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Updated: 2014-10-04T23:53:13.032-07:00

 



Liddy Dole in the 30s

2007-03-05T09:25:13.958-08:00

The News & Observer reports on a new poll showing Dole with 35% favorability and all the usual general problems with being a Republican with this president.

Only 35 percent of likely voters in North Carolina plan to support Dole in her re-election bid in 2008, according to a new poll from the Democrats. Dole started campaigning recently for her second term in the Senate after months of speculation about whether she would run again.



Resignation?

2007-02-23T14:28:13.493-08:00

A long time ago, I did freelance work for investment advisers to large pension funds. Their work focused on macro issues--interest rates, oil prices, stuff like that. Most of what I did was grunt work, but every once in a while, I'd have an idea they'd ask me to write up. The best of these was a prediction that a surprisingly large number of members of Congress and the Senate would not run for re-election. There had been a change in the campaign finance law. After that race, elected officials would no longer be allowed to take their warchests as personal income once they left office.

I turned out to be right. The resignation rate was unprecedentedly high.

When we're talking about our 21 little senators, there's good reason to think that a number of them will bail rather than face voters on Iraq. Markos links to an analyst who points out that you can't believe what sitting senators say about their reelection plans.

Does Warner really want to talk about Iraq? Does he really want to debate some Webb clone? Does Stevens really want to hear about the TUBEZ from some 50 year old whipper snapper? Being a retired senator is living a very good life. A campaign with an energized opposition, when you're pushing 80, not so much. If we can get candidates in place, seats will become open seats.



Open Letter to MoveOn and other 527s

2007-02-23T10:09:14.931-08:00

Please, please start running some radio ads in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. It can't cost much. You can start with this.

If you've forgotten your password to get to his campaign web site, Ted Stevens knows why:

Through a series of highly sophisticated and complex algorithms, this system has determined that you are not presently authorized to use this system function. It could be that you simply mistyped a password, or, it could be that you are some sort of interplanetary alien-being that has no hands and, thus, cannot type. If I were a gambler, I would bet that a cat (an orange tabby named Sierra or Harley) somehow jumped onto your keyboard and forgot some of the more important pointers from those typing lessons you paid for.


Point out that Alaska was made a laughingstock over The Bridge to Nowhere.

Then run the Tubes speech.

Then ask whether Ted Stevens is really still right for Alaska.



5 out of 7

2007-02-17T14:17:40.145-08:00

Sens. John Warner of Virginia, Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Susan Collins of Maine, Chuck Hagel of [Nebraska*], Gordon Smith of Oregon, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

CNN reports these to be the Republicans voting to stop the filibuster. While it's true that Oregon, Maine and Minnesota are Blue States, Pennsylvania is purple, and Virginia is turning purple, this is a pretty clear sign that facing the voters in 08 is scaring some people.

Only Snowe and Specter are not on our list.

*CNN reported "Minnesota."



DSCC goes after Sununu and Smith

2007-02-14T07:59:41.831-08:00

(image)
From TPMCafe:

DSCC targets senators.

The time to put the pressure on is right now. Don't let them off the hook. Just as the House dems are making their Republican colleagues get on the record on the war, the DSCC needs to force the republicans onto the record.



Reminder. of what this is all about.

2007-02-08T01:32:34.578-08:00

These are the Senators in class II, up in 2008:

Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Thad Cochran (R-MS)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Larry Craig (R-ID)
Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)
Pete Domenici (R-NM)
Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Chuck Hagel (R-NE)
Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Gordon Smith (R-OR)
Ted Stevens (R-AK)
John Sununu (R-NH)
John Warner (R-VA)
Susan Collins (R-ME)
Norm Coleman (R-MN)

MoveOn calls out six of these guys in an ad running in key O8 states.


