Hugh Hewitt’s mad, Republican-destroying crusade to stop a non-binding resolution against the “surge” (shrieks of horror erupt) by issuing a threat of a revolt of the base continues. He has become quite like Kos, but seems to lack all sense of the political implications of what he is proposing (Kos only lacks some sense). He seems to have gotten to Norm “Hollow Man” Coleman of Minnesota, who, after all, has never exactly been known for his political inflexibility, and he is targeting Alexander, Warner, Collins, Smith, Voinovich and Brownback for punishment. Of these, Voinovich is not up for re-election and, of course, Brownback is aiming for the White House in ’08, but all of the others are up for re-election and are trying to insulate themselves from the profound unpopularity of this war and Mr. Bush’s “surge” proposal. As noted at The Plank, even the well-established incumbent Warner is nervous enough about his re-election chances next year (in Virginia) that he was willing to join with Coleman in trying to break a filibuster of the Democratic version of the minimum wage bill. Doom for the GOP in 2008 beckons anyway, and Hewitt wants to make it worse than it was already going to be.
Personally, I don’t care that much whether these Senators up for re-election win or not. For their hitherto unbending support of the Iraq war, every one of them deserves to be voted out. I also have plenty of problems with Brownback’s bid for the Presidency, so I wouldn’t exactly be heartbroken if his campaign fails because Hewitt and others stir up people against him. However, one would think the ueber-loyalist Hewitt would take into consideration the political suicide he is demanding from these men and the marginalisation of Republicans in the Senate that his little revolt could help bring about.
Considering how desperately and pathetically people like Hewitt pleaded and begged to help keep the GOP in the majority last year, it is strange that he would want to undertake a grassroots effort to destroy the party’s position in many of the nation’s closely contested or even Democratic-leaning states. The GOP is not yet a regional party, but Hewitt wants to bring it closer to that sorry state. Any hope of making progress towards regaining a majority in the Senate, or even of simply holding the seats they have, probably disappears if Hewitt successfully foments a revolt against anti-“surge” Senators. Either he forces them to toe an unpopular line, in which case many will probably lose because of alienated independent and Democratic voters, or they will go against Hewitt’s followers in the GOP base, probably suffer from reduced turnout and lose anyway.
This is not a protest in the name of victory. It is a tantrum thrown by an inveterate Bush-worshiper and his allies to intimidate the people’s elected representatives from voting for a non-binding resolution that expresses opposition to a policy that many of the Senators opposed to the language of the current resolution also reject. Sen. Lugar, as reliable an establishment Republican foreign policy man as there is and thus far a largely unquestioning supporter of the war, doesn’t support the “surge.” By Hewitt’s lunatic definition he therefore doesn’t support American victory (an end-state Hewitt could not realistically define if his life depended on it). Unlike Lugar’s slightly more forthcoming colleagues, however, he refuses to put that opposition into any concrete form. In other words, Lugar wants to stop Mr. Bush from embarking on the course he has announced, and should therefore also be a subversive in Hewitt’s eyes, but because he refrains from voting for a meaningless, symbolic, non-binding resolution he is spared Hewitt’s ire.
It must be hard to be one of the last nine patriotic Americans still Stateside–it’s clearly putting a strain on Hewitt’s delicate constitution.