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September 20, 2007

A Little More Than Two Thirds of an FU Ago
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

I wrote:

What will happen next is a galvanizing event that will make drawdown an acceptable position for mainstream Republicans - The “Republican Murthquake.”  My guess is that we will see this somewhere between July and September.  Perhaps after General Petreaus gives his report on the progress of the “surge.”

Already you see the Republican consensus breaking up.  Minority Leader John Boehner was on the talk shows on Sunday giving ground.  Endangered Republicans like Senators Susan Collins and Norm Coleman are teetering.  And even the National Review has a blog post today on timelines.

So, what will the Republican “Murthquake” look like?  Most likely it will be a prominent conservative calling very publicly and in no uncertain terms for an end to the war.  The most likely candidate is Senator John Warner of Virginia – a former Chairman of the Armed Services Committee.  Collin Powell is another good candidate.  James Baker, Henry Kissinger or maybe someone who resigns from the administration.  Bob Gates would be the optimal choice, but that is far far beyond wishful thinking.

I was wrong.  I was so wrong that Gates and Warner actually became the two people who ultimately had the greatest role in squashing the Webb-Hagel amendment.  At least on the bright side, Republicans had a choice:  A) vote to stop the war B) face political extinction.  They chose B.  Interesting choice.  We'll have to wait until November 08 to see how bad it is.


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No, the problem isn't that the Repubs didn't cave, the problem is that the Dems did. And no, Gates and Warner didn't have the greatest role in stopping Webb-Hagel, the Dems did.

Social security isn't the third rail of politics any more, it's war, and it's true on both sides of the aisle, with Repubs and Dems supporting the Iraq war albeit for different reasons.

The Webb "dwell time" amendment just failed--56 in favor to 44 against. Failed in spite of a majority vote? Yes, because the Senators previously agreed by unanimous consent that the amendment should have to get 60 votes to pass. Unanimous. This consent could have been stopped with one Dem vote, but it wasn't. Not by Obama, not by Sanders, not by Feingold. Or Biden, or Clinton, or even Webb.

Sixty votes is the number required to invoke cloture, stopping a filibuster. Filibuster? What filibuster? Ah--a threatened Repub filibuster. Will this be the new Dem policy? Requiring sixty votes to pass anything, so they're responsible for nothing?

Webb’s amendment also received 56 votes in July, not enough to end a GOP filibuster. The bill was supported by military officers: "Dear Senator Webb, On behalf of the 368,000 members of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), I am writing to express MOAA’s support for your amendment that would support our military men and women by establishing standards for dwell time between consecutive operational deployments."

This time the Dems didn't want to put the Repubs in a difficult position AND they wanted to allow some Repubs to vote for a bill that would fail. Weren't the Dems just special, helping the Repubs this way.

Were the Dems so frightened of another Repub filibuster that they voted unanimously to avoid it, so the Webb amendment would fail earlier than it otherwise would? Are the Dems just going through the motions and in effect supporting the Iraq war through Bush's term because they see a repeat, but in much grander terms, of their wins in 2006? Did the Dems simply drink the Petraeus kool-aid? Or is this just a pattern for the Dems, along with FISA, military commissions and habeus corpus, on which they also folded and represents their support for the National Security State.

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