The $130,000 ad campaign -- which specifically targets GOP Senators John Warner, Sam Brownback, John Sununu, George Voinovich, Arlen Specter, Mitch McConnell and Elizabeth Dole -- will run nationally on CNN and in some local markets in D.C., New York, New Hampshire, Kansas, Maine, and Virginia.


via Election Central at TPM



No longer a voice in the wilderness

2007-02-06T08:48:46.341-08:00

I set up this blog because I thought insufficient attention was being paid to the plight of republicans in the class of 2008. Senators don't get gerrymandered districts. They have to appeal to their entire state, and even the reddest of states is 40-45 percent blue. The war has cost the republicans the independent vote, and every single senator is vulnerable to an opposing candidate. In AK, Ted Stevens needs to fear a Tester clone, in SC Graham should be afraid of someone like Webb, and in ME, OR, MN and NH they already know that they are in serious trouble.

So I've been hoping that people would start figuring this out, would put pressure on their senators now, and find candidates who would hang the war around their necks, and get them out of office. Hence this blog.

Well, I'm alone no longer. Markos has noticed:



The problem with these Republicans is that Collins, Warner, Coleman, and Smith face tough or potentially tough re-election battles in 2008, and [the extremely weak, nonbinding] bill [on the Iraq war] was going to offer them cover while accomplishing zero to actually end the war. Yet they were forced by their leadership to vote against their own resolution, giving Democrats a vicious electoral cudgel to use against them.


The pressure is going to keep growing. We're now seeing, in Iraq, what ended the Russian occupation of Afghanistan--the insurgency's ability to shoot down helicopters. Saudi supplied? Could be. But it's clear to everyone except Bush, Barney and Joe Lieberman that this war has been lost. We need to make our republican senators aware of this, and make it clear that it they want to keep their seats, they have to end this madness.



19 0f 21

2007-02-06T08:48:46.430-08:00

Only Collins and Coleman voted to continue debate on the Warner-Levin non-binding resolution. The other 19, including tough talk, no walk Chuck Hagel voted against the President's wishes.



Sununu flees

2007-02-05T14:42:13.135-08:00

You think Sununu isn't feeling the pressure?


When Sen. John E. Sununu (R-N.H.) saw reporters approaching him last week, he took off in a sprint, determined to say as little as possible about a nonbinding resolution opposing President Bush's troop-escalation plan, which is expected to come before the Senate today.

"You know where I stand," the senator, who is considered politically vulnerable back home, said repeatedly as he fled down stairways at the Capitol. "I'm still looking."


Still looking. He's looking for a way out. Last week, Chuck Schumer, head of the DSCC, in the process of promoting his new book on Imus and The Daily Show, said that he didn't think a binding resolution would be needed, because the republicans themselves would end the war before 08. But he's already moving toward a firmer stance. In an interview on myDD with Jonathan Singer, he goes farther than he went during his two interviews last week.

I think the President has so messed up Iraq. We'll do everything we can to stop this surge. If we can stop it - or if we can't, even - and we're going to try, but remember he can veto, so 67 votes is a hard thing to do. And I'm not talking about the non-binding resolution. I believe strongly that we have to go further and have something that really ratchets up the pressure on the President and has real teeth. I think this does have some teeth, in terms of public pressure, but I don't think it's the whole thing. We gotta go further.

Having said that, I think that Iraq is such a mess that the President himself, pressured by Republicans, is going to start pulling out troops by the beginning of 2008 because they're not accomplishing a darn thing. It's not helping in any way and it's an anchor tied to the foot of every Republican candidate.

Now I don't want it to be mistaken. If he doesn't pull out it will be a huge issue and we'll make it a huge issue. But I think we have to be prepared for the fact that it may well be that, forced by Republican pressure and just the total incompetence of what they've done - policing a civil war doesn't solve any problem in Iraq and doesn't solve any problem politically for them here at home - that it may be when November 2008 rolls around that there are half the troops or even less than half the troops we have now and they are on their way out.


