McConnell Iraq Watch

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A key Republican to watch for signs of a shift in position in the wake of the Petraeus report is Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader. McConnell has, for the most part, been a reliable supporter of the President’s policies on Iraq, including the surge. But he’s facing an increasingly hostile political environment at home, where the war is unpopular and McConnell’s vague stance on the McCain/Kennedy/Bush immigration bill hurt him with his conservative base. Last night some 600 anti-war protesters rallied in Louisville to put pressure on McConnell, who is up for re-election next year (hat tip to Michael Lindenberger, who steered me to the protest story) Given that Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker are expected to report that the surge has been a partial success, McConnell is not likely to bolt in the short term. But his surprisingly tenuous political position in Kentucky (48% job approval in last month’s Survey USA poll, according to the Washington Times) means his support is no longer a given.