60 Democratic Senators?

The most underestimated statistic in American politics is that 21 Republican senators are running for reelection in 2008, creating the possibility of seismic gains for Democrats.
Is Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) a brilliant tactician leading his caucus to a catastrophic disaster in 2008?

Consider the perspective of Dick Morris. In his analysis, the Iraq war votes are a game of chicken in which Republicans aggressively go to the mat for the president's policy, and prevail because of their iron will.

Setting aside whether the lives of our troops should be subject to a game of chicken by partisans in Washington, in a war that is going poorly, with tidal opposition from the American people, this strategy at best achieves irrelevant short-term tactical gains in return for strategic disaster for the GOP.

When Sen. McConnell maneuvered with a successful filibuster to defeat the non-binding resolution in the Senate, what did he achieve?

His party was overwhelmingly blamed by the public, yet again, on Iraq. Some of the wisest Republicans in the Senate found their sound advice ignored, and were embarrassed by essentially voting both for and against their own proposal, within days.

It is true that Democrats have differing opinions about how to change Iraq policy. It is true that no matter what Democrats enact, it would be vetoed by the president. Mr. Morris's bag of tricks, for games of chicken, could well win
the tactical victory.

But: Do 21 Senate Republicans help our country, our troops, or their own reelection efforts by way of these maneuvers that triumph for the status quo of President Bush's Iraq policy?

Truth to power: Having worked for the House Democratic Leadership and senior Senators such as the late Lloyd Bentsen (Texas), I know many thoughtful Republicans in Congress, and I posit this question:

What would the vote be, if our Maker in Heaven summoned the Republican Caucus and asked this question: "In your private conscience and based on your military judgment, do you believe the president's policy in Iraq will be the basis of great success, or tragic failure?"

For those confident of success in the surge and the escalation, Mr. Morris's chicken and Sen. McConnell's maneuvers will lead to a brilliant victory in 2008.  For the overwhelming majority of Republicans in Congress, who will not say publicly what they have long believed privately, the freight train of electoral disaster is heading towards them at 100 miles an hour.

Scandals that harm Republicans are revealed by the hour. Investigations by Democrats that have barely begun will yield even more nasty revelations. The Iraq policy is in very deep trouble.

Mr. Morris and Sen. McConnell are playing high-stakes poker with a pair of threes visible to all, and they raise the ante?

For Republicans interested in some better advice, try this: If the ethics committee would grant me a waiver, I would hire a room at a Washington restaurant and buy lunch for Sens. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), John Warner (R-Va.), Jim Webb (D-Va.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii). Patriots, military experts, war heroes all.

These gentlemen could put their leadership and goodwill together to craft a policy where the wings of eagles triumphed over the games of chicken. This would be a far wiser course for Republicans, and a far better course for the nation, than tactical maneuvers that lock them into a clenched-teeth defense of a disastrous
status quo.