Moving to other Iraq proposals, Schumer said, while Republicans were blocking the Democrats' first choice, would have provided Republicans with a safe haven from taking the tough stance that is required to end the war.
"It would delay them coming on board, because they would say [to their voters], 'See, I'm trying to do something,' " Schumer said.
Yet, at the same time, Democratic war opponents are agitating for party leaders to push aggressively to bring troops home. Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.) explained the leadership's rationale this week. "Was it worth it? I think it was. Now the Senate's on record. Many senators who've gone home and said they're opposed to the war voted to continue the war. They'll have to answer to the voters."But Sen. Biden might not like the chicken game as much:
The Salazar-Alexander plan is an example of the sort of bridge measure that could lure Republicans to break from Bush -- a process some Democrats have noted is probably going to be a gradual process. "They need something to jump onto first," said Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a presidential candidate.Meanwhile, Republicans and some Democrats are pushing back and complaining about the "rudeness" of Reid's tactics--and hinting that, as Sen. McCain put it,
By not passing the defense authorization bill, we are abandoning our men and women in the military. By not passing this legislation we are not allowing a pay raise; modernizing our soldiers’ military equipment; nor are we passing the wounded warriors legislation, which we all know is vitally needed to care for our wounded veterans.Meanwhile, the NYT describes the current Senate condition as a "food fight" (without the food).
UPDATE: President Bush is pushing back, too.