Senate Republican Warmongers

Would Republican members of the U.S. Senate put party above principle? That’s like asking whether Halliburton wants government contracts. Republicans in the Senate have voted twice recently (Feb. 5 and 17) against invoking cloture on a motion to proceed to debate on a non-binding resolution against the president’s plan to send more than 20,000 additional troops into the lost cause that is the war in Iraq. Although a cloture vote is normally used to end a Senate filibuster, cloture can also be invoked on motions to proceed to debate on an issue when the Senate Majority Leader is unable to obtain the unanimous consent to do so. A three-fifths majority is needed to successfully invoke cloture. If a motion to proceed to debate does not win cloture, this effectively shows that Senators who are against a bill will be able to sustain a filibuster. The two bills in question were S.470, introduced on January 31, 2007, and S.574, introduced on February 13, 2007. Both were non-binding resolutions to express the sense of Congress on Iraq. Although both specifically express opposition to Bush’s troop surge plan, S.470 is much more detailed in its findings and recommendations. Actually, S.574 is so brief and straightforward that it is incredible that any member of Congress would vote against it. This bill expresses the sense of Congress that

  1. Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and
  2. Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.

It also amends “The United States Policy in Iraq Act” by adding the following new subsection:

  1. Frequency of Reports on Certain Aspects of United States Policy and Military Operations in Iraq — Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this subsection, and every 30 days thereafter until all United States combat brigades have redeployed from Iraq, the President shall submit to Congress a report on the matters set forth in paragraphs (1)(A), (1)(B), and (2) of subsection (c). To the maximum extent practicable each report shall be unclassified, with a classified annex if necessary.

That’s it. The above three paragraphs are substantially the entire bill. The rogues’ gallery of Republican senators who voted against allowing debate on each of these non-binding resolutions is as follows:

  • Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
  • Wayne Allard (R-CO)
  • Sam Brownback (R-KS)
  • Jim Bunning (R-KY)
  • Richard Burr (R-NC)
  • Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
  • Tom Coburn (R-OK)
  • John Cornyn (R-TX)
  • Larry Craig (R-ID)
  • Mike Crapo (R-ID)
  • Jim DeMint (R-SC)
  • Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)
  • Pete Domenici (R-NM)
  • Michael Enzi (R-WY)
  • Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
  • Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
  • Judd Gregg (R-NH)
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
  • James Inhofe (R-OK)
  • Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
  • Trent Lott (R-MS)
  • Richard Lugar (R-IN)
  • Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
  • Pat Roberts (R-KS)
  • Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
  • Richard Shelby (R-AL)
  • Ted Stevens (R-AK)
  • John Sununu (R-NH)
  • Craig Thomas (R-WY)
  • John Thune (R-SD)
  • David Vitter (R-LA)
  • George Voinovich (R-OH)

Eight Republican senators who voted against debating on S.470 did not vote on whether to proceed with debate on S.574:

  • Robert Bennett (R-UT)
  • Christopher Bond (R-MO)
  • Thad Cochran (R-MS)
  • Bob Corker (R-TN)
  • John Ensign (R-NV)
  • Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
  • Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
  • Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

One Republican senator, Mel Martinez (R-FL), who voted against debating on S.574 did not vote on whether to proceed with debate on S.470. Nine of these distinguished Republican senators who voted against proceeding with debate on one or both Senate bills previously voted in October of 2005 against the McCain anti-torture amendment to a Defense Department Appropriations bill:

  • Wayne Allard (R-CO)
  • Christopher Bond (R-MO)
  • Tom Coburn (R-OK)
  • Thad Cochran (R-MS)
  • John Cornyn (R-TX)
  • James Inhofe (R-OK)
  • Pat Roberts (R-KS)
  • Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
  • Ted Stevens (R-AK)

This, of course, comes as no surprise. Five Republican senators who voted against debating on S.470 actually voted with the Democrats to allow debate on S.574:

  • Chuck Hagel (R-NE)
  • Gordon Smith (R-OR)
  • Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
  • Arlen Specter (R-PA)
  • John Warner (R-VA)

Only two Republican senators, Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Susan Collins (R-ME), voted to begin debate on both bills. John McCain (R-AZ) was the only Republican senator to miss both votes. But there is no doubt how he would have voted since he is ready to expand the war to Iran and elsewhere. What is so tragic about these votes is that Republicans in the Senate won’t even allow debate on a non-binding resolution that doesn’t even call for the withdrawing of any U.S. forces from Iraq. Every senator who voted to not allow any debate on whether to pass a non-binding resolution against sending more American soldiers to their death should not just resign in disgrace or be voted out of office at the next election, he should be recalled and run out of town. Republicans in the House are, of course, no better. On February 16, the House passed, by a vote of 246-182, H.Con.Res.63. This non-binding resolution expresses disapproval of the president’s decision to send additional troops to Iraq. Only 17 out of 202 Republicans in the House voted for it. It is a terrible tragedy that Republican members of Congress and the Republican Party faithful continue to blindly follow the leadership of a Republican president who will go down in history as doing more to expand the power of government than any other Republican president since Abraham Lincoln. A rare Republican opponent of the war from the beginning, Representative John Duncan (R-TN), recently wrote in Chronicles about this phenomenon: Eighty percent of House Republicans voted against the bombings in the former Yugoslavia under President Clinton. I am convinced that at least the same percentage would have opposed the war in Iraq if it had been started by a Democratic president. I remember as a teenager reading a pamphlet from the Republican National Committee saying that Democrats start wars and Republicans end them. Perpetual war for perpetual peace is not a traditional Republican or traditional conservative position. Gullible evangelical Christians have already begun to warn us about the horrors we are in for after the next election should the Democratic Party win the presidency and hold on to control of the Congress. They would be more scriptural if they evaluated and repudiated their unholy alliance with their god Janus, who to them wears the faces of the Republican Party and the U.S. military. The Republican Party is not the lesser of two evils, it is pure evil.