In a rare Saturday session, supporters of the nonbinding resolution opposing President Bush’s troop surge in Iraq were still unable to get the required 60 votes to end debate and put the measure to a vote. The vote was 56-34 in favor of putting the resolution to a vote. The same resolution passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 246-182 on Friday. “The Senate, on behalf of the American people, must make it clear to the commander in chief that he no longer has a rubber stamp in Iraq,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

Senate Republicans have blasted the Democrats for not allowing votes on Republican proposed alternative measures that included a promise not to reduce funding for the troops.  “A vote in support of the troops that is silent on the question of funds is an attempt to have it both ways,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the GOP leader. “So we are asking for an honest and open debate.”

This was the second time that the Republicans have blocked action on the non binding resolution. However, there are signs that the GOP coalition is eroding. This time seven GOP senators joined the Democrats, which is five more than the last time this same vote was taken. This resolution has put Republican senators in an almost impossible position. “They are torn between their president’s policy and the wishes of the constituents, but vote they must,” said Sen. Charles Schumer.

Majority Leader Reid said that he plans to turn the upcoming debate on antiterrorism legislation into a forum for debate on the Iraq war. I think that all the pressure here is on Republican lawmakers. The Democrats don’t need to allow votes on alternative measures. They can afford to let the burden and pressure of an unpopular, and thus far unsuccessful war, build on the Republicans. This war has turned into an anchor around the necks of GOP lawmakers.

You can be sure that no one is privately wishing for an end to this war more than the congressional Republicans who are up for reelection in 2008. It is likely that if the Iraq war continues on its current course, the GOP will lose even more seats in the 2008 elections. President Bush had hoped that the Iraq would define his administration and his party. It has, but in a way that he could have never expected. This war revived the Democratic Party, and took the national focus off traditional Republican issues. It will be up to future leaders of both parties to figure out how to navigate the nation through Bush’s failed policy.

Be Sociable, Share!