When I first began blogging, I believed -- and frequently argued -- that the best strategy for imposing real limits on the excesses of the Bush administration was to attract the support of the group of GOP Senators who did not appear to subscribe to the most extreme elements of the Bush agenda. I was operating on the assumption that certain excesses would be so intolerable and repugnant to their worldview that they would be virtually compelled, by their own consciences and sense of personal dignity if nothing else, to take a real stand, partisan allegiances notwithstanding. From Iraq to torture to warrantless eavesdropping and many things in between, it has been conclusively established that those assumptions were fundamentally false.That's right, there are no "independent" - "moderate" Republicans.
The dynamic is most vividly seen in the much-documented humiliations of Arlen Specter, but, with the rarest of exceptions, it's really how all of them -- John McCain, Chuck Hagel, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, John Warner -- regularly conduct themselves. Nothing has been less significant than the "independent-minded" GOP Senate caucus because it really does not exist in any substantive way.Self serving "independence"
The AP article linked [here] above reports that two of the serious, courageous independent GOP Senators -- Hagel and John Warner -- announced over the weekend their bold discovery that our current "course" in Iraq isn't working. But, as always, they did this in the most meaningless, self-serving way possible. Hagel, on CNN, "said it is time to change course, but 'our options are limited.'" Warner stated the obvious -- that "there has been an 'exponential increase in the killings and the savagery that's going on over there'" -- but then said this: "We have to rethink all the options, except any option which says we precipitously pull out, which would let that country fall into a certain civil war at that time, and all of the neighboring countries would be destabilized."The "moderate" or "independent" Republican is nonexistent. The only way to change the course of the country is to vote Democrat. Yes, I will hold my nose and vote for my own worthless Democratic congressman, David Wu.
So, do Hagel and Warner agree with Democrats like Jack Murtha who want a phased withdrawal? Do they object to characterizations by the Republicans of anti-war Democrats as "cut and run" surrender-happy cowards? What specifically is the administration doing wrong? What do they think ought to be done differently? They won't say, because their overriding objective is to lavish themselves with the virtues of independence while avoiding doing anything to criticize the President or to oppose administration policy in any meaningful way.