Joe Klein at Swampland is taking hits off the whip cream dispenser again. He is arguing that the Democrats in the Senate need to work with the large number of moderate, anti-war Republicans to pass pretty, pretty please requests for George W. Bush to start thinking about withdrawing from Iraq. There is enough scorn and snark in the comment threads and I do not write absurdity well, so I have a quasi-empirical question instead:
Which Republican Senators in the next six months have a chance in hell of breaking with the rest of their Caucus and voting for meaningful withdrawal legislation with the teeth to back it up. Remember, Democrats need to pick 10 Republicans off to get to sixty votes as I am assuming that Sen. Lieberman will vote like a reactionary Republican on this issue. Can you build a list of ten potential defectors that is not absurd?
Here is my list of reasonable potential flippers: (All voted to shut off debate on Reid-Levin)
1) Susan Collins (R-ME) tough election coming up in a very unfriendly environment to the GOP --- she knows she could be the next Chaffee --- locally likeable but dragged down by the rest of the party.
2) Chuck Hagel (R-NE) he is getting challenged from the right to keep him in line, but he says things which indicates that he knows the war is lost in Iraq
3) Olympia Snow (R-ME) see #1 but push back a couple of years
4) Gordon Smith (R-OR) In a tough re-election campaign in a generically blue state against strong opposition.
5) Richard Lugar (R-IN) He says things which indicates that he knows the war is lost in Iraq
6) John Warner (R-VA) He knows the military is broken and will take a decade to repair. Since he likely is retiring, the political costs are much lower for him to break with his party, especially if Mark Warner (D-VA) gets into the Senate race as the seat instantly leans Dem at that point.
The I may or may not be smoking something department
7) Arlen Spector (R-PA) He looks like he is pulling his normal routine of criticizing everyone and then voting like the rest of his caucus.
8) George Voinavich (R-OH) He has made a couple of rumbles in the past, but has not acted on it
9) John Sununu (R-NH) A generic conservative Republican facing a very tough re-election campaign in a trending blue state
10) Pete Domineci (R-NM) A generic conservative Republican facing a very tough re-election campaign
So that is the short list of potential people who need to flip their votes to just get a bill out of the Senate. How many of the ten people listed will actually flip their votes and their rhetoric at the high cost of pissing off their base. If they flip to please the 70% of the country that wants the US out of Iraq in a reasonable short time frame, they lose the 25% of the country and the majority of the GOP activist base who thinks everything in Iraq is either going fine or is failing due to the perfidy of the MSM and those damn dirty f*cking hippies who sapped the essential fluids from our national collective will. If a Senator loses those door knockers, phone callers and sign holders, their campaigns will implode.
And this list of ten potential flippers is the list neccessary to get past the filibuster that will occur. At least another seven Republican Senators, and fifty eight Republican House members will need to flip to override the almost certain veto. And who are they?