Dueling Resolutions

DUELING RESOLUTIONS….John Warner, former Republican chair of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, plans to introduce a resolution opposing President Bush’s “surge” in Iraq. Steve Benen wonders if this is helpful to the cause:

Warner is considered an elder statesman of the Senate GOP caucus, in addition to being a credible, experienced voice on foreign policy and national security issues. If Warner steps away from the White House, he takes some Republican colleagues with him.

….That said, it’s a complicated political dynamic, and Warner’s new resolution, while certainly bad news for the White House, isn’t necessarily great news for the Senate’s efforts to criticize the president. War critics had been moving towards backing the bi-partisan Biden-Hagel-Levin resolution, unveiled last week. Though I have not yet seen the language, it appears that Warner’s measure will include weaker, less-forceful language.

A nonbinding resolution is a purely political document that has no effect on actual policy, so the only test of the language is what effect it has on public opinion. Given that, which is better: a stronger statement that clearly differentiates war supporters and war opponents, or a weaker statement that gets more votes? Like Steve, I’ll wait to see what Warner’s actual language is. But I’m inclined to agree that stronger language is better. If Warner’s resolution is more than slightly watered down from the Biden-Hagel-Levin language, it does more harm than good.