This is a substantial movement from his earlier position. He's now saying that there will be binding bills passed, even if they are vetoed. This is the pressure that needs to be put on the Senate class of 2008. They can be with the president, or they can be with the people.

Sununu is looking for cover. There is no cover. Right now, Reid is speaking, and he is saying that they cannot stop the debate on Iraq. Cloture on the non-binding resolution may be voted. The debate will take place--on an appropriations bill, on a DoD funding bill. The debate will take place.

In some ways, having the republicans vote down this resolution is a short term loss and a long term win.



Norm Coleman Dumpster Diving

2007-01-26T19:42:17.521-08:00

Whoo-boy. The stress must be growing. Norm Coleman hurt his head while diving in a dumpster.

No joke. WaPo. Funny, but not a joke.



Outgoing Allard Wants to End Federal Min Wage

2007-01-25T14:04:02.765-08:00

Senator Allard (CO) proposed an amendment that would have eliminated the minimum wage, allow states to set their own levels. AFL-CIO has the details.

28 Senators voted for it, including some of our Class II favorites:

Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Cochran (R-MS)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Hagel (R-NE)
Inhofe (R-OK)
McConnell (R-KY)
Sununu (R-NH)

Note that there this list includes war waverer Sununu and war opponent Hagel.

Give them a call. Leave a comment about what they have to say.



Rocks and Hard Places

2007-01-25T10:04:31.545-08:00

Hagel was the only Republican member of Foreign Relations to vote for his resolution.The other members are Richard Lugar (IN), Bob Corker(TN), Norm Coleman(MN), Lisa Murkowsi (AK), John Sununu(NH) George Voinivich (OH), Jim Demin(SC), Johnny Isakson (GA), and David Vitter (LA).The ones we care about here, besides Hagel, are Sununu and Coleman. Both have expressed reservations about the war, but both are tiptoeing around the issue, trying to triangulate it the way Lieberman did in his general election campaign. Note that the strategy worked for Lieberman. Lamont failed to define Lieberman as for the war.This is seen by conventional wisdom observers as an indication that there may not be enough votes on the floor for passage.The question for Democrats right now is whether to weaken the language just to get it passed, by adopting Condi's "augmentation" word instead of the dreaded E word.But the bigger question which will grow and grow as what Hagel called an escalation without a plan fails, is do you let these guys get away with not taking a clear position on the war? And do we still have to worry about spineless Democrats?Because the answer to the last question is rather amazingly, "yes, we do."--amazingly, that is, given how strong public opinion--the answer to the first question is easy. Act boldly, and speak strongly.Another piece of conventional wisdom, as I heard from Schumer on Imus this morning, and as I read from him somewhere today, is that by late summer or early fall, this will have clearly failed, Bush will be losing Republicans left and right (especially the class II Republicans we follow here). Schumer's typical approach is not act boldly now, but to let them twist in the wind, and, just by the way, avoid taking a tough position. Clinton echoes this strategy.Leave asideYou can't leave aside the fact that they are doing the moral equivalence of what the President and other war supporters are doing. They're putting their political skins ahead of American troops and innocent Iraqis. At this point, especially if you saw Cheney's apparently* delusional performance with Blitzer yesterday, it is very clear that this is a catastrophic failure, and the administration's plan is to just run out the clock, and leave it for Hillary to deal with. If there were some chance that having Americans shoot more Iraqis that civil war and resulting failed state could be avoided, then perhaps it would be worth. But when they can't even get members of parliament to stay in the country, let alone attend sessions, the "political solution" that is all the rage is clearly not in the cards.The right thing to do is follow Kucinich's lead and pass the next 100 billion dollar appropriations bill under the conditions that it be used to schedule withdrawal and redeployment. This is the right thing to do because it's going to be done later, anyway, with the same post-withdrawal conflagration.But this is also the right thing to do, politically. Right now, Bush has screwed both John McCain, by hanging the escalation around his neck, and the rest of his party, by not accepting the cover offered by the ISG. Right now, this is a Republican war. This is not the time, politically, for compromise and acquiescence. This is the time to take a bold stand, and force the Republicans either to whole-heartedly own this war, or to throw the President under the bus in the hopes of saving their seats. Taking a strong stand will stiffen the spines of the wavering, weak-willed Democrats who must have taken notice that MoveOn is spearheading a group that will identify Democratic elected officials who do not represent their districts on issues like Iraq.It's time to make Norm Coleman, and, yes, Hillary Clinton, to make an up or down vote on this war. It's a [...]



