Ending the War

ENDING THE WAR….Earlier this morning, writing about the next chapter in the showdown over war funding, I said: “My guess is that maybe 20% of congressional Republicans will join [Democrats] in voting to fund a gradual drawdown when September rolls around. If Democrats are willing to stand their ground and fight, that’s probably enough.” Armando begs to disagree:

I think that is simply fantasy. Who are these “20% of Republicans?” And even if they exist, what of a Presidential veto Kevin? 20% of Republicans is NOT enough for a veto proof majority. When will folks deal with reality here? the NOT funding after a date certain option is the only way to end the Iraq Debacle.

I was rushed this morning, so let me revise and extend my remarks a bit.

First, the 20% number is obviously just a flyer. My guess is that events in Iraq combined with constituent pressure will end up pushing maybe 10 GOP senators and 40 GOP congressmembers into the anti-war camp. This will likely be a combination of moderates who are on the fence already (think John Warner); temperamental isolationists who are hawkish but were never really that thrilled with the neocon grand plan in the first place (think Jeff Sessions); and folks who simply decide that opposition is the only way they can win reelection next year (think Norm Coleman). Needless to say, though, I could be all wet about this.

Second, my whole point was precisely that even if this happens, it’s not enough for a veto-proof majority. That means that Dems have to be prepared to submit variations of the kind of budget resolution Armando and I favor (basically Reid-Feingold) over and over in the face of repeated vetoes, and they have to be prepared to win a fight for public opinion against a president who’s going to claim that this amounts to “not supporting the troops.” (See here for my take on why Dems can probably win this battle.) There’s really no alternative since Democrats aren’t likely to ever “have the votes” to end the war if that means having a veto-proof majority. Public opinion is key, not partisan majorities.