Today’s Washington Post tells us that House Democrats are seriously considering cutting off the money for Bush’s plan to send nearly 22,000 more troops to Iraq–which would be the most serious foreign policy confrontation between a President and Congress since the Vietnam War. But that takes two houses.
The group to watch here is not the House Democrats, but Senate Republicans. And here’s why: Last fall’s election, as bad as it turned out to be for the Senate GOP, was as good a political map as they’re going to see for quite a while. In 2008, there will be 21 Senate Republican seats up for re-election, compared with only 12 now held by the Democrats. And of those dozen Democrats, only Mary Landrieu is thought at this point to be vulnerable. The Senate Republicans are already sweating, and they know they have absolutely no margin for political error. We’ve already seen many of their moderates peeling off Bush’s Iraq policy, and such lions as Armed Services Committee Ranking Member John Warner growing louder with their doubts.
Senator Sam Brownback’s defection yesterday was devastating, considering that he is running his long-shot presidential campaign well to the rightward end of the Republican field. Where we see other Senate Republicans landing over the next days and weeks is going to tell us where this plan is really going on Capitol Hill.