Voinovich Joins Lugar - The Dam Has Broken
I know that many of you will never agree with my suggestion that the Democrats can wind down the occupation if they make it easier for GOP senators to approve a mission change from occupation to counter-terrorism, rather than a complete withdrawal in Iraq. But please note that if you build it, they will come.
Now Voinovich follows Lugar’s lead. How many other GOP senators will now not want to be left behind?
Lugar and Voinovich said they were still not ready to insist on a timetable for withdrawal. But they both made it clear their patience was gone.
Once Iraq's neighbors "know we are genuinely leaving, I think all of a sudden the fear of God will descend upon them and say, 'We've got to get involved in this thing,'" Voinovich told reporters.
"It can't be something that is precipitous, but I do believe that it should be enough so that people know we are indeed disengaging," he added.
The loss of GOP support for the president's strategy is significant. Democrats may still not be able to push through legislation demanding an end date to the war, but softer alternative proposals are in the works that could still challenge Bush.
After the Fourth of July recess, "you'll be hearing a number of statements from other (Republican) colleagues," predicted Sen. John Warner, R-Va., a longtime skeptic of the war strategy.
Spokesman John Ullyot said Warner is drafting a legislative proposal on the war, but declined to discuss the details. The measure would likely be offered as an amendment to the 2008 defense authorization bill on the floor next month.
The Republicans are already planning to use the 2008 defense budget as the vehicle to force Bush’s hand on Iraq. Are the Democrats ready to get ahead of them on this, or does Carl Levin still want to commit to never tying up the funds for the war?