digs into the new front lines of Baghdad, their views and outlooks, already being tested, will be challenged at every turn.

As part of the Baghdad security plan in two of the city's toughest neighborhoods, Al Amel and Jihad, they are bound to face fierce opposition. Already, the unit has suffered casualties. Last week, three soldiers died in roadside bomb attacks, just days after setting up combat outposts.

To be sure, not every Black Lion in his unit, known as the 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, shares Dorsey's idealism. Others just want to get the job done and make it back alive to their loved ones.

Dorsey says he believes success in Iraq is still attainable if the Army is given enough time and money to regain the trust of average Iraqis and enable the country's security forces to stand on their own. He says many back home were losing the big picture by focusing on the daily violence.

"American soldiers gained their country's independence and we put an end to slavery, fascism, and dictatorships all around the globe. I do not buy into 'we can't stop this and we can't stop that,' " says Dorsey, a freckled redhead from a township in the heart of Wisconsin with barely 70 inhabitants. He joined the Army after high school because he felt college would be just too limiting and, he says, downright boring.

"The only thing that can stop us are people back home. People who decide they have had enough and it's not worth fighting anymore," he says.

Posted by Cassandra at March 27, 2007 07:46 AM

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Captain Ed has a slightly different take; it's not like you could rely on the Post to tell the whole story.

Posted by: SDN at March 27, 2007 12:44 PM

I would like to believe that is true, SDN. I also believe that at this point, symbols matter. This Senate has never backed the President strongly. They have been lilly-livered and worthless from the get-go. If this is what McConnell is doing then great, he should issue a public statement of support for the President.

I think we'll see hell freeze over before that happens though.

Anyway, thank you so much for the link. I was literally sick to my stomach when I saw that article this morning and it did make me feel a bit better.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 27, 2007 01:08 PM

McConnell is a self serving POS. He is first and foremost concerned with his own political power. How the moron Republicans (yes, I'm a Republican) can support gutless drones like McConnell and Trent Lott absolutely defies imagination. Ah, for a viable third party.

To give an example of McConnell's petty shallowness, he denied Matt Fong meaningful national party funding in his '98 campaign against Barbara Boxer. Fong would have won with support and California would have one less fool in the Senate. Fong refused to kiss McConnel's ring. Mitch the Bitch held back funding. Would he dare do this to the surrender RINOs?

"I think we'll see hell freeze over before that happens though."

McConnell isn't Machiavelli, he's a pinhead.

Posted by: Mark at March 27, 2007 04:13 PM

I can't even comment Mark, without saying something I will really regret.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 27, 2007 05:43 PM

I should probably start shopping for some venom offsets. This drives me nuts.

Posted by: Mark at March 27, 2007 06:00 PM

Get this straight, Senator McConnell. This is not the President's war, and it's not his heavy lifting. You were elected to represent us, and I will not forget this.


You and your colleagues just lost my respect and if you don't have the stomach to stand up to your fellow Senators on a matter of principle during wartime, you don't deserve your paycheck.

Cass, don't fall for the WaPo's spin. This is an "inside baseball" problem (procedural). McConnell explained on a blogger call Monday that Reid is trying to stall the vote this week in order to push it past next week's recess (thus putting the vote out three more weeks and near the funding deadline). Reid's trying to pressure Bush to sign it if they pass it.

The supposed drop-dead date for the funding, per DoD, is mid April (although I suspect there is probably more room than that). The Reps want them to vote on the bill this week. So McConnell says they will attempt to get the language removed but, since the President has said he'd veto it, they're inclined to let it pass, let him veto it, and then be ready - after the recess - to vote on a new bill which eliminates the language to which the president objects. The veto will help in that regard.

That instead of waiting to vote after the recess and right at the funding deadline, on a bill which everyone knows he's going to veto. That's what McConnell means by getting the veto out of the way.

See the last paragraph in my post:


He said it isn't the preferred method, but one which will force the Dems have to have to get serious about funding the troops in a timely manner before it becomes a critical problem.

Posted by: McQ at March 27, 2007 06:28 PM

What bothers me, McQ, (and believe me, I don't take anything in the news section of the WaPo straight up) is that every time my party does something like this, it is cast as 'inside baseball'. But the thing is, it rarely ends up working out that way and it is NEVER perceived that way. How many "embattled President" articles will we see between now and then? How much does this kind of crap contribute to his sinking poll numbers?

It is perceived as rats deserting a sinking ship. And perception is the coin of the realm - that is the critical piece of information these too-smart folks never quite seem to cotton onto.

There is something to the old motto, 'We must all hang together or we will most assuredly all hang separately', but to these guys that is a totally foreign concept.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 27, 2007 06:49 PM

The point is the timing though, Cass. As McConnell said, if they continue to fight it and if Reid is successful then in putting it off until after recess, it is possible (with the fight and delay) that it could be May before it ever goes before the President in whatever form.

His point was that if the bill is vetoed and they can't override (and that is almost assured), then they have to present another bill which is supposed to be acceptable (and eliminates that to which he has objected). They can't throw the same one at him again.

So if Reps can get this all done before recess, Bush can veto it during the recess and they can put the new bill together during recess and come back and lead with it at that time.

Shorter version - Delay is an ally for the Democrats --- and I don't mean Tom.

Posted by: McQ at March 27, 2007 07:03 PM

Stop being a man. It is infuriating :p

Why can't these people ever come at anything straight?

if Reid is successful then in putting it off until after recess, it is possible (with the fight and delay) that it could be May before it ever goes before the President in whatever form.

I understand what you are saying. I guess I just don't understand why no one ever raises a huge stink and calls these people on what they are doing?

I think maybe I need to call in that Yoga Action Squad before I blow a gasket. Recess this and recess that - they sound like a bunch of kindergarteners... which is the way some of them are acting. I would give a million dollars to be able to turn Harry Reid over my knee and wallop him good.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 27, 2007 07:25 PM

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