Friday, January 12, 2007

Republicans Balking on Bush's Iraq Plans, But....

Terrell of Alone on a Limb notes that at least 12 Republicans have concerns about Bush's 'new' Iraq plan. Paul Kiel of Talking Points Memo says 7 Republicans oppose the surge and 9 express reservations but haven't made a decision.

U.S. News has more on the uneasiness of many Republicans (ellipses outside paragraphs mine):
... On Capitol Hill, the President's plan was the object of strong attacks yesterday -- from both sides of the aisle. Some reports suggest the President's support among Republicans may be quickly collapsing. The Financial Times reports Bush yesterday "cut an increasingly lonely and embattled figure as opposition Democrats and fellow Republicans greeted his 'new way forward' in Iraq with a barrage of denunciation. ... This show of Republican opposition prompted comparisons with Richard Nixon during the Vietnam era." The Times quotes an unnamed GOP "strategist" saying, "Republican support for the president is draining rapidly ... It is almost unheard of for Republicans to criticise a Republican president at war so soon after he has made an appeal for support.'" The Washington Times says that while "Republican leaders on Capitol Hill staunchly back" Bush's proposal, "support among the party's rank and file may be crumbling."

Reports in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today and New York Times reach similar conclusions this morning. Nonetheless, the White House still holds out some hope that it will be able to ride out the crisis. ...

There are two issues and they are not always stated explicitly. First is the issue of the troop escalation in Iraq. Second is the issue of a possible war with Iran and even possibly Syria. The two issues are difficult to separate since a troop surge without a regional political settlement makes a wider conflict possible.

On the one hand, it's good that a number of Republicans, particularly in the Senate, are coming around to recognizing the recklessness of the Bush Administration; on the other hand there is a record of Republicans not coming through after making public statements that they would oppose some of Bush's more irresponsible moves. Hang on to your seats. We may be in for a ride.

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