The Politics Behind GOP Defections

Republicans calculate rifts over Iraq carefully, Journal says
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2007 12:31 PM CDT
Republican Senators, from left, Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. leave a meeting on Iraq with National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Republican senators were playing electoral politics in deserting Bush on Iraq, and they were at it again when they voted against the Democratic withdrawal plan this week, says the Journal’s Kimberly A. Strassel. Enduring “a summer-long blitz” from liberal groups, Lugar, Domenici and others voiced Iraq fatigue, but with their base in mind, they’ve gauged their retreats closely.

The defectors are hoping the White House will announce a medium-term drawdown after a vaguely optimistic military report drops in September. Strassel accuses senators playing the conscience card of an "action-inaction strategy" that amounts to little more than counting “backward from November 2008.”