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House GOP prepares for "mini-political campaign" over Iraq resolution

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For Republicans from the White House to Capitol Hill, the Iraq War has been, first and foremost, a political issue. It's a losing political issue because it's been a horrible policy mistake. But, the GOP can't stop playing politics. We see that in the Senate as the GOP blocks the Iraq debate. In the House, the GOP can't stop the debate, so they are treating the debate like a political campaign according to The Washington Post:

Democrats will file a nonbinding resolution against the Bush plan while Republicans will try to broaden the dispute and seed doubt in the Democratic approach. Although Senate Republicans were able to block debate on a resolution condemning Bush's war policies last week, it will be much easier for Democrats in the House to bring a measure to the floor.

The GOP, whose members have conceded they are likely to lose, is treating the debate like a mini-political campaign, deploying a rapid-response team to counter Democrats' statements, aggressively trying to get its leaders on television and radio, and creating a "resource center" off the House floor where members can fill their arms with maps, research material, videos or other visual aids to use during their floor time.

"We may lose the vote, but we'll win the debate," said Kevin Smith, a spokesman for House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).
Kevin Smith and his boss should be more concerned that we're losing the war and that we're losing more and more U.S. soldiers every day.

Some of the GOP rats are trying to jump off the sinking ship:
"What we have now is a dispute in tactics," said Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.), who once supported the administration but is opposed to the troop increase. "This is a situation where we've been dealt a bad hand, where we've made a lot of mistakes, where we should have addressed the problems in Baghdad a long time ago, and now a surge on the scale the president has proposed is unlikely to move us forward."

One House Republican close to the GOP leadership spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to be blunt. "This next week is going to be a very tough one for us to get through," he said. "The Democrats know that. We can sit back and hope they overplay their hand, but I don't think they will."
Every week in Iraq is tough for our soldiers and the people of Iraq. The Hill Republicans can't run from this war. They enabled it. The sick thing is that for the GOP, Iraq is still mostly a political issue.

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