REPUBLICANS: SHOCKINGLY, NOT DOVISH
"Are Republicans Going Wobbly on Afghanistan?" asks Time's Massimo Calabresi -- his evidence being a let's-get-out-soon statement by Jon Huntsman and a kinda-sorta-let's-get-out-relatively-soon-if-possible statement by Mitt Romney. Huntsman's statement is meaningless as a measure of GOP opinion -- he's positioning himself as the guy who is to the GOP what Joe Lieberman is to the Democrats -- and Romney, as I've said all day today, is not being particularly dovish (and yet is being slammed by fellow Republicans for his slight deviation for GOP orthodoxy).
Well, now we have an open letter to President Obama calling for an accelerated Afghanistan withdrawal, and who's signing it, in this great moment of Republican change? Um ... it's signed by a "bipartisan" group of U.S. senators that's ... er ... 25 Democrats and 2 Republicans. And one of the Republicans is second-generation libertarian isolationist Rand Paul.
So let's recap: Of the 47 Republican senators who don't have the surname Paul, one (1) signed this letter. Wow, that's real wobbliness, isn't it?
Still, I'm happy the letter's been released -- the Republicans aren't on board, but nearly half the Democrats are (though I wish there more, obviously). However, on its own it won't matter -- congressional pressure alone is just going to motivate Obama to triangulate. Now would be a really nifty time, however, for an anti-war movement to suddenly appear in the streets. I know, I know -- the one we had in the last decade didn't get nearly enough respect, or results. But this time, the movement would actually reflect the opinion of about 60% of the country. Even better -- it would reflect what the Beltway press thinks might be changing position on the part of Republicans. Hey, they actually might pay attention if a protest sounds like what Republicans think (or seem to think)! So maybe we should give it a try.