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TIME: Behind the Republican Revolt [View All]

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-19-07 11:11 PM
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TIME: Behind the Republican Revolt
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Behind the Republican Revolt
By KAREN TUMULTY, MASSIMO CALABRESI
Friday, Jan. 19, 2007


Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) in the U.S. Capitol, January 16, 2007
(Jay L. Clendenin/Polaris for TIME)

....Though Democrats are now in charge of both houses, the lawmakers to watch are the Republicans, who for the first time are charting their own course on Iraq. At least a dozen G.O.P. Senators have expressed opposition to Bush's "surge" plan, and one-- potential presidential contender Chuck Hagel of Nebraska--is even working with leading Democrats to pass a resolution against it. Hagel, a twice-wounded Vietnam veteran, has said Bush's plan to increase U.S. troop strength in Iraq by 21,500 represents "the most dangerous foreign policy blunder since Vietnam, and I intend to resist it."

The Senate measure, expected to go to the floor soon after Bush's speech next week, would be nonbinding. However, a strong and bipartisan vote against Bush's surge strategy could pave the way for bolder congressional moves in coming months, including putting restrictions on how money for the Iraq war is spent. One test could come as early as February, when the White House is expected to send Congress a request for supplemental funding for the war. Representative John Murtha, who opposes the war and chairs the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, has said he won't move to cut off funds. But he may, for instance, mandate that soldiers be given at least a year off between war-zone tours, a move that would make it far more difficult for Bush to find the men and women he needs to carry out his plan.

To circumvent the spectacle of some in the President's own party voting against his war plan, Republican leaders on Capitol Hill are hoping to come up with a resolution that their members can support. It is a sign of how badly Bush is faring that they are considering endorsing a bipartisan plan that was rejected by the President. The Iraq Study Group's recommendation last month for a phased withdrawal "is the best option for Republicans at this stage," says a senior G.O.P. aide. "It would be less of a repudiation."...

***

Republicans are already looking past the President's plan, worrying about the long-term damage they could suffer even after Bush is out of office, much as the "Vietnam syndrome" has for decades haunted Democrats. That's a lesson from history that Republicans don't want to repeat. But if Iraq's troubles spread farther in the region, says Richard Lugar, the senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "that will be perceived as a very large failure on the part of whoever is in power."

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,158042...
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