Hagel On Fire

2007-01-24T11:14:12.163-08:00

Chuck Hagel is angry.

He points out that there is no strategy, no plan. The troops are being committed to Anbar and Baghdad without a plan:

I don't think we've ever had a coherent strategy. In fact, I would even challenge the administration today to show us the plan that the president talked about the other night. There is no plan. I happen to know that Pentagon planners were on their way to Central Com over the weekend -- they haven't even Team B'ed this plan.... There is no strategy. This is a ping-pong game with American lives.


via tpmMuckraker



Warner Denounces Escalation

2007-01-22T09:55:29.013-08:00

Think Progress quotes CNN.


Sen. John Warner (R-VA) will introduce a resolution today “making clear that he does not support the President on increasing the troop levels in Iraq” and calling escalation “a mistake,” CNN’s Dana Bash reports. Warner’s resolution will be cosponsored by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ben Nelson (D-NE).

Warner, the former Armed Services Committee chairman, is a “very influential voice when it comes to military matters,” Bash reports, and until this fall had been “whole-heartedly behind the president and the war.” His new resolution “certainly…is not going to sit well with the White House.”


I've wondered whether Warner would hang up the towel rather than defend the administration position on Iraq. Looks like he is keeping his options open. This is kinda like Orrin Hatch supporting strict enforcement of the FISA regs. Warner will provide cover to other republicans in the group of 21 to oppose escalation--and, later on, to support withdrawal.

Update:

The Carpetbagger has more on the Warner position.



Liddy Dole is Getting Nervous

2007-01-21T09:45:32.746-08:00

News Observer


If George Bush loses Elizabeth Dole on the war in Iraq, he is in big trouble.

Though North Carolina's senior senator continues to support the war, there are hints she is taking a more independent view of the president's plan to increase troops there.

Bush has had no more steadfast allies on the war than the two Tar Heel senators, Republicans Dole and Richard Burr.

But after the president's announcement of an escalation of troops, Burr and Dole responded differently.

Burr, who recently returned from Iraq, said he supported the increase in troops "provided those troops are given a clearly defined mission and achievable military objectives."

Dole, who was in Iraq last spring, was more hesitant, saying she was "inclined" to support the troop increase.

As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Dole said she "want(s) to know more details about the specific missions these men and women will perform, and how this new direction will get the job done, stabilize Iraq, and allow our troops in harm's way to return home."

The difference between Burr's support and Dole's more qualified support is subtle, but it's significant.



Current positions

2007-01-18T10:02:30.406-08:00

This is gonna be moving for some time to come. Here's an AP article that details the various positions. (via Kagro X at Daily Kos).

Ten Republicans met behind closed doors late Wednesday with Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (news, bio, voting record), R-Ky., in a bid to generate consensus on Iraq. The senators emerged from the meeting to announce that no deal had been reached.


"To feed more American troops into this bloodbath is wrong," Hagel said Thursday on ABC's "Good Morning America." In the end, he said, Iraqis must determine their own future.

...

"It is not in the national interest of the United States to deepen its military involvement in Iraq, particularly by escalating the United States military force presence in Iraq," the resolution states.

Hagel, a possible presidential contender in 2008 who helped draft the proposal with Sens. Joe Biden, D-Del., and Carl Levin (news, bio, voting record), D-Mich., called the resolution a "genuine bipartisan effort."

....

