Â On Thursday, Senate Republicans successfully staged a filibuster against legislation sponsored by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). The Feingold-Reid amendment would have required President Bush to begin redeploying the troops out of Iraq within 90 days of its passage. It would have also required that a complete withdrawal of forces out of Iraq be finished by June 30, 2008. A similar measure was voted on in May, and lost by a vote of 29-67. Todayâ€™s outcome was more of the same, with the motion to end debate falling 32 votes of the needed 60, 28-70. All 28 votes in favor of the measure came from Democrats, but 20 Democrats did join 49 Republicans, and pseudo Republican Joe Lieberman in opposing the amendment.
After the vote Sen. Feingold said, â€œI am pleased that the Senate leadership cosponsored and strongly supported this amendment and that, once again, the majority of Democrats supported ending the Presidentâ€™s flawed Iraq policy. The time to safely redeploy our troops from Iraq is now, and I will not relent until it happens. A vote against Feingold-Reid was a vote to continue the Presidentâ€™s disastrous Iraq policy. Every day that the Congress fails to act, our brave troops remain in harmâ€™s way, and our national security continues to be undermined.â€
Sen. Reid said, “They want this war more than they want to protect our soldiers. When I say they want the war, they want to protect their president more than they want to protect our troops.” Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Chris Dodd all voted for the amendment. Obama said, â€œIt’s time to stop giving President Bush a blank check for a war that should never have been fought. The Feingold-Reid legislation starts the responsible redeployment of our troops out of Iraq’s civil war, and sets a hard end date to conclude that drawdown. This is the best policy for our troops, and for pressing Iraq’s leaders to finally get serious about resolving their differences. I have opposed this war from the beginning. I will continue to urge my colleagues to support legislation that sets a direction out of Iraq, and a deadline to complete our drawdown. I will continue to urge Americans to press their Senators and Representatives to come together to end this war.”
Dodd said, “American security suffered a major blow today, when too many of my colleagues voted to side with the Bush Administration and continue our involvement in Iraq’s civil war. General Petraeus said himself that he doesn’t know whether or not this war has made us safer – and yet supporters of this failed policy are using procedural maneuvers to ensure that we could not even get an up-or-down vote on this critical measure.â€
The reality here is that Democrats are still divided on whether or not to advocate an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Even if all the Democrats voted for withdrawal in some form, it wouldnâ€™t matter because they canâ€™t persuade the dozen or so Republicans that they would need in order to be able to override a presidential veto. Republicans may be keeping their honor and showing their loyalty to their president right now, but this position could come at a high cost next November and for many elections to come.
Jason Easley is the politics editor at www.411mania.com/politics His column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Jason is also the host of TPU Radio, which can be heard at www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse every Sunday morning at 11 AM ET.