Senate Republicans find themselves in a world of hurt over today’s headlines declaring that they have blocked debate over Iraq policy. They are still getting the hang of being in the minority, and it is dawning on them that when the subject at hand is an unpopular war, it’s not a good idea to shut things down with an argument over procedure.
So today, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement that tries to turn the tables and accuse the Democrats of being the ones who stopped the debate, because their leaders wouldn’t allow a vote on Judd Gregg’s resolution against cutting off funds (which would appear certain to pass handily). The Republicans want to vote on that resolution, in exchange for allowing consideration of the bipartisan (and nonbinding) one authored by Republican John Warner that opposes President Bush’s troop buildup plan.
Republicans are in a pretty deep hole here, however, so watch for some of their troops–especially the presidential candidates and endangered Senate ’08ers–to start breaking ranks if they don’t come up with a more compelling argument quickly.
UPDATE AT 4:30 EASTERN: Gloves are really coming off (if ever they were on) on the Senate floor. John McCain just told Harry Reid and Dick Durbin that it’s impossible to support the troops unless you support the mission. “A vote of no confidence is a vote of no confidence in the men and women who are serving in the military,” MCCain just said. “It doesn’t sell.” Warner now out there coming to the defense of his resolution.