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November 14, 2007

GOP Surging Into Offense On Iraq

Facts on the ground:

For the first time since losing control of Congress in 2006, Republicans are back on offense in the political struggle over the Iraq war, as Democratic plans to force a change in strategy by President Bush through peeling away his GOP support continue to yield few results.

Republicans are increasingly buoyed by perceived divisions among Democrats, seeming signs of progress on the ground in Iraq and the fact that the first brigade of U.S. troops started coming home Tuesday.


[A]fter a summer of bitter partisan battles over the war, Democrats are going into an Iraq funding battle this week with little hope of dividing Bush and Republicans on Capitol Hill, and they privately seem resigned that the White House will continue to have its way on funding the long-running conflict.

The House is set to debate an Iraq funding bill that liberals believe isn’t strong enough, Republicans refuse to embrace and the president plans to veto.

The Senate, meanwhile, is expected to take up the bill Thursday. But with Republicans insisting on a 60-vote, filibuster-proof threshold and Democrats saying they won’t send a bill to Bush without a troop withdrawal timetable, the measure is doomed.

There is a pervasive sense among Republicans, and even some Democrats, that the war debate has been reframed by signs of success and that both sides need to adapt to facts on the ground.

“I think momentum has been lost for the argument that the surge has failed,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of Bush’s strongest supporters in Congress. “The momentum is to allow the surge to continue. I don’t see anyone defecting from our side. If there’s any change in votes, it will be on their side.”

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), a moderate Democrat who supports a change in mission but not a mandatory troop withdrawal, said, “People understand that there has been a military success in Iraq. ... There’s an expectation that more of that will happen.”

... it has been clear over the past week that there are divisions among Democrats over the $50 billion “bridge” fund. Last week, House leaders pulled their Iraq measure because Democrats needed more time to explain the measure to their caucus. In the Senate this week, Democrats will vote on a “goal” of troop withdrawal, but if it does not gain 60 votes, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says the president won’t get his money.

That makes some Democrats uncomfortable, since they want to fund the troops even while Congress disagrees over how to end the war.

The whole article is worth reading. Not a lot of bombshells, but it's nice to see it noted in the media that with monthly violence falling, the Democrats are hellbent to stress only total cumulative casualties, because obviously that number can't go down, now can it?

Also worth reading just for the sweet glow of confirmation is Rich Lowry's column noting that the media has lost interest in Iraq almost entirely since the war turned in our direction. Now the media only wants to talk about Blackwater.

Odd. When the macro news is bad, they focus on the macro. When the macro news is good, they focus on the worst micro news at hand. Sense a pattern?

Oh: I think this Tony Blankley piece on the underreported victories in Iraq might even be better.

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posted by Ace at 01:36 AM

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