Meeting in the Aisle

Do the Democrats want to end the war in Iraq or keep the issue? Yesterday we learned the significant news that Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) has left the reservation and is urging President Bush for a new strategy that pulls troops out of Iraq. In response, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was quoted as saying: "Republicans will have the opportunity to not just say the right things on Iraq but vote the right way, too, so that we can bring the responsible end to this war that the American people demand and deserve." Did Reid say he agreed with Domenici and looked forward to working with him? No, he said he couldn't wait to put him on the spot. 

Next up in the Congress are votes on Iraq that Democrats know are unlikely to pass but that they hope will calm the political storm building among the disappointed anti-war left of their party. Do they want to keep holding votes that fail, or are they actively working to recruit Republicans to their efforts, to fashion a new bipartisan policy that makes everyone accountable, whether they are up for reelection or not? Back in April I posted about Reid having signed onto legislation by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) to pull out of Iraq by March of 2008, but he hadn't contacted Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who supports the same date for withdrawal and is likely the most liberal Republican in the Senate.

Now that they have Sens. Richard Lugar (Ind.), George Voinovich (Ohio), Snowe and Domenici — and soon John Warner (Va.), who has hinted at his imminent defection — are Democrats ready to reach across the aisle on the war? How many Republicans make it safe enough to proceed? Or is it easier just to keep voting and talking?