Senate Republicans Are in a Panic Over Iraq

The most important and least understood event in Washington politics is the strong possibility that Senate Republicans face an epic disaster of historic dimension in 2008.

With 22 Senate Republicans running in 2008, if the Democrats run Felix the Cat for president the Republicans will almost certainly lose seats in the Senate.

If the Democrats run a respectable presidential campaign, the Republicans could well lose five seats or more.

If the Democratic presidential candidate wins in 2008 it is very conceivable that Democrats could end up with nearly 60 senators.

It is a rare historical anomaly to have 22 senators of either party running in the same
election cycle. Let's play baseball. My team gets to bat for nine innings, your team gets to bat for five innings. That is the equation for the Senate election in 2008.

With Congress returning from the Fourth of July recess next week there will be total bedlam in the Senate Republican Conference and the prospect of a gigantic revolt among Senate Republicans against the current Iraq policy.

The Senate Republicans might well continue their long record of doing what is wrong for the country on Iraq, and doing disaster for their party in the process.

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) has it right on the policy: End the surge now, do not wait for September, but again, he has it wrong on the politics. Once again, as he has done for so long, Lugar says he is prepared to vote for the same policy if the president is not kind enough to change it voluntarily.

Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) has it even more wrong. He cannot say he wants to break with a disastrous policy, but then say he will vote to continue it into next year.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) can make more snide partisan comments about opponents of the policy wanting "surrender dates," but he is leading his party into a gigantic disaster.

For too long Republicans have privately thought the Bush policy is dead wrong, but voted for that policy time and again, and allowed their leaders to attack Democrats for publicly saying what many Republicans privately believe.

The new fair-haired guy of the Republican Party, Fred Thompson, is parading around
the country talking about pardoning Libby, bombing Iran and escalating Iraq while the
old Senate Republican bulls are not sure whether to stand, hide or stampede away.

They should do the right thing. They should fight to end the surge now. They should tell the president his disastrous escalation must end and his disastrous war must be responsibly brought to a close.

There is panic running amok on the Senate Republican side, and the bell is now tolling
for them. The storm clouds are ominous and 60 Democratic senators are within the realm of possibility, whether the Democrats deserve it or not.

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