Dean Barnett

It must have been a fun week to be a leftist. The week began with news of significant carnage in Iraq. While many liberals harbor sympathy for put-upon Iraqis, many more relish any development that adds to their narrative that “Bush’s War” is a disaster. Next, the president gave his annual State of the Union address which the American public greeted with passionate indifference. As if that weren’t enough good news for the typical lefty, James Webb, a netroots darling, saw his rebuttal to the State of the Union hailed with hosannas by the mainstream media.

But sweetest of all had to be the fact that this week saw civil war break out in the Republican Party. Enraged by the notion that some Republican Senators were going to support a resolution of non-support for the troop surge into Baghdad, members of the conservative blogosphere took action.

Led by my blogging partner, Hugh Hewitt, conservatives put up an on-line petition that reads as follows:

“If the United States Senate passes a resolution, non-binding or otherwise, that criticizes the commitment of additional troops to Iraq that General Petraeus has asked for and that the president has pledged, and if the Senate does so after the testimony of General Petraeus on January 23 that such a resolution will be an encouragement to the enemy, I will not contribute to any Republican senator who voted for the resolution. Further, if any Republican senator who votes for such a resolution is a candidate for re-election in 2008, I will not contribute to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) unless the Chairman of that Committee, Senator Ensign, commits in writing that none of the funds of the NRSC will go to support the re-election of any senator supporting the non-binding resolution.”

After a mere 48 hours, The Pledge, as it has become known, attracted almost 20,000 signers.

SOME THINK THIS IS POLITICAL Hari-kari, or that at the very least it will be destructive to the Republican Party in ’08. Senators who appear likely to support the resolution and who are up for reelection in the next cycle include Susan Collins and Norm Coleman. Regardless of what actions either of these Senators takes (short of sending filthy text messages to former pages), it’s hard to imagine the National Republican Senatorial Committee not supporting their campaigns.

Dean Barnett

Dean Barnett blogs almost daily at He has also been a frequent contributor to the Weekly Standard's online edition, The Daily Standard. He can be reached for comment at

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