Republicans Would Rather Not Have Their Support for the Surge on Record
How about we start with the clumsiest historical reference I've heard in a good long time? Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) on the anti-surge resolution passed in the House of Representatives yesterday:
Could you picture Davy Crockett at the Alamo looking at his Blackberry getting a message from Congress? "Davy Crockett, we support you. The only thing is we are not going to send any troops." I'm sure that would really be impressive to Davy Crockett. (source: Think Progress)
He would've been impressed with the Blackberry, though. And we didn't send any troops to the Alamo. And the resolution doesn't say we aren't sending any troops -- it says we shouldn't. And Todd Akin's a freakin' idiot.
The rhetoric coming from the right has been pretty crazy. Rep. Don Young (R-AK) threw out a fake Lincoln quote and suggested that democrats ought to be hung. You'd think that the vote wasn't symbolic, but rather consequential.
Of course, that's because it is consequential. The media keeps calling it a 'symbolic' resolution, but anyone paying attention knows its purpose. The purpose is to get people to vote on the surge and get those votes on record. Anyone who thinks a vote for the surge isn't going to come back in a campaign ad in '08 is dreaming. These ads write themselves -- whoever winds up running against Akin ought to print up t-shirts with that Davy Crockett/Blackberry quote. Nothing says, "vote against this guy," like proof positive the guy's an idiot.
A lot of GOP Reps. have gotten a free ride in solidly red districts. And a lot of guys who thought they could rest on their reputations as lockstep robots are out of a job now. People are starting to catch on to empty suits like Akin and Young -- they want representation for their district, not a political party. If your Rep's just going to vote the way their party leadership tells them to, then what purpose do they serve other than a benchwarmer?
Right now, the surge idea is actually gaining support. But the gain represents a change from 26% support to 35%, so the gain doesn't mean much. It's gone from less popular than the plague to less popular than the measles. If this trend continues, it'll soon poll neck and neck with fingernails on a blackboard.
See, that's the thing with this resolution. It may be voted on in the senate today and, pass or not, it can't fail. If the GOP pulls out a win on it, it just means that many more 'Sen. X even voted to extend the war in Iraq' ads in November. It's purpose is to record votes. This was why senate Republicans filibustered it; it's a lot easier to spin a vote for a filibuster than it is to explain a vote to escalate the war. The GOP didn't want this vote to happen -- ever. They didn't want to get their support of this war down in the public record.
Not surprising, really. The war remains very unpopular and the public is extremely pessimistic about it. That same poll that shows increasing support for the surge also shows that a majority -- 56% -- call the war a "hopeless cause."
In other words, the war has become so unpopular that GOPers want to hide their support for it. Good luck with that in November.
UPDATE: The Senate pretty much proves me right -- they'd rather not cast votes in favor of the surge.
Allies of US President George W. Bush again blocked a bid by the Democrat-controlled Senate to open a long-awaited debate on his unpopular Iraq strategy.
In a rare Saturday session, the Democrats failed to win enough support on the floor on a key procedural vote to push ahead with a debate on a non-binding resolution condemning Bush's plan to boost US combat troops.
A total of 56 senators, including seven Republicans, voted to allow debate to start, but that fell four votes short of the 60 needed in the 100-seat Senate to pass the vote. Thirty-four voted against.