Saturday, July 14, 2007

Who Breaks First?

Squirreled away in these two stories (separate links) is the seed of a momentous occasion in the ranks of the Republican party.

First up, Richard Lugar & John Warner:
The proposal by Sens. Richard Lugar of Indiana and John Warner of Virginia, unlike troop withdrawal plans by leading Democrats, would leave it up to Bush to order any pullout.

While it has received a tepid response from Senate Democrats and the White House, the measure underscores the growing bipartisan opposition in the U.S. Congress to the increasingly unpopular war.
This is even less than the Democrats cravenly put forward (and then quickly allowed to get mashed under the wheels of the bus).

Next, John McCain:
CONCORD, New Hampshire (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain hit the road on Friday to rejuvenate his limping campaign but clung to the theme that helped get him in trouble -- his support for President George W. Bush's politically unpopular strategy in Iraq.
The image of the maverick was soundly beaten to within an inch of its demise (he has made some passes at bucking other Republican credos, like campaign finance reform, even after hugging a Bush).

Which now begs the question, in a race as tight as the GOP Presidential nomination has proven to be, when will the first major candidate step forward and say the war was wrong?

When last we checked in with the Ten Stooges (or is it nine? I can never recall), to a "man", every one of them was touting the invasion of Iraq as a good thing, something they support.

And none of them has precisely gained traction for saying it. Barack Obama has raised $31 million in the past three months, Hillary Clinton, $28 million, and the frontrunning fundraiser, Rudy Giuliani, raised a mere $17 million in the same period.

Admittedly, the heavy money in the Republican race has stayed back in the shadows, which contributes to the lack of spine in any one candidate: those donors, who remain unconvinced of the conservative bona fides of any of the frontrunners (and wouldn't dare put money down on someone in the single digits), are crucial to getting the funding necessary to maintain not only the primary run, but to put a down payment on the general election.

One wonders when a Republican, out of desperation, decides to throw caution to the wind and come out against the Iraq mess? I find it hard to believe that there isn't a mass of moderate Republicans out there, horrified by the prospect of a Republican-led unending war (those are usually the purview of Democratic presidents), who wouldn't leap at the chance to give some funding in support of a candidate who showed he wasn't genuflecting at the feet of the Neo-Conservative hatemongering religious base.

Obama has shown that the Internet fund raising tactics unveiled by Howard Dean work particularly well for a candidate who is seen as bucking the trend. One wonders that any Republican hasn't given this a closer look. After all, it's not like consistency is a bulwark of Republican politics.