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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Democratic Unity Against Iraq Escalation

After all the interminable talk about Democratic disunity on Iraq since 2002, it’s worth noting that congressional Democrats are lining up against the Bush escalation plan with impressive near-unanimity. Think Progress is keeping a running scorecard of public positions on the plan among all 535 Members of Congress. At present, of the 282 Democrats in the House and Senate, 210 publicly oppose the plan, 23 are leaning towards opposition, and a grand total of two support the plan (none are currently leaning that way, though 47 have not made any position known, including just one Senator, Blanche Lincoln).Of the two announced pro-escalation Democrats, one name will raise eyebrows: Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, recently appointed chairman of the Intelligence Committee by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But it should be noted that Reyes voted against the original Iraq War resolution, which probably gives him a bit of slack. (The other announced pro-escalation Dem is Rep. Jim Marshall of GA, who just survived a near-death-experience in a Republican-tilting district in November). If you add in Joe Lieberman as a member of the Senate Democratic Caucus, you still just get three Democratic Members favoring the Bush plan, out of 235 stating a position.Meanwhile, and despite relatively strong support for the Bush plan among rank-and-file Republicans, it’s the GOPers on the Hill who are all over the place. Of the 251 Republicans in Congress, 128 support or are leaning towards support of the Bush plan; 50 oppose it or are leaning towards opposition, and a whopping 73 have not indicated a position. 12 Senate Republicans oppose or are likely to oppose the plan (and 8 others have taken no position), which guarantees a large majority vote for whatever resolutions of opposition the chamber ultimately takes up.

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