Two senators _ a Republican and a Democrat _ leading separate efforts to put Congress on record against President Bush’s troop buildup in Iraq joined forces Wednesday, agreeing on a nonbinding resolution that would oppose the plan and potentially embarrass the White House.

Sens. John Warner, R-Va., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., had been sponsoring competing measures opposing Bush’s strategy of sending 21,500 more U.S. troops to the war zone, with Warner’s less harshly worded version attracting more Republican interest. The new resolution would vow to protect funding for troops while keeping Warner’s original language expressing the Senate’s opposition to the buildup.

Levin replaced Warner as chairman of the Armed Services Committee when the Democrats took control of the Senate in January. Their resolution could well gain more support from members of both parties than their separate versions had been attracting. It lacks Levin’s language saying the troop increase is against the national interest, and it drops an earlier provision by Warner suggesting Senate support for some additional troops.

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The House had planned on waiting for the Senate to vote as a way of testing the waters for Republican support of such a resolution. But according to a Democratic aide, the House may begin the process next week with a committee review. That would set the stage for a House floor debate the week of Feb. 12. ~The Washington Post

Seeing that his blunt, clumsy instrument of blackmail and intimidation is failing, Hewitt has begun concocting an amusing, if rather sad, self-justifying myth:

When the bottom falls out of RNC/NRCC/NRSC fundraising, they won’t be able to say they weren’t warned.  the insainty [sic] is that the only way some senators could lose in 2008 is by going defeatist on the war and embracing “benchmarks.”

Yes, if only the GOP would lash itself to the mast of the sinking ship, it would succeed!  And there he goes again obsessing about benchmarks–did the man have a traumatic experience with a workbench as a child?  What is wrong with him? 

We’ll be keeping an eye on the anti-surge GOP Senators to see how well they fare next year.  My guess is that they will perform better than their pro-surge counterparts, but they may still end up going down to defeat because the “surge” will go ahead despite these meaningless, non-binding resolutions and will make the GOP even more radioactive than it already is.  Opposing the surge will only win them credit with voters if they actually do something to stop it–waving their arms in the air and saying, “I think it’s a bad idea, but…whatever!” will not win much support from anyone.  The funny thing is that the anti-surge Republicans may prevent their party’s losses in ‘08 from being a complete blowout and make them just a mildly humiliating setback (that is, maybe just a loss of three seats instead of a possible eight), but only if they actually do something substantive to stop the surge.  If they satisfy themselves with a purely symbolic gesture that also manages to outrage their core partisans, they will get hit coming and going as they will get no credit from either side.     

Much may depend on how much support Hewitt’s crazed GOP suicide pact has actually garnered among serious contributors.  If he and his allies have actually gutted a significant part of the GOP’s online and other fundraising sources over such an incredible non-issue as this resolution business, he can be congratulated for having led the way in handing Congress to the Democrats for the next decade for no good reason.  Maybe the Kossacks will give him some sort of medal as Political Blogger Most Damaging To His Own Side.