"If my Democrat colleagues are truly opposed to the mission in Iraq, then as the new majority in Congress they should schedule a serious debate and a vote on cutting off funding for our troops," said Cornyn, R-Texas.

....

Sen. Norm Coleman (news, bio, voting record) of Minnesota, one of several Republicans wary of Bush's plan, said he is concerned the resolution may go too far. Coleman spokesman Tom Steward said the senator is open to an increase in the Anbar province, for example.

"Senator Coleman has repeatedly conveyed his specific concerns to the president and is hopeful that Congress can find bipartisan common ground on this resolution going forward," Steward said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (news, bio, voting record), R-S.C., said that resolution would say the Senate believes the war in Iraq cannot be lost "and this strategy could bring about success if properly supported."

Sen. John Warner (news, bio, voting record), R-Va., is considering an alternative proposal. Rather than denouncing the president's strategy, it would voice support for recommendations by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. That panel did not recommend sending more troops unless specifically requested by a military commander.


Coleman is being incredibly stupid. Flipflopping on this is worst thing he can do. Coryn and McConnell's approach makes a heckuva lot more political sense. Back the president, back the troops, accuse the Democrats of cowardice. Graham's position is silly--any war can be lost, and we're losing this one. I continue to believe that Warner may prefer to skip the 08 race, because 1) it is going to be a very ugly campaign and 2) VA is turning purpler by the day.



Hagel Joins Levin and Biden

2007-01-18T06:16:58.599-08:00

Chuck Hagel (NE) has joined Senators Levin and Biden in sponsoring a non-binding resolution in opposition to escalation. From CNN:


Speaking on CNN's "The Situation Room," Hagel said Congress needs to be more assertive in determining U.S. policy regarding what he called a civil war in Iraq.

"We are no longer just going to quietly stand by, as we have done for the last four years, and let our young men and women be thrown into this conflict when they cannot affect the outcome," Hagel told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

"This is the biggest issue facing our country since Vietnam," Hagel added. "It's dividing our nation. It is dangerous for our country. It's dangerous for the world. The Congress needs to be part of this."


CNN reported yesterday that as many as eight republican senators will support this resolution. They flashed a shot with Collins, Hagel, Smith, Coleman, Snowe, Sununu and two others who I don't recall. My recollection is that six of the eight are in the class of 08. MyDD reports that Kennedy said something similar yesterday, citing potential supporters in ME, NH and MN.

Smith has said he cannot support the resolution as it stands:


One Republican opponent of a troop increase, Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon, said he opposes the resolution because it uses the word "escalating," which he said is a partisan term used by Democrats that "unnecessarily inflames the resolution."

Biden, Levin and Hagel said the wording could be changed to make the resolution more palatable.


John Coryn, on the other hand, expressed strong support for the president's plan, and there is no sign that McConnell is weakening either.

The pressure keeps growing. And the president's Iraq policy is cratering. Kevin Drum, citing the LA Times:


Public support for the war has pretty much cratered:

As he seeks to chart a new course in Iraq, Bush also faces pervasive resistance and skepticism toward the U.S. commitment -- more than three-fifths [62%] of those surveyed said the war was not worth fighting.

....Asked about Bush's recent announcement that he would dispatch another 21,500 troops to Iraq, three-fifths [60%] said they opposed the move, while just over one-third [36%] backed it.

....A narrow majority -- 51% -- want Congress to try to block Bush from sending more troops to Iraq.

....Americans divide in similar proportions when asked whether Congress should attempt to require Bush "to begin withdrawing the troops already in Iraq."

Exactly half said Congress should take steps to begin removing troops (42% opposed such an effort).


Somebody remind me. How long did it take before public opinion turned this sharply against the Vietnam War?

(Answer: It's a trick question. Opposition reached 61% in 1971 but never exceeded that number. The Iraq war is now more unpopular than the Vietnam War ever was.)



20 Little Senators

2007-01-15T16:49:06.535-08:00

Allard is not running. CO offers a good chance for a pickup as an open seat. Josh's folks are on it.

Election Central

Update:

DownWithTyranny has a less neutral, snarkier, and much more fun take on Wayne Allard's species coming extinction.

Oh and DWT also points out that Susan Collins made a promise....



Allard, whose extremist politics and clownish behavior made it fairly certain that he wasn't about to be re-elected in any case, announced today that his pledge to only serve two terms would be honored. Many Republicans took that pledge when they first ran. Very few have honored it. Susan Collins was first elected at the same time Allard was and she made the same pledge. Of all the senators up for re-election in 2008, Allard has the lowest approval rating-- and Collins has the highest. Does anyone think she'll honor her pledge?Allard, whose extremist politics and clownish behavior made it fairly certain that he wasn't about to be re-elected in any case, announced today that his pledge to only serve two terms would be honored. Many Republicans took that pledge when they first ran. Very few have honored it. Susan Collins was first elected at the same time Allard was and she made the same pledge. Of all the senators up for re-election in 2008, Allard has the lowest approval rating-- and Collins has the highest. Does anyone think she'll honor her pledge?



Today's Escalation Update

2007-01-15T16:29:51.427-08:00

The good folks at TPMCafe has been doing the legwork. Here are seven of the twenty-one taking the first step. Raising questions or outright opposing escalation.


AGAINST THE SURGE:

Chuck Hagel, (R-NE): “I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam -- if it's carried out. I will resist it.” [Senate Foreign Relations Committee Testimony, 1/11/07]

Norm Coleman, (R-MN): “My position is very clear…I do not support the surge plan.” [The Marshall Independent, 1/11/07]

Gordon Smith, (R-OR): “These are Iraqi questions that Iraqis must settle. Whether they settle them peacefully or violently, I don’t want American men and women caught in the middle.” [1/9/07]

Susan Collins, (R-ME): “Based on the trip I took to Iraq last month, I concluded it would be a mistake to increase the overall level of troops in Iraq.” [Chicago Tribune, 1/11/07]

Sam Brownback, (R-KS): “I do not believe that sending more troops to Iraq is the answer…Iraq requires a political rather than a military solution.” [Press Release, 1/10/07]

Toe in the water:

Saxby Chambliss, (R-GA): “I firmly believe that a large increase in troops without having a specific mission will only increase insurgent opposition, and that a withdrawal of U.S. forces at this time would be detrimental to Iraqi security.” [The Columbus Ledger-Inquirer, 1/11/07]

John Sununu, (R-NH): “There were some areas where I have a little bit more concern, such as whether or not the use of the troops discussed will really be appropriate in dealing with sectarian violence in Baghdad…” [Senate Foreign Relations Committee Testimony, 1/11/07]



Sununu's Seat is On the Line

2007-01-12T05:01:07.615-08:00

myDD reports that Sununu's seat is being targeted by the DSCC, and that there are multiple NH politicos interested in the seat.

There's going to be more and more of this. As Murtha said lo these six months ago, the American public is way ahead of the Congress. A CBS news poll reports that 75%-seventy-five percent-of Americans believe the president should get Congressional approval before escalating:

Do you think the President should have to get the approval of Congress before increasing the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, or should he be able to make that decision himself?

75% overall, 51% of Republicans, 93% of Democrats and 78% of Independents favor Congressional approval.

And the American people are also well aware of how bad the situation is. In reponse to this question:

Which of these do you think is most likely?
1. Iraq will become a stable democracy in the next year or two, OR
2. Iraq will become a stable democracy, but it will take longer than a year or two, OR
3. Iraq will probably never become a stable democracy.


Only 3 percent believe that Iraq will become a stable democracy in the next year or two, and 45% say that Iraq will never become a democracy. Opposition to this war is broad, and it is deep. The voters do not believe in either the war itself, or in the only remaining pretext the administration has.

Democrats need to get out of their foxholes and take strong anti-war positions, forcing Republican Senators to choose between the president's misbegotten war and their seats.

When you email your red state senators, be sure to include the pdf of the CBS poll.



Chris Bowers lists the listers

2007-01-11T14:27:58.436-08:00

Chris Bowers has compiled the parlor pinkos (sorry, if they're gonna be red states, then the wafflers are pinkos).

This is the first tiny wavelet. After this plan fails, there's gonna be a deluge--either Republicans abandoning the president, or the House and Senate going Democrat.

And I have no idea what Joe Lieberman is going to do.



McConnell Threatens Filibuster

2007-01-11T13:36:41.969-08:00

Mitch McConnell is threatening to filibuster anti-escalation bills. Fascinating how quickly they switch their principled positions. When they were in the majority, the filibuster wsas an anti-democracy tool used by evil midgets. Now it has returned to a central part of Hill statecraft.

Bring it on, I say. Make Bush veto a bill that reflects the views of 70 percent of the country. If it's stopped by a filibuster, all the better. We'll see how many of the 21 senators McConnell can line up. And we'll be keeping track. via Raw Story


A top GOP senator said that he "will filibuster" any Democratic attempt to decrease funding for President Bush's new Iraq plan, the Associated Press reports.

"At a news conference, McConnell accused Democrats of secretly favoring a plan to cut off funding for the troops - an allegation that Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. denied," AP reports.

"The fundamental decision to stay on offence and to finish the job, I think is correct, and we believe the president is heading in the right direction and tend to support him," Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell said before Bush's speech last night.

McConnell also talked to some right-leaning bloggers earlier this morning to earn their support for his potential filibuster, telling them on a conference call with other journalists that he expects Independent Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman to also join in with the Republicans.


And it's kinda funny that he's turning to the wingnut blogosphere as they continue their death spiral into irrelevance.



Hagel Hardens His Language

2007-01-11T11:05:31.420-08:00

Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel also a potential 2008 contender for the White House, called Bush's plan "the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam" and vowed to resist it.


Reuters

There are reports that as many as 10 republican senators oppose escalation. There are also reports that I can't find at the moment that McConnell may filibuster a sense of the senate resolution in opposition of escalation.



Norm Coleman in Star-Tribune

2007-01-11T10:18:52.658-08:00

"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 said.

"A troop surge in Baghdad would put more American troops at risk to address a problem that is not a military problem," Coleman said. "That just doesn't make sense."


Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Thanks to Liane, who must be experiencing the weirdest weather in Minnesota history. I've read there has liquid water sighted in Minnesota in January.

Back on topic, this seems to be a position where the scared 08ers are coalescing around--demand Iraqis meet some goals before sending in more Americans.

As I posted earlier, the first step toward withdrawal is opposing escalation.



Just a Wee Bit Off-Topic

2007-01-11T09:30:28.952-08:00

If you do contact your Red State 08 Senator, I think it's worth mentioning this frightening comment from Bush:

He put it far more bluntly when leaders of Congress visited the White House earlier on Wednesday. “I said to Maliki this has to work or you’re out,” the president told the Congressional leaders, according to two officials who were in the room. Pressed on why he thought this strategy would succeed where previous efforts had failed, Mr. Bush shot back: “Because it has to.”


from today's
NYTimes.

This one quotation succinctly summarizes the President's approach.

First, note that he first makes it very clear that there is no sovereign Iraqi state--that Maliki serves at the pleasure of the president of the United States not as an expression of will of the Iraqi people. It's pretty much impossible to conduct the political diplomacy necessary to lower the level of strife between the Sunnis and the Shiites if the government is an American puppet.

Second, that "Because it has to" quotation is truly frightening. Ask your Senator if he or she really believes that war should be conducted on the basis of hopes and dreams rather than hard-headed assessment of the real situation and what can be salvaged from this misbegotten imperial